In a nutshell:
A memorable day trip, a 2.5 hours drive from Gurgaon through the New Delhi mumbai expressway, two millennia plus old stunningly beautiful monuments maintained very well & lunch at a restaurant where food is cooked by the ladies of the restaurant owner’s family & food is served by the male members.
Address & other details:
Chand bawri – google map
Abhaneri Women’s arts – Instagram
Abhaneri Women’s arts – google maps
Disclaimer: All restaurants / eateries reviewed by YUMMRAJ were visited by YUMMRAJ himself & he has paid for the full Bill & tips also. http://www.yummraj.com does not have even one featured / sponsored reviews. YUMMRAJ believes in going to a restaurant in anonymity, as a normal guest, experience everything & give a honest account of the same to you.
YUMMRAJ rates all the food items & then gives a final overall rating, which is a simple average of the individual item ratings. What the ratings stand for: 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 2 = Fair, 1 = Disaster
We paid by cash. No receipt.
In 2008 we were in jaipur & went with our friends to Abhaneri, 90 km away, through a partially broken & dusty road. Abhaneri at that point seemed like a far away destination. We had photographs from that time & we treasured that day for so many years. We treasured it because we had never seen anything of that scale & were absolutely awed by the fact that it was built a millennia back.
We have been reading of the New Delhi mumbai expressway that is open till Dausa rajasthan. One Sunday in April 2023, we wanted to go on a drive on the new expressway on a Sunday. Then the question came ‘where’, not because destination is more important than the journey.
We remembered chand bawri & decided to revisit.
The expressway drive was ultra smooth. It reminded us of the Purvanchal expressway that we had driven in, Onway to kolkata, last year Durga Pujo.
Once we were off the expressway, the roads were good – like city roads. We of course found camel carts & bovines sharing the road space with us.
Chand Bawri is a stepwell. Some call it baoli as well. Bawris were common in dry parts of india where during summer months the water levels used to be really low.
Bawri is essentially a water reservoir which has steps on one or multiple sides, for people to be able to walk down the steps till the level where water is accessible.
There are many baolis in North West india – agrasen ki baoli in Connaught Place, Delhi, Rani ki vav at Patan (famous for Patola sarees) gujarat, Ranji ji ki baori, few more in mehrauli archaeological park, Delhi are a list of some we have visited.
While the Rani ki Vav is visually stunning in terms of idols of celestial beings, carved on pillars & walls, the chand bawri stands out due to its geometrical plan, the play of light & shade & the sheer simplicity of this mammoth structure.
The bawri was constructed during the rule of king Chand , of Chauhan dynasty, around 8-9th century CE. There is no written evidence of the above. Experts have studied the structure of building & other da tots to come to the conclusion regarding the time.
The bawri was made using Hard ash grey sandstone, the same stone used to make chakkis for domestic use. The stone was brought from a place, almost 35 km away, in district Alwar, Rajasthan.
Physical geography – those days there were 2 rivers on two sides. The Royal family used to access the bawri from the temple side. The others would enter from step well side.
A part of the bawri had a beautiful temple, with carvings all around. Most of them had fallen off & partially broken. Those are now restored & kept in a side gallery.
The step-well has a total depth of 19.8 meter (65 ft). There are 13 levels of 5 feet each, totalling to 65 feet.
Vijay, who is a professional guide , showed us around. He can be reached at 9982232152. He is well versed with the area & knows most of the people. We had a good time chatting with him.
Harshat mata Mandir
As the name suggests, Harshat mata temple is a Devi temple, built around the same time as the bawri. The original idol was broken by the iconoclasts in the medieval ages.
The idol of Devi that we see today was installed as late as 1970s.
The Shikhara & many other parts of the temple got broken in these 1000+ years & the temple was renovated at different times in this period.
Many idols recovered from here are displayed at the open air gallery of chand bawri & also at different museums in Alwar & jaipur.
The pillars of the temple & the outer walls are stunningly beautiful. They have rows of intricately carved idols on stone, depicting the different devas & devis.
The circular domed ceiling of the temple is also beautiful, hand carved & quite unusual.
Lunch at Abhaneri Women’s arts
Our guide Vijay suggested that we have lunch at Abhaneri women’s arts. The place had been opened recently. There is ample parking inside & outside the restaurant. A family runs this restaurant cum shop.
As we entered the campus, we walked from middle of a lawn to a series of rooms on 3 sides of the enclosure. A hall was dedicated to an arts & crafts shop – those created by local artists & also sourced from other parts of Rajasthan.
They had really good men’s hand block printed shirts in addition to the usual curtains, bed sheets, pillow covers, sarees etc.
The dining hall had sets of plastic chairs & tables.
There was a set of clean washrooms behind the main building.
The male members of the family were manning the shop & the restaurant – showing product, serving food, payments etc. Mr. Imran khan
7976698164, Mr. Islam khan 7770999248.
the ladies of the family were cooking the food.
We ate daal, vegetable subzi, achaar, freshly cut salad with piping hot freshly made phulkas.
The daal was just pure joy. Everything in it was just right & more.
The subzi was also excellent. Slow cooked, no masalas on the face & perfect balance of taste.
Loved eating here. We also bought some very good block prints.
Look forward to revisiting.