One of them got me sesame and jaggery sweet as a consolation with almost a toothless smile.When I asked her: "Where did your teeth go?"She looked at her mother, as if taking approval and then shyly replied: "Rat took it away while I was sleeping."We all laughed in a rhythm and she hid herself behind her mother holding onto the edge of her saree.I bid them goodbyes and went ahead to treat my appetite of local snacks and tea.I am not sure how much 'God fearing' person I am but definitely 'Crowd and noise fearing'. I try to stay away from big celebrations as much as possible to nurture my love for alone time.On one such occasion I sneaked out for 2 days to this village, Abhaneri, Rajasthan, India.Somehow my trip is never complete without a reminder from the place. In search of it, off I went and saw this man with a vividly colored turban was busy crafting ‘Lac Bangles.’ It wasn't an ordinary sight to see the lac melting into a circular shape over the bangle rim and taking a shape of alluring bangle with colors as one may prefer.The night was mildly cold spent in trying some regional food and carrot pudding for dessert. Distant sound of bells at the time for morning prayer at the much famous ‘Harshat Mata Temple’ woke me up next morning. This morning was very different from other mornings in so many ways from the bird chirps to mildly cow dung scented air!After seeking blessings at temple I spent the entire afternoon at the adjacent very old and now protected ‘Chand Baoli’ step well and wondering what would I have been doing if not came here?? Perhaps sleeping off or sulking about the party noise. Glad to be there, I went back to pack my bags.This village is approximately 240 kilometers away from Delhi and a perfect weekend destination.How to reach?Rail: The nearest railway station is Bandikui, 15-20 mins. drive. Ajmer Shatabdi is the best way.Road: Abhaneri is well connected from Delhi, Jaipur and Agra.Air: One has to drive from Jaipur or Delhi airport to reach this place.Best time: I believe winters are perfect here with plenty of Sunshine.Accommodation: I would recommend 'Abhaneri Niwas', very close to the sites and market.
Our first stop is Chaand Baori, Abhaneri which was on our list from so long. This small village is home to a place which is less known to people an ASI site which is ticket free till now (Entry tickets are starting from 1st March) so its all good. We reached here early morning and after sipping our kulhad chai we are on to explore this magnificient step well.
You can reach Abhaneri from Jaipur in 3 ways:1 - Take a bus to Sikandra, which costs around 20 rupees. From there take a jeep or taxi to Abhaneri, which costs about 300 rupees for a round trip.2 - Take a bus to Gular and walk to Abhaneri (which is about an hour's walk.)3. Drive or take a taxi from Jaipur which will cost about 3000 rupees if you can split it with someone. Or simply drive, if you have a car.As of now, there is no entrance fees for viewing the monument.Photographs of Chand Baori
A 100 km away from Jaipur lies the largest and oldest step well of Chand Baori in the small town of Abhaneri. This 1000 years old structure has been in the backdrop of many movies like Batman, dark knight and the exotic marigold hotel. the 30m wide and 20m deep well is a riveting example of both royal and sensible architecture catering to the needs of the barren lands with an Ingenious system designed to circulate the water and reduce the temperature with magnificent details. This multitasking structure was used to store water, served as the summer palace for the royals and a place for daily congregations for people looking for respite from summer heat. This symmetrical, geometrical structure have 3500 steps like an Escher maze juxtaposing with the sun to create an interesting play of light and shadows during the day for the shutterbugs. The age-old Harshat Mata Temple near the stepwell is though in ruins due to Islamic invasion yet is frequented for its marvelous structure of bygone eras resembling the temples of Cambodia. Bhangarh- the bucket list destination for curious travelers