The city of Jodhpur is a popular tourist destination for its awe-inspiring architectural structures. Among these is the stepwell, an ancient Indian technique to save rainwater. But today, as new methods to do so have developed, the maintenance and caretaking of these stepwells are in shambles.
Years ago, Ireland-based Caron Rawnsley, who is an admirer of delightful architecture, came to India because his grandfather was the chief railway engineer here. He was disheartened to see how the once beautiful stepwell structures were now filled with garbage and being used as latrines.
Initially, he took up this issue formally and appealed to authorities. Receiving no response, he decided to take it upon himself to clean these stepwells.
Today, with help from volunteers and assistance from Mehrangarh Museum Trust, this Irish citizen, who is locally called ‘Pagal Saab’ (mad sir), has revived 10 stepwells in Jodhpur including Ram Bawari, Kriya Jhalara, Govinda Bawari, Chandpol Bawari, Mahamandir Bawari, Mahila Bagh Jhalara, Tapi Bawari, and the Gulab Sagar Lake.
Watch this video to see how ‘Pagal Saab’ forged a unique connection with India’s stepwells:
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