Research Paper

Stepwells as Heritage Sites: Exploring Their Roles for Sustainable Communities

Authors: Kirti Nishant Nikam

Year: 2024, Volume: 15, Page/Article: 103-127, DOI:

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Water is a vital element of nature and all life on earth and since historical times, human settlements have thrived around it. All sources of water and rivers are considered sacred across cultures. Many pilgrimage traditions involve rituals that include a holy dip and immersion in rivers. In India, temple complexes often feature structures like puṣkariṇi, kalyāṇi, kunḍa, sarovara, tālāba, and pukhuri, collectively known as temple tanks and stepwells, which reflect the societal and spiritual significance of water.
This paper provides a comprehensive examination of stepwells in the Nagpur district along with their architectural details. The study analyzes the structural intricacies of these stepwells, including their organization, orientation, dimensions, ratios of length, width, and depth, along with morphological characteristics. The author aims to highlight the aesthetic and functional appeal of these wells.
The paper proposes a methodical approach to emphasize the importance of preserving these architectural marvels. It’s about their dual role for heritage value or potential as tourist attractions, and even their crucial role in water conservation efforts as covered in UN sustainable development goals. The study emphasizes the pressing need to advocate for their protection in contemporary contexts while recognizing the heritage significance of traditional stepwells which will ensure that future generations will appreciate and celebrate these cultural treasures.