A stepped-well (Baoli, Vav, Vapi) is generally a rectangular structure containing a draw well, constructed below the ground level. It is approached by a long stepped corridor which leads from the ground level to the water of the well. Building stepped-wells especially in arid regions was a common practice in the Indian subcontinent. Mostly placed on travel routes, these not only served to quench thirst of the travellers, the space created several levels below the surface of these elaborate wells provided cool resting places. Besides the well these used to have additional tanks for bathing and washing purposes. The Center for Art and Archaeology's image collection of stepped-wells include documentation from Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh.
The stepwell has been revamped through the centuries by numerous rulers practicing various faiths. The first iteration was Hindu, built around 800 CE by Raja Chand possibly in conjunction with the nearby Harshat Mata temple. At the twelfth level down, the remains of structure are remarkably well preserved with shrines retaining the deities who overlook the water. The Mughal structure is a complex of rooms, galleries, arches and flat terraces. The stepwell is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Lautman, Victoria, The Vanishing Stepwells of India, 2017, 40