If you have a look at the journeys that Victoria Lautman takes it will remind you the famous Indiana Jones movie. She takes advises from every single villager, driver and marks the old maps to find the India’s ancient stepwells that have been abandoned for a while. This is what Chicago based adventure journalist is doing in life: hunting for the ancient and unexplored ruins in India.
But her biggest obsession and passion is the stepwells, dating back to AD 600 they might have been forgotten but gain back its popularity now , through these pictures.
For the last four years, Lautman has been to 120 stepwells, while initially there were around 3, 000 of them in India before and now there are around 1000 left.
Traditionally the stepwells in India were used to tap the country’s deep waters, for example the Chand Baori run more than 100 feet into the ground. Besides being the source of water, wells used to be civic structure and served as hiding places from heat, where you could talk and in some cases there were even temples done.
Even now the stepwells are in use, though most of them have been abandoned and are left in trash and garbage. But there is an exception, for example the Rani-ki-Vav in Gujarat has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage in 2014.
But some of these stepwell haven’t even been documented which makes it extra hard to find them. Victoria usually asks the drivers for help, to ask the locals about possible location. Sometimes you end up in finding a stepwell truly remarkable, the other times you end up with a pit and a touch of water in it.
The main goal of Victoria is to show the people how many of these stepwells are there, and people get interested and want to see them. The more tourists will come over, the better chance is to preserve this beauty.