During all my travels in India I never came across these wells in Western India – "known as stepwells, also called bawdi (Hindi बावड़ी) or baoli (Hindi:बावली), are in
essence wells in which the
water can be reached by descending a set of step".


Quoting wikipedia…

"All forms of the stepwell may be considered to be particular examples of the many types of storage and irrigation tanks that were developed in India, mainly to cope with seasonal fluctuations in water availability. A basic difference between stepwells on the one hand, and tanks and wells on the other, was to make it easier for people to reach the ground water, and to maintain and manage the well.

The majority of surviving stepwells originally also served a leisure purpose, as well as providing water. This was because the base of the well provided relief from daytime heat, and more such relief could be obtained if the well was covered. This led to the building of some significant ornamental and architectural features, often associated with dwellings and in urban areas. It also ensured their survival as monuments.

Stepwell construction is known to have gone on from at least 600 AD. Most existing stepwells date from the last 800 years. There are suggestions that they may have originated much earlier, and there are some suggestions that precursors to them can be seen in the Indus Valley civilisation."

Would be interesting to speculate on the links between Echer's steps


Turns out there is no evidence of Indic influence direction, but more Moorish…again quotes from Wikipedia's entry on Escher.

The mathematical influence in his work emerged around 1936, when he was journeying the Mediterranean
with the Adria Shipping Company. Specifically, he became interested in
order and symmetry. Escher described his journey through the
Mediterranean as "the richest source of inspiration I have ever tapped."

After his journey to the Alhambra, Escher tried to improve upon the art works of the Moors
using geometric grids as the basis for his sketches, which he then
overlaid with additional designs, mainly animals such as birds and