Water cooler gossiping and water gathering - stepwell at Chand Baori,Rajasthan,India

step well at Chand Baori.Rajasthan. hitfull.com
A few north western states of India are semi arid regions and during summer the water table goes way down. Adjacent villagers have to travel long distance to gather water from common wells.
Construction of stepwells became a necessity in the semi dry areas of ancient India. The earliest wells were built around  550 AD. Once there were over 3,000 step wells in two states catering to many villages to quench their thirst and home needs.The construction of step wells  may be utilitarian, but sometimes includes significant architectural embellishments.

                       step well at Chand Baori. Rajasthan,India,www.panoramio.com

Located in the village of Abhaneri near Jaipur in the Indian state of Rajasthan, is one of the oldest,    deepest and largest stepwells in India called Chand Baori. It was built by King Chanda of the Nikumbha Dynasty between 800 and 900 AD.

One important aspect of Chand Baori  is the stepwell is artistically designed to create  distinctive patterns when viewing from  different angles. If you look at the thousands of steps from a distant spot, you will be struck by the crisscrossing patterns in straight lines that well give a spin in your head or vertigo - a unique and strange experience. When looking down into the well bottom from the edge of the ground, the pattern was so revealing you will become transfixed by the emerging patterns on all sides.
stepwell at Chand Baori. Rajasthan destinoinfinito.com
The state of Rajasthan being extremely arid, Chand Baori was intended to conserve as much water as possible. As at the bottom of the well the air remains 5-6 degrees cooler than the surface temperature, the rate of evaporation at well bottom will be low; hence considerable amount of water can be saved.

Other advantages are the people have to come from distant villages  under the scorching  sun to fetch water and the gradually decending smooth step wells  on all sides made it possible for the thirsty and tired villagers to  easily descend to fetch water. During hot summer, the cooler bottom of the well provides a comfortable place  for villagers to gather, relax and exchange plesanteries or talk about local  as well as domestic politics without sweating it out.  

Chand Baori  was a popular gathering place for the village women who need respite from monotanous, mundane  rustic life. There is a pavillion and resting rooms at the bottom for ordinary  and prominant people. This respite will energize the women enough to get back to their village and return for another round of water gathering and water-cooler gossiping.