Stepwell là gì

A millennium ago, stepwells were fundamental to lớn life in the driest parts of India. Although many have been neglected, recent restoration has returned them to their former glory. Richard Cox travelled to north-western India



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A millennium ago, stepwells were fundamental to life in the driest parts of India. Although many have sầu been neglected, recent restoration has returned them to their former glory. Richard Cox travelled lớn north-western India to document these spectacular monuments from a bygone era.

During the sixth and seventh centuries, the inhabitants of the modern-day states of Gujarat and Rajasthan in North-western India developed a method of gaining access to clean, fresh groundwater during the dry season for drinking, bathing, watering animals & irrigation. However, the significance of this invention – the stepwell – goes beyond its utilitarian application.Unique khổng lồ the region, stepwells are often architecturally complex và vary widely in kích thước và shape. During their heyday, they were places of gathering, of leisure, of relaxation & of worship for villagers of all but the lowest castes. Most stepwells are found dotted around the desert areas of Gujarat (where they are called vav) and Rajasthan (where they are known as baori), while a few also survive in Delhi. Some were located in or near villages as public spaces for the community; others were positioned beside roads as resting places for travellers.As their name suggests, stepwells comprise a series of stone steps descending from ground level khổng lồ the water source (normally an underground aquifer) as it recedes following the rains. When the water cấp độ was high, the user needed only lớn desckết thúc a few steps to reach it; when it was low, several levels would have to lớn be negotiated.Some wells are vast, open craters with hundreds of steps paving each sloping side, often in tiers. Others are more elaborate, with long stepped passages leading lớn the water via several storeys built from stone & supported by pillars, they also included pavilions that sheltered visitors from the relentless heat. But perhaps the most impressive sầu features are the intricate decorative sculptures that embellish many stepwells, showing activities from fighting và nhảy khổng lồ everyday acts such as women combing their hair và churning butter.Down the centuries, thousands of wells were constructed throughout northwestern India, but the majority have sầu now fallen inkhổng lồ disuse; many are derelict và dry, as groundwater has been diverted for industrial use và the wells no longer reach the water table. Their condition hasn’t been helped by recent dry spells: southern Rajasthan suffered an eight-year drought between 1996 & 2004.However, some important sites in Gujarat have recently undergone major restoration, and the state government announced in June last year that it plans khổng lồ restore the stepwells throughout the state.In Parã, the state’s ancient capital, the stepwell of Rani Ki Vav (Queen’s Stepwell) is perhaps the finest current example. It was built by Queen Udayamati during the late 11th century, but became silted up following a flood during the 13th century. But the Archaeological Survey of India began restoring it in the 1960s, và today it’s in pristine condition. At 65 metres long, đôi mươi metres wide và 27 metres deep, Rani Ki Vav features 500 distinct sculptures carved into lớn niches throughout the monument, depicting gods such as Vishnu và Parvati in various incarnations. Incredibly, in January 2001, this ancient structure survived a devastating earthquake that measured 7.6 on the Richter scale.Another example is the Surya Kund in Modhera, northern Gujarat, next to the Sun Temple, built by King Bhima I in 1026 lớn honour the sun god Surya. It’s actually a tank (kund means reservoir or pond) rather than a well, but displays the hallmarks of stepwell architecture, including four sides of steps that descover khổng lồ the bottom in a stunning geometrical formation. The terraces house 108 small, intricately carved shrines between the sets of steps.Rajasthan also has a wealth of wells. The ancient đô thị of Bundi, 200 kilometres south of Jaipur, is renowned for its architecture, including its stepwells. One of the larger examples is Raniji Ki Baori, which was built by the queen of the region, Nathavatji, in 1699. At 46 metres deep, trăng tròn metres wide & 40 metres long, the intricately carved monument is one of 21 baoris commissioned in the Bundi area by Nathavatji.In the old ruined town of Abhaneri, about 95 kilometres east of Jaipur, is Ch& Baori, one of India’s oldest & deepest wells; aesthetically, it’s perhaps one of the most dramatic. Built in around 850 AD next to lớn the temple of Harshat Mata, the baori comprises hundreds of zigzagging steps that run along three of its sides, steeply descending 11 storeys, resulting in a striking geometric pattern when seen from afar. On the fourth side, covered verandas supported by ornate pillars overlook the steps.Still in public use is Neemrana Ki Baori, located just off the Jaipur–Dehli highway. Constructed in around 1700, it’s nine storeys deep, with the last two levels underwater. At ground màn chơi, there are 86 colonnaded openings from where the visitor descends 170 steps to the deepest water source.Today, following years of neglect, many of these monuments to medieval engineering have sầu been saved by the Archaeological Survey of India, which has recognised the importance of preserving them as part of the country’s rich history. Tourists floông chồng lớn wells in far-flung corners of northwestern India lớn gaze in wonder at these architectural marvels from 1,000 years ago, which serve as a reminder of both the ingenuity & artistry of ancient civilisations and of the value of water to lớn human existence.

Questions 1–5Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage191?In boxes1–5on your answer sheet, writeTRUE if the statement agrees with the informationFALSE if the statement contradicts the informationNOT GIVEN if there is no information on this1.Examples of ancient stepwells can be found all over the world.2. Stepwells had a range of functions, in addition lớn those related khổng lồ water collection.3.The few existing stepwells in Delhi are more attractive than those found elsewhere.4.It took workers many years lớn build the stone steps characteristic of stepwells.5.

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The number of steps above sầu the water cấp độ in a stepwell altered during the course of a year.

Questions 6–8Answer the questions below.ChooseONE WORD ONLYfrom the passage for each answer.Write your answers in boxes6–8on your answer sheet.

6. Which part of some stepwells provided shade for people?7. What type of serious climatic sự kiện, which took place in southern Rajasthan, is mentioned in the article? 7 8. Who are frequent visitors to lớn stepwells nowadays?

Question 9-13Complete the table below

ChooseONE WORD AND /OR A NUMBERfrom the passage for each answer.Write your answers in boxes9-13on your answer sheet.




Other notes

Rani Ki Vav

Late 11th century

As many as 500 sculptures decorate the monument

Restored in the 1990s

Excellent condition, despite the9 ……………of 2001.

Surya Kund


Steps on the10 ……………produce a geometric patternCarved shrines.

Looks more lượt thích a11 ……………than a well.

Raniji Ki Baori


Intricately carved monument

One of 21 baoris in the area commissioned by Queen Nathavatji

Chand Baori

850 AD

Steps take you down 11 storeys to lớn the bottom

Old, deep và very dramatic

Has12 ……………which provide a view khổng lồ the steps.

Neemrana Ki Baori


Has two13 ……………levels.

Used by public today

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Answer:1. FALSE2. TRUE3. NOT GIVEN4. NOT GIVEN5. TRUE6. pavilions7. drought8. tourists9. earthquake10. 4 sides/four sides11. tank12. verandas/ verandahs13. underwater