BAOLI or bavali is a masonry well with steps leading down to water level. This is perhaps the oldest type of well introduced when man had discovered the existence of subsoil water and also the means to reach it, but had not yet invented mechanical devices to draw water out of it. Before masonry art was developed, baolis must have been only shallow pits with a sloping path down to the water, vertical walls and dented steps confined only to rocky regions.
Gradually as the arts of brick making and masonry developed, baolis began to be constructed in the plains and, although subsequently use of pulleys and, still later, of the Persian wheel was introduced to bring water up to the surface of the earth, the vogue of baolis continued up to comparatively more recent times.During early Sikhism, successive Gurus raised several villages and towns across the Punjab, with ponds and baolis, especially in areas where water was scarce.
In the Sikh system the importance of daily morning bath (snana) is stressed equally with nam (meditation on God`s name) and dan (charity). A historically famous baoli` which is today an important pilgrim site for the Sikhs was built by Guru Amar Das (1479-1574) at Goindval, town he had himself founded.