Home > Delhi, Delhi Architecture, Delhi Baoli, Delhi History, General > Gandhak Ki Baoli, Mehrauli, Delhi

Gandhak Ki Baoli, Mehrauli, Delhi

Gandhak Ki Baoli, Mehrauli, Delhi

The Step Well with Sulphur Rich Water

Also see: Monuments of Mehrauli

As monsoon in India has always been erratic, the necessity of water conservation has been an integral part of Indian culture from time immortal.

Gandhak Ki Baoli, Mehrauli Archaeological Park, Mehrauli, Delhi

Gandhak Ki Baoli, Mehrauli Archaeological Park, Mehrauli, Delhi

Over centuries lakes have been dug and wells drilled to save the water, which was available during the brief period of monsoon.

Gandhak Ki Baoli (L: During Monsoon, R: During Dry Season) R: Photo Courtesy Wikipedia Commons

Gandhak Ki Baoli (L: During Monsoon, R: During Dry Season) R: Photo Courtesy Wikipedia Commons

Step wells also known as baoli in Delhi, vaav in Gujarat and barab in Maharashtra, is a unique form of architecture combining the necessity of water conservation along with the aesthetics of design.

Delhi, although located on the banks of Yamuna River, suffers from long period of severe water shortage. No wonder Delhi houses a number of step wells, which the Delhiwalls call Baoli (Also see: Baolis of Delhi).

The Jump!!! Gandhak Ki Baoli

The Jump!!! Gandhak Ki Baoli

Gandhak Ki Baoli is part of the Mehrauli Archaeological Park, which is located next to the Qutb Minar Complex. To visit Gandhak Ki Baoli it is best to approach from the other side of the Qutb Minar Complex. It is best visited from the Adam Khan’s Tomb located near the Mehrauli Bus Terminal.

From the bus terminus walk towards the Dargah of Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki. A few yards on the right is the health centre, containing a World War I Plaque on its boundary wall, a few steps ahead, on the left is the Gandhak Ki Baoli.

Gandhak Ki Baoli was constructed during the reign of Sultan Samshuddin Iltutmish (1296 – 1316) and legend has it during a visit to Sufi saint Hazarat Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki Iltutmish found that the Mehurali area suffered from acute water shortage and the saint was not able to have regular baths.

This led to the construction of the step well, which came to be known as Gandhak Ki Baoli. The name originated for the presence of sulpher (gandhak) in the water, and the sulpher rich water is said to be beneficial for several skin diseases.

Jump continues!!!! Gandhak Ki Baoli

Jump continues!!!! Gandhak Ki Baoli

At first glance Gandhak Ki Baoli looks simple, a sharp contrast with the elaborately decorated neighboring step well of Rajon Ki Baoli.

Devoid of any ornamentation the Gandhak Ki Baoli descends to five stages bellow the ground level.

Unlike Rajon Ki Baoli, which is often known as sukha baoli (dry step well), Gandhak Ki Baoli contains water almost through out the year.

At the time of my visit, during the height of monsoon, the lower four stages of Gandhak Ki Baoli was filled with water, in the process covering up most of its architectural details.

Gandhak Ki Baoli, The Jumping Well

Gandhak Ki Baoli, The Jumping Well

The sparkling waters of Gandhak Ki Baoli is a welcome sight in the heavily congested Mehruli neighborhood of South Delhi.

The sulpher water is used as a swimming pool for the local boys and the extended platforms often acts as diving pools for the more adventurous kids.

Elders are often seen gossiping on the steps and sipping on cups of tea. They frequently warns the boys for their over enthusiastic and dangerous stunts and mildly scolding them when they are drenched with a plash of water from the diving boys. So in spit of being surrounded by modernity the step well of Gandhak Ki Baloi still provides a glimpses of medieval Delhi.

Special Thanks: A special thanks to fellow blogger Sahil Ahuja, for accompanying me to Gandhak Ki Baoli and also for guiding me to the lesser known monuments of Mehrauli. Do have a look at Sahil’s blog post on Gandhak Ki Baoli.

  1. December 3, 2014 at 10:54 AM

    Good to see this. I happened to visit the Mehrauli Archaeological Park many years back, and remember having seen this Baoli. Good work…keep it up !

  2. January 12, 2015 at 11:54 AM

    In the ancient era, there were countless Baoli in North India. Gandhak Ki Baoli in Mehrauli, Delhi is one such spot. This Baoli has an interesting history and you have mentioned everything perfectly in your post. I had an interesting time reading your post.

    • February 10, 2015 at 3:25 PM

      Dear Anandan Iyer, thanks for the inspiring comment, yes north and western India had a number of step wells and many of them are still in use.

      One day I plan to see them all!!!!

  3. July 29, 2015 at 12:58 PM

    truly informative and beneficial for the readers…..thank you very much

  4. Shahjahan
    September 27, 2018 at 8:08 PM

    By chance I happened to go there today, and found this well and children bathing. I enquired about the history but none of the people in that area were aware about the name. Came home, searched in google and landed here. Thanks for the informative post.

    • September 27, 2018 at 9:15 PM

      Thanks for the comment and sharing you experience of bumping into my blog. Yes Google does wonders!!!

      Gandhak ki Baoli is not the only Baoli (Stepwell) in Delhi. Very near to Gandhak ki Baoli is the Rajon ki Baoli . Please do have a look at my compilation of Delhi Baolis .

      You probably approached Gandhak ki Baoli from the Mehrauli Bus Terminus, on your way on the left is a old tomb converted into a health centre. On the outer walls of the health centre is a plaque dedicated to soldiers, who died in World War I World War I Plaque

  5. Atul Chaturvedi
    December 27, 2018 at 2:03 PM

    Very interesting and nicely written.

  6. Rajat Kumar
    December 24, 2020 at 12:28 PM

    I got to visit here in the first week of December. I was totally disappointed to see the dilapidated condition and the garbage.

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