A head for heights is good to have when visiting Chand Baori near Abhaneri in eastern Rajasthan, given that this largest and oldest stepwell in India plunges to a depth of 20 meters.

Last Resort: Vertiginous view
© Patrick Hanser/Shutterstock

The rainwater in the well is a green swill, but then, it’s a very long time since anyone came to fetch water from Chand Baori, a monumental stepwell built in the 8th and 9th centuries. Today, visitors from all over the world are drawn by its fascinating architecture and the perfect geometry of its 3500 steps spread over 13 levels on three sides. A temple-like pavilion that once served as a stage and a place of worship forms the fourth side, as Chand Baori was originally dedicated to Harshat Mata, the Hindu goddess of joy and happiness.