Just a few more steps...

A boy walking up the steps of the historic Chand Baori stepwell in Abhaneri village in Rajasthan on Thursday.

For a few hours on one day each year, local residents are permitted to descend into the 30m-deep, 1,200-year-old stepwell, as Hindu devotees in the area mark a local festival, at the same time as Hindus worldwide observe Ganesh Chaturthi festivities.

Centuries ago, stepwells were constructed in Rajasthan state, known to be extremely arid, to provide water all year round.

Chand Baori is one of the oldest and largest stepwells in the world, with some 3,500 steps laid out in a geometric design down to the water at its base.

The site was built by King Chanda of the Nikumbha Dynasty between AD800 and AD900 and is dedicated to Harshat Mata, the goddess of joy and happiness.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2015, with the headline 'Just a few more steps...'. Print Edition | Subscribe