Agam Kuan which means 'unfathomable well' is an ancient well whose history is strongly believed to be associated with Mauryan era dating back to c. 2nd-3rd BC. It is situated near Gulzarbagh railway station in Patna City area.
The famed well has found its mention in the travelogue of two Chinese traveler who visited Pataliputra in c. 5th CE and 7th CE respectively. Their is a story that Emperor Asoka killed his 99 brothers and threw them in this well, hence the well was also known as "The Hell of Asoka". However, the historical references does not point to this aspect. In most likelihood, it was a slaughter-house for animals for the Royal Palace kitchen.
The well also find mention in the Muslim travelers details during c. 13th CE who considered it auspicious and people used to throw coins for their wishes - a tradition which has found its way till this date. The raised structure has been of recent addition to protect it.
The inside view of the well. The well is approximately 65 feet deep having perimeter of over 20 feet. The well is brick enclosed in the upper part while the lower part is secured through wooden rings. The bricks in the figure below is typical of the Mauryan times.
A hand written plate stuck in the wall of the well reads "The well of Emperor Asoka" in Hindi. The plate seems to of recent origin, however the message it convey has a long history of over two thousand years.
The Shitala Mata Temple in the same campus is also very old though exact date can not be ascertained. The chief deity at the temple is considered to ward off the effects of small pox. Many marriage are held here during the auspicious months. It is one of the most visited temples in Patna. The Agam Kuan lie just behind it. In photo 2 above, the back side of temple is visible in upper right corner.
The entrance gate of the temple and the Agam Kuan. This place is remarkably close to the excavated place of Kumhrar, Bulandibagh, Kamaldah Jain temple complex and Choti Pahari - Bari Pahari (within 1 km range).
The market outside the campus. A number of shops offering variety of things has came up near the temple campus due to huge rush of devotees throughout the year.