Why Were Baolis Is Dug in Ancient Times?

Baolis, also known as stepwells, are ancient structures that were built in India and other parts of South Asia. These structures were primarily used for storing water but also served as a place for social gatherings, religious ceremonies, and even as a means of defense during times of war.

But why were baolis dug in ancient times? Let’s find out.

Water Scarcity

One of the primary reasons why baolis were dug in ancient times was to combat water scarcity. In many parts of India, especially in the arid regions, water is a scarce resource.

During the dry season, rivers and other sources of water often dry up leaving people with no access to clean drinking water. Baolis were dug to store rainwater during the monsoon season which could be used throughout the year.

Community Gathering Place

Baolis also served as a community gathering place where people could come together and socialize. Women would gather around the baoli to fetch water and exchange gossip while men would use it as a place for discussions and debates. Baolis became an integral part of the local community where people would come together to celebrate festivals and important occasions.

Religious Significance

Baolis also held religious significance in ancient times. Many baolis were built near temples or other religious sites and were considered sacred places.

People would often perform religious ceremonies at these places which included taking dips in the baoli’s waters. Some baolis even had idols or shrines dedicated to various deities.

Defense Mechanism

Baolis also served as a means of defense during times of war. The narrow steps leading down to the water made it difficult for enemies to enter the structure making it an ideal place for soldiers to hide or defend themselves from attackers.

The Legacy Continues

Today, baolis are still an important part of India’s cultural heritage. Many of these ancient structures have been preserved and are now popular tourist attractions. Some are still used by the locals for storing water while others have been converted into community centers or museums.


In conclusion, baolis were dug in ancient times for various reasons including water scarcity, community gathering place, religious significance, and defense mechanism. These structures not only served a practical purpose but also became an integral part of India’s cultural heritage. With their unique design and historical significance, baolis continue to fascinate people even today.