American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS), Center for Art &Archaeology (CA&A)

Sponsored by GRUH Finance Limited 

"Stepwells and Reservoirs of Western India" brings attention to a unique architectural form developed for the sandy soil and scanty rainfall of western India, especially in Gujarat and Rajasthan. The photographs highlight the superb architecture of these reservoirs and wells with a flight of stairs attached to it, constructed in ancient India. Large stepwells, such as Ranki Vav, Patan and Rudadevi Vav, Adalaj, must have been full of water in their time, serving as important means of water-resource management.The remains of hundreds of stepwells tell us about the amount of water that was available in past centuries and how early engineers solved problems posed by the loose, sandy soil.

The photographs also reveal that many of these magnificent structures are now overgrown with weeds and used as refuse dumps. We show this disturbing reality and hope that their present condition will alert us to problems caused by the collapse of traditional water management systems and to the utility and cultural value of finding ways to keep these structures well maintained and the environment clean. Such ancient monuments are our unique heritage, and have a practical value in addition to giving a sense of character to our towns and villages.

Kirit Mankodi (Curator Consultant), Project for Indian Cultural Studies, Mumbai

Exhibition venues: (September-October 2018)

  • Delhi, University of Chicago Center in Delhi, September 1-2 
  • Surat, Science Centre, September 8-11
  • Vadodara, M.S. University, Faculty of Museology, September 14-16)
  • Ahmedabad, L.D. Institute of Indology, September 20-23 
  • Bhuj, Kutchh Museum, September 26-28 
  • Rajkot, Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Art Gallery (Race Course), October 1-3
  • Junagadh, Opera House (Junagadh Museum), October 6-8, 2018