Ever heard of a stepwell? They're wells or ponds in which the water may be reached by descending a set of steps. And across India there are literally thousands of them. Based on a unique type of architecture many have been left to crumble, and it's feared some may be lost forever.
Built around the 2nd and 4th centuries A.D. – they had humble beginnings as trenches but slowly evolved into much more elaborate feats of engineering crossed with art. By the 11th century, many stepwells were commissioned by the rich and powerful as monumental tributes.
Around 30 years ago, Chicago journalist Victoria Lautman discovered the incredible structures herself during a visit to India. Inspired by an urgency to document the massive subterranean before they disappear for good, Lautman has travelled to India four times in recent years to locate 120 structures across seven different states. She’s currently seeking a publisher to help bring her discoveries and photographs to a larger audience, and also offers stepwell lectures to architects and universities. If you’re interested, get in touch.