Steps to Water

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Water. It is revered whenever it’s hard to find, in places where the dry and draining heat burns for months on end, where monsoon rains visit only in summer, then vanish. To cope with this parched life, the people of western India more than a 1000 years ago built wells. But not the holes in the ground we know as wells, these were ornate, magnificent, maze-like structures made of stone, some 90 feet deep.

Stepwells; respite from the heat and hallowed receptacle for that essential water. A place to bathe, to drink, and to pray. Morna Livingston’s new book uncovers these little known pieces of architecture and religion.

“Steps to Water; The Ancient Stepwells of India.” A meeting place, deep underground.


Morna Livingston, professor of Vernacular Architecture at Philadelphia University, and author of “Steps to Water, the Ancient Stepwells of India”