Large hardback with dust jacket, both in VGC. No inscription or bookplate.
From the 5th to the 19th centuries, the people of western India built stone cisterns to collect the water of the monsoon rains and keep it accessible for the remaining dry months of the year. These magnificent structures - known as stepwells or stepped ponds - are much more than utilitarian reservoirs. Their lattice-like walls, carved columns, decorated towers and intricate sculpture make them exceptional architecture, while their very presence tells much about the region's ecology and history. For the past 500 years, stepwells have been an integral part of western Indian communities as sites for drinking, washing and bathing, as well as for colourful festivals and sacred rituals. This work traces the history of stepwells, from their Hindu origins, to their zenith during Muslim rule, and eventual decline under British occupation. It also reflects on their current use, preservation, and place in Indian communities.