Though our grandparents and parents abandoned the idea of ghosts but still we all loved listening to ghost stories during our childhood days. No? You must be an exception if you don’t find ghosts enchanting. Basic human craving for the unknown and mysterious can’t be denied. The craving for adventure…This hunger and curiosity to unfold the truth usually takes us to places that not too many people really attempt to visit. This curiosity took us to Bhangarh Fort, which is listed among the most haunted historical places in the world.
Bhangarh doesn’t need any introduction. It is fairly well-known now, thanks to the internet. It has been talked about, written about and myth-ed about innumerable times. People enjoy reading or listening to haunted stories about it but few dare to actually visit and see it. Of the many legends, there are two that are well-known among the natives. One is about the legend of Princess Ratnavati and jadugar Singhia and the another is about a curse of Guru Balu Nath.
During our visit to Jaipur last week, we dubiously added Bhangarh to our to-visit list. When we asked a person at our hotel about Bhangarh fort; he seemed reluctant to give any information and found it weird that we wanna go there. But we were determined. My daughter was more excited than I was.
Early next morning, we started driving towards the fort which is around 90 km from Jaipur. We took help of Google maps because of lack of firsthand information. Roads were narrow and deserted. We felt strange to see that there were not many cars on our route; traffic was moving in the opposite direction. Though, I am really skeptical of my belief in the paranormal and supernatural powers but the experience on the road kind of intensified the feel of adventure. And we knew that the place is sparsely visited because of its infamous status. It was a lovely drive with beautiful rural landscapes, however felt a bit of uneasiness about what we would confront at the fort. It was truly a journey to unknown, unexplained and unreal.
There were few stretches where ours was the only car on narrow and bumpy roads with almost no soul in sight. We kept ourselves busy explaining the culture and customs of Rajasthan to our daughter.
There are people who claim that they were bewitched or hounded or punched or what not. And there are people who reject the whole idea as a trick to attract tourists. Believers respond in positive and non-believers cease the concept. Whatever the truth is, adding a haunted label to the place definitely turns even a dilapidated fort into a popular tourist destination. An intelligent publicity stunt. These myths attract people from around the world to the ruins of Bhangarh.
We reached the fort at around 11 a.m. We were amongst handful of people who had dared to come all the way to the fort. The way towards the fort was packed with locals who were going for some religious ceremony inside the fort. The temples of Bhangarh draws a lot of devotees from nearby villages. There were hardly any tourists. The ramshackled fort and monkeys welcomed us. The fort premises has been invaded by monkeys and langoors. Devotees were feeding a group of monkeys. However, it’s surroundings were covered with lush green meadows. It really felt like life has come to a standstill. The fort has all it takes to be qualified as the imagery of a spooky condo. It is absolutely secluded. Access to the fort seems to be almost cut off because it is covered by a belt of Sariska Tiger Reserve miles beyond.
The Archeological Survey of India has put up a board on the fort gate saying that it is prohibited for tourists to stay inside the fort after sunset and before sunrise.
Just at the entrance, the fort has a marketplace (Johri Bazar), with rows of shops and houses (including nartikiyon ki haveli on the right) lined on either side, which is in ruins now; roofless.
Place feels a bit of spooky not because of paranormal status but because of the sadness and poignancy that wraps it.
Bhangarh doesn’t really seem to be protected as an Archaeological site in any sense.
The deterioration is apparent as one moves up.
In India religion is everywhere. Despite of ghostly image there were people performing religious rituals in different rooms of the fort. Group of villagers were performing nasty ritual of punishing themselves for wrongdoings or to make their God happy. ASI isn’t making any effort to curb these happenings inside the fort maybe because they don’t really wanna hurt anyone’s religious beliefs or sentiments.
Two young boys entered the palace with bags on shoulders; talking in hushed voices while we were coming out of the palace. My curiosity took over; I had to know what brought them with bags here. They declared that they are going to spend the entire night at the fort. They chuckled saying it’s a nice place for camping. I wished them luck and waved goodbye.
I investigated every room, every aisle, every corner but was disenchanted. Out of curiosity, I spoke to the Hindu priest staying within the fort premises and the guard on duty. They rejected the idea of ghosts. Priest philosophized “There is no spirit more dangerous than man”. They claimed that the wild animals come down from the mountain ranges at night from the neighboring forests like Sariska and the fort serves as a night shelter for them; sounds created by these wild animals make this fort a scary place. Also, the fort has no provision of electricity, which makes the ruins atrocious at night.
Gopinath Temple has same elaborateness of carving that Rajasthan is known for. Strangely, the idols of God were missing. Hanuman Temple and Someshwar temple are also in the Fort premises.
At the end of the visit, nasty tales about the fort seem unbelievable; there was an uncomfortable feeling though. Like everyone, we also left the place before sunset with many unanswered queries. It left me pondering though that how can ghosts stay in a place with so many temples surrounding it.
And the mystery remains…whether the place is haunted or not….if you figure it out…please let me know…waise bhoot woot kuch nahin hota 🙂
From Delhi: Delhi > Gurgaon > Bhiwadi > Alwar > Sariska > Thanagazhi > Pratapgarh > Ajabgarh > Bhangarh. It’s nearly 300-km drive.
From Jaipur: NH21 > NH148 > RJ SH 55 > Bhangarh
Things to Take Care Before Taking Your Kids to the Haunted Fort
*Let them know about the distinctness between reality (real) vs fantasy (fake).
*Evaluate your kids’ ability to handle spookiness.
*Don’t scare them by narrating stories that don’t have any credibility rather help them fight their fears.
What’s in it for Kids?
*Bhangarh fort is brimming with history. I never really liked history until travel made it fun. Let your kids dive deep into history and see the magic.
*Seeing the fort known for its haunted status makes them understand the unrealness of the spooky stories and lets them encounter their doubts.
*Road journey to the fort through remote hamlets unscathed by time gives glimpses of India’s rich culture and tradition to kids. It’s learning while having fun.
*There are stretches where for kilometers there are no petrol pumps or habitations.
*Carry some dry food as decent places to eat are rare.
*Carry a torch with you or use flashlight in mobile as the fort doesn’t have electricity and even in day time, a flashlight or torch will help you to see the fort better.
You should definitely visit Bhangarh, if you are willing to let go of your fear and explore places that are known to scare most of us but are utterly tranquil and beautiful.
How many of you believe in ghosts or supernatural powers? Do they really exist? Can they be seen or felt? Which is the first place that comes to the mind when the conversation is about the most haunted places in India or world?
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