The deserts can be eerie with the howling of the wind. But that’s not all that can send shivers down your spine in Rajasthan ‘the land of kings and princes’. Whenever we come across these words, we think of wars, palace intrigues, betrayals, murders and deaths. This has created ghost towns and ghost stories and haunted places in Rajasthan and these places lure ghost hunters and enthusiasts from allover !
1.Kuldhara village, near Jaisalmer
It is a sad tale ……
Abandoned and cursed for over two hundred years, this Rajasthani village has a tale to tell. Why is a once prosperous village now nothing but an abandoned old site? Notice the scant presence of human existence, the vegetation is minimal and straying goats have feasted on the last bits. The afternoon sun is fierce and Kuldhara stands desolate …an uncanny silence prevails all around.
About 200 years ago, Kuldhara was home to the Paliwal Brahmins. It was during this time that Salim Singh, the Diwan of Jaisalmer, known for his debauchery and unscrupulous tax-collecting methods, set his eyes on the beautiful daughter of the village chief. The Diwan was intent on having the girl and he told the villagers if they came in his way he would levy huge taxes on them.
Fearing the wrath of the Diwan, one dark night all the villagers fled the village leaving behind their homes and everything within them. Kuldhara was abandoned by its very own people. No one saw the thousand-odd members of the village leave. For generations now, no one knows where the Paliwals have resettled. All that is known is they cursed the town when they left …. that no one would ever be able to settle down in Kuldhara again.
2.Bhangarh Fort, Alwar District
Bhangarh Fort is situated on the border of Sariska Tiger reserve in the Aravali range in the deserted town of Bhangarh, a ruined town between Jaipur and Alwar.
What happens in Bhangarh Fort at night ……
A major tourist attraction and often said to be ‘the most haunted historical places in India’ no one is allowed to remain in the scary Bhangarh Fort premises after dark. Tight restrictions have been imposed at Bhangarh Fort…. it is mandatory to leave the fort before dusk. The fort’s main entrance is locked and Government has placed a notice board at the main gate which reads that ” visiting the fort before sunrise and after sunset is strictly prohibited and if rules are violated legal action would be taken”.
It is said that spirits roam the Bhangarh Fort at night and weird incidents are reported after dusk. People often hear strange noises, screaming, women crying, the clink of bangles and many weird and scarcely credible incidents like voices and smells. People have seen ghostly shadows, strange lights and the unusual sounds of music and dance coming from the Bhangarh Fort. It is said that if anyone entered the fort after sunset and stayed there for the night, they would never return from the fort.
Legend has it that a wizard once fell in love with the princess of Bhangarh when he saw her at the market place. Intoxicated with love, he offered her a love potion of ‘ittar’ to make her agree to marry him, but, she saw through his trickery and that resulted in his death. Before dying the wizard cursed the fort, proclaiming that no one would be able to live in Bhangarh Fort. The very next year a battle destroyed the entire fort.
3. Brijraj Bhavan, Kota
There are many haunted places in Rajasthan …. one such historical ghost story comes from Kota, Rajasthan, a city on the banks of the Chambal River.
There are quite a few haunted places in Kota, one of them being Brijraj Bhavan – Once a palace of the former princely family of Kota and now a Heritage Hotel, Brijraj Bhavan was once the residence of Major Charles Burton who was killed during the Indian Mutiny of 1857 by Indian sepoys. It is one of the haunted palaces in India with the resident ghost of Major Charles Burton.
Today, it is not only a heritage hotel but also a haunted destination where the ghost of Major Burton still walks the Halls of the old building! It is said that guests have complained of distinctly ‘discomforting and oppressive feelings’. The staff, although reluctant to complain, have discussed an English voice being heard often by the drowsy chowkidars that says, “Don’t sleep, no smoking” followed by a sharp slap. Seems that the ghost of Burton still patrols the mansion!
4. Jagatpura, Jaipur
Since centuries they have been dwelling in this land, ghosts, ghouls, spirits …. Awaiting reincarnation or forever cursed to roam the abandoned forts and palaces, the dark forests and the lonely roads or even the crowded bazaars …. they are still there and everywhere ! Urbanisation may simply camouflage them but their reflections can be sensed by those open to their vibes ….
Jagatpura doesn’t attract tourists for its ‘haunted’ label like other places in Rajasthan because this quiet unassuming place is a residential area. But people have witnessed many unusual occurrences …. of witches walking around the roads of Jagatpura. The descriptions match those of witches one come across in classic horror stories …. Shades of Macbeth …. of old wrinkled hags roaming around at night in white dresses , white hair hanging loose over the face… things appearing and disappearing in the air, loud laughter and sudden screams in the night air! Maybe it’s just made-up stories inspired by local horror tales. However , it can be quite eerie to walk around at night in these parts. The people who live in this place are scared and do not step out of their homes late at night.
5. Sudhabay, near Pushkar
Sudhabay is not a ‘haunted place’ in the classical sense. In fact, it’s where people come to get rid of their haunting. But, if by a haunted place, what is meant is some place that has evil spirits, Sudhabay certainly counts …. at least on one day every year, the day of the ‘Ghost Fair’. For on this day, you can see people possessed by evil spirits coming here to take a bath at its well …. the water of which is supposed to be holy …. a potent weapon to drive away the evil spirits!