There is this curious case of a well deep in England, in a village called Stoke Row near Henley-on-Thames, which was dug on the orders of an Indian ruler. Well

The story goes like, the acting Governor of United Provinces(current day Uttar Pradesh), Edward Anderdon Reade, over a regal dinner, narrated a story to the Maharaja of Benares, Iswari Prasad Narayan Singh about a boy who was beaten by his mother for drinking the last drop of water in their house during a severe drought. Maharajah of Benares

The king, moved by the plight of the villagers, immediately ordered a well to be dug in the village. The well, 368 feet deep, equals the height of St Paul’s Cathedral and is 4 feet wide. It was dug by two workers all year long and was completed in a year, though due to the quality of the soil, cave ins were frequent in the well. Not content with a simple well, the king got a 23 feet superstructure with a bright dome, winding machinery and a decorative golden elephant as sentinel.

The well was opened on 24 May 1864 and costed £353. The caretaker’s cottage costed £74 14s 6d and was frowned upon by ‘some’ for the expenditure over the poor community. The king maintained the well as well as the village all his life, but never visited the village. The well served it’s purpose for 70 years when a water pipeline was opened in 1927.

The village never forgot their royal benefactor(while their government did nothing) and celebrated the centenary occasion with pomp. 1500 people attended the event.

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