Updated: Oct 22, 2019
By E Kay
Ever seen The Dark Knight Rises? Who could ever forget the awe inspiring scene where Bruce Wayne aka The Dark Knight aka Batman decides to try and make it out of the prison when numerous others before him failed. That scene considered by many as the best of the dark knight trilogy, that brings hope, motivation and belief in oneself. And where was that prison? Far in an unknown land, it was said.
Well, my interest in this place began a few years ago when I chanced upon an article about this splendid stepwell, not very touristy and less frequented. Back then, little did I know that this stepwell was where that scene was shot.
And so now in 2019, after reading up and with a fair amount of research, it was off to look for the Dark Knight's prison in that "unknown" land as the movie suggested. That place lies just about two hundred and thirty kilometers from Delhi. A stepwell whose construction began as early as the eighth century, it is located at Abhaneri, under Dausa district of Rajasthan. The oldest parts of the well, it seems dates back to the 800s.
We were told that there are over 3000 steps in this well, with about 13 stories, extends 100 feet into the ground and is one of the oldest and deepest stepwells in the state of Rajasthan. The Chand Baori with amazingly constructed steps on three sides of the squarish structure and an elaborate pavilion on one side. Of course, in the movie, the locations were rather mixed up, as in when Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) emerges from the prison, it's the Mehrangarh fort in the background, but nonetheless, Chand Baori is an amazing place to go to. There are quite a few ways to reach this architectural marvel from New Delhi or Jaipur. A few hours journey by road or rail from either place.
Just next to Chand Baori is the Harshat Mata temple. We were told that this temple and the stepwell earlier formed one complex, and people would wash their hands in the well before paying obstience to the goddess of joy and happiness, Harshat Mata. The temple too was built around the 8th century and on a raised platform. There are several artistic ruins and statues in the Chand Baori complex worth looking at, said to be excavated from the complex. Gazing at the structure, you can't help but wonder how it was in the past, the people in all their grandeur at the well, the royals, the common people. How this well was used in the past and how elaborate the design is.
You will find that you can't cross the railings and walk into the well, so that's a let down, still the view from the top is amazing. And for a day trip from Delhi this is one place we won't ever regret visiting.
( The Author E Kay is a freelance blogger, photographer and web editor for Life Unearth)