City Life – Diving & Swimming, Nizamuddin Baoli
The spring of life.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
He raises his arms, lowers his head, stays still, takes a deep breathe and jumps from the roof and… SPLASH! He crash lands into the cold dark brown water. Before he can resurface, another boy dives in, followed by another and another and another.
After its first successful renovation in 700 years, the baoli, or the stone step well, in Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti, central Delhi, has again become a play pool for the neighbourhood boys.
In the old days, heat-stricken Delhiwallas went to baolis for its cool breeze. As the temperature rose and the water level sank, they clambered down deeper into the well. In the monsoon, the stone steps vanished under the rising water. Many such wells have disappeared today, buried within mounds of earth. Some have survived; the most popular being Agrasen ki Baoli on Hailey Road and Rajon ki Baoli in Mehrauli.
The baoli in Nizamuddin Basti is the most special because it was built by Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, the city’s 14th century sufi saint, whose tomb-shrine lies in the area.
The water looks sufficiently clean. And as the boys show, it is full of life.
Where Nizamuddin Basti, near Humayun’s Tomb Nearest Metro station Khan Market and Jangpura
A living monument