” I went to Bhangarh with my friends… The ruins were looking like a set of horror films… It was dark and silent… We were walking to the old temple and then we felt that someone is following us… .”
P.K. Singh, Director, Infotech Company.
The grandma stories about deserted woods, haunted houses and creepy cemeteries often deeply impressed upon our young minds when we were kids. Few of us can deny being thrilled by some dilapidated house in our neighbourhood, which we believed to be ghost’s lair. As rationality sunk in, such naive faith transformed into skepticism. Nevertheless, there are certain places around the globe with crooked past whose paranormality defy our intelligent comprehension. One such place is the Bhangarh Fort of Rajasthan in India.
People living near the Fort often recount paranormal incidents that they have witnessed there. It is believed that whoever has dared to stay within the fort precincts at night has not seen the light of the next day. Abhimanyu Shahi of ‘India.com’ and Jill Harness of the website ‘Neatorama’ include Bhangarh in their list of five of the most haunted places on earth. Salon Media Group ranks it third in its list of ’10 Most Haunted Places Around the World’. The government of India has recognised it as the most haunted place in India, and the Archeological Survey of India strictly prohibits entry into the fort premises after sunset.
The Bhangarh Fort is located between Alwar and Jaipur districts in Rajasthan, and is about 300 Km from Delhi. It is on the edge of the Sariska Tiger Reserve in the Aravalli hills. Its history began in 1573 when Raja Bhagwant Das established it as the residence of his son Sawai Madho Singh, a relative of the famous Man Singh of Akbar’s court. Entering through the main gate, you’ll see several intricately constructed temples – such as the temples of Shiva, Hanuman, Gopinath and Mangla Devi – standing gracefully. In addition, there is the Jauhari Bazaar ( market place ), Purohitji ki Haveli ( priest’s residence ), Nachan ki Haveli ( dancer’s palace ) and the king’s ruined palace.
There are two dark legends associated with the place. According to the first, Bhangarh was maledicted by Baba Balu Nath. He approved the construction of the town on one condition- that the shadows of its palaces should not touch his own sanctuary. However, an ambitious prince raised his palace to such an height that its shadows reached Baba Balu Nath’s forbidden haven. His curse resulted in the devastation of the entire city. The local people firmly believe that any building constructed in this accursed place would lose its roof inevitably.
The second legend is about the beautiful princess of Bhangarh, Ratnavati, and her repudiated admirer,Singhia. One day Singhia, adept at black magic, saw Ratnavati’ s maid buying a bottle of perfume for the princess. He replaced the perfume with some magical potion that would force the princess to surrender herself to him. However, Ratnavati foiled his plans as she, witnessing what he did, threw the potion on a boulder, which flew towards Singhia and fatally wounded him. Before dying, he damned the place, and princess Ratnavati died a year later in a war between Bhangarh and Ajabgarh. It is believed that the ghosts of Singhia and other 10,000 inhabitants of the town haunt Bhangarh.
The Indian Paranormal Society, assisted by the news channel Aaj Tak’s team, conducted an interesting research in the Bhangarh Fort. They did not find any evidence of paranormal activity and concluded that the place is not haunted. Most eerie sounds and movements that the locals associate with supernatural presence are actually caused by numerous wild animals that enter from the hills into the fort at night. Since there is no electricity, the place appears to be all the more sinister.
Despite the lack of scientific evidence, Bhangarh still gives the impression of a dark landscape from some fairy tale imagination. A visit to the place would definitely disturb your composure.