It has been 30 years since the journalist Victoria Lautman made her first trip to India during which she discovered these amazing architectures. Since then, she has traveled across the country to show it to the world and preserve it from abandonment and destruction. She has traveled to seven states with 120 such underground water tanks.
These underground tanks with stairs were an ingenious way to get water in India. They were functional all round the year and allowed people to get cool water despite the droughts.
Most of these tanks are in the form of hollow cylinders and sank deep into the earth to reach the groundwater buried very low, especially in arid areas. Stairs inside allowed the people to fetch the water. There could be more than one hundred steps. During periods of monsoon, the water reservoir was naturally replenished and immersed the lowest stairs.
Apart from that, these particular architectures were also a place of rest. Indeed, the stones kept cool and were cooling the air around. It was a very pleasant meeting place. Moreover, in the Hindu communities, temples could be built underground, allowing the rituals to be done in a cool environment. Some temples are still active.
The first simple architectures of suck kind were were built between the third and sixth centuries. They were still under use until the early 19th century, but many were destroyed during the British colonization. Indeed, the Britishers were convinced that these tanks were unhygienic. Moreover, with the advent of drilling equipment, these constructions gradually became obsolete. Many of these tanks dried when abandoned or used as landfill. Some were completely disfigured by vegetation.
Each structure is unique, ranging from single cylinder to the most sumptuous buildings. The government lacks the means to protect or restore them. Only tourism can help save these unknown underground wonders. It is incredible that many people do not know about these structures. Millions of tourists go to India for tourism, but most only go to the majestic Taj Mahal totally ignoring these buried wonders.
We support the action of Victoria Lautman and her wish to let the people know about these unique underground architectures through these beautiful pictures. Discover also her website here. Did you know about the existence of these structures or are you surprised to learn that such masterpieces have remained unknown for so long?