19 August 2008
The Chand Baori stepwell
An impressive architectural achievement, located near Jaipur India, and dating from the 9th century. Although called a "well," the structure seems to incorporate the principles of a cistern in collecting surface water or rainfall in addition to the groundwater. The Chand Baori one has fifteen levels of very steep steps (the rise-to-run proportions adding only 18" of width per 8' of drop).
More information about stepwells at Wiki, though the most detailed treatment is at this online book "Steps to Water." Click to enlarge images.