Panna Meena Ka Kund is one of the best-restored stepwell or Baori in Jaipur. Panna Meena Ka Kund is also called Panna Mian Kund, Panna Meena Baori, Panna Meena Bawri. Chand Baori, a stepwell on Jaipur- Agra highway gets all the limelight because of its massive size and history, but it is 100 km drive from Jaipur. Panna Meena Kund, on the other hand, is accessible to all since it is in Amer town near Jaipur.
Panna Meena Kund is located in Amer town. Amer Fort is what brings tourists to the Amer town. Most tourists end up visiting only Amer Fort and thereby missing many other places to explore in this historic town. It is situated close to Anokhi Museum near Kheri gate in Amer town.
What is Stepwell or Baori?
Stepwell or Baori is a type of ancient water storage tank where water can be accessed through a flight of steps.
Why you should visit Panna Meena Kund?
For one, Panna Meena Kund is the only well restored and functional stepwell in Jaipur. It belongs to an era when piped water didn’t exist. These days, it’s not used for the purpose, it was originally built. It has served its purpose for many centuries. The Baori or Bawri was part of the community and society residing around it. It served as a prime source of drinking water especially when the deficient rainfall period. It is an eight-story step-well and was designed in such a way that one could reach water at any level using a flight of steps. There are many other Stepwells in Rajasthan and Gujarat which are much bigger and ornate than this one. Even that, Panna Meena Kund is beautiful in its own way.
History of Panna Meena ka Kund
There is no confirmed history or record on how this Baori came to be called Panna Meena or Panna Mian Kund. As per the local legend, during the reign of Maharajah Jai Singh, a eunuch named Panna Miah served in the royal court of Amer Fort and some believe that he was instrumental in constructing this stepwell. It is believed that it dates back to the 16th century. There is yet another theory that it was built by the locals Meenas who were original residents of Amer before Rajputs arrived during 10-11th century. Locals believe that Panna Meena was a brave warrior and this stepwell was built in his remembrance.
Some sources have mentioned that it is in Panna Meena Kund that Rajputs killed Meena chiefs who ruled Amer and thereby came to control this town. None of the popular history books mentions this. What we do know is that before 11 century it was Meenas who ruled Amer. It is unlikely that Panna Meena Kund dates before the 11th century. In the absence of records, people add their own versions and stories. The fact is we know very little about its history.
One of the unique aspects of this Baori is its inconspicuous presence. The steps cover only three sides and there is plenty of space where one can sit, chat or enjoy the views around. There are niches in between the stair levels which add to the design. It’s possible that they were designed with some utility, in mind. There four octagonal pavilions or Chhatris on all four corners.
This Baori was more than merely a source of water. It was a meeting spot for the women; to chit-chat and catch up on each other’s life. Therefore, it’s an important part of our culture & history and not simply a built heritage. By visiting, this stepwell you can probably visualize how life must have been centuries ago.
The community space at Panna Meena Kund. I’m not sure if this how it was years ago or it has been added recently during the restoration project.
Personally, I like the simplicity, symmetry, and architecture of Panna Meena Kund. The number of ancient Stepwells in Jaipur runs in double digits. Most of these step-wells are in bad shape barring this one and the one at the Nahargarh Fort. This one is most accessible and beautiful stepwell in Jaipur.
This Baori is not in use anymore, as I mentioned above. However, it serves as a playground for the local boys during the monsoon when they congregate and organize a diving and swimming competition among themselves.
I have written a post earlier last year during the monsoon season. Read all about it here: Jaipur in Sawan/ Fun-WPC
Although it’s not on a regular tourist itinerary, some guides and tour operators do take tourists around this step-well for a tour. Recently, some Bollywood movies were shot here due to which it has gained prominence.
Panna Meena ka Kund Location
Panna Meena Ka Kund is located in Amer town close to Ambikeshwar Mahadev Temple or Anokhi Cafe. Ambikeshwar Mahadev Temple is well known in Amer town. You can easily find your way by asking for the direction among the locals.
Panna Meena ka Kund Timing
Panna Meena Ka Kund is open from sunrise to sunset. I have often visited Panna Meena Kund soon after sunrise and found it open for the visitors. Recent suicides at this site have prompted local authorities to be more vigilant and they might be closing it just before sunset.
Panna Meena Kund Entry Fee
There is no entry fee in Panna Meena Kund. Like most places in Amer except Amer Fort and Anokhi museum, you can visit Panna Meena Baori for free!
TIP! Unlike the famous Chand Baori at Abhaneri, there are no restrictions to walk in and around the Baori. So it’s worth a visit!
I have heard a story that you can’t use the same flight of stairs while going up and down. I’m not sure if this is true nor I intend to check on it because sometimes psychology starts playing with you. If you are game…go ahead! I’ll love to hear what you have to say! Panna Meena Kund is an excellent example of water management and water harvesting techniques.
Things to see around Panna Meena Kund in Amer
You can visit the following places around this famous Baori.
1. Ambikeshwar Temple is barely a few meters away. As per the local legend Amer town derives its name from Ambikeshwar. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. You can read about it all in this write-up Ambikeshwar Temple, the protagonist in the history of Amer
2. Jagat Shiromani Temple too is barely a few meters away. It is the most beautiful temple in Amer Town. The temple is also called as Meera Bai temple. Read a complete write-up Jagat Shiromani Temple
3. Amer Fort needs no introduction as it is the most popular tourist attractions of the pink city. Read the complete post on Amer Fort Guide
Apart from the above, Anokhi Textile Museum is also popular among those who love to explore the history of the famous hand-block printed fabric of Jaipur (Sanganer). This museum is located close to the Panna Meena Kund.
Check out other places to visit and explore in Jaipur.