3rd April 2019
The Vessel, the centrepiece of New York’s newest neighbourhood, Hudson Yards, opened to much fanfare on March 15th. The brainchild of British designer Thomas Heatherwick, the Vessel is an interactive art installation consisting of 80 landings and 154 intersecting flights of stairs and is quickly becoming the most Instagrammed building in New York. At 150-feet tall, it dominates the newly developed area and offers those energetic enough to climb 2,500 steps superb views over the Hudson River and surrounding areas
But where did the designer get the inspiration for such an unusual building? The answer lies in a small village in India close to the city of Jaipur…
The village of Abhaneri near Jaipur is home to the Chand Baori, one of the largest and deepest stepwells in India. The stepwell was designed in the 9th century to give residents easy access to clean ground water at the foot of the well. This quickly became a place for locals to gather and cool down when the weather got unbearably hot, as it is noticeably cooler down in the stepwells than on street level.
Over 3,000 such stepwells were built in the region during medieval times, but most have fallen into disrepair. Not Chand Baori however, which is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. In fact, so photogenic is it, that it featured in the 2012 Batman film The Dark Knight Rises.
You can visit the Chand Baori stepwells on our tailor-made tours to India. We don’t offer tours to New York (yet!) but make sure The Vessel is on your itinerary next time you head there