Bhangarh: A ghost city


Located 300kms away from Delhi, this ruined city in Rajasthan is famous for being one of the most haunted places in India. Flanked by the Aravalis on all three sides, it encloses a fort, as well as temples, cenotaphs and havelis. The city was originally established in 1631 by Madho Singh, the son of great Mughal general, Man Singh of Amber. According to legend, it was abandoned because of a curse by a tantrik named Guru Balu Nath, who is said to be buried here in a small samadhi. Locals believe that the tantrik cast his spell because of his unrequited love for the kingdom’s queen Ratnavati. The whole city was cursed, with the exception of the temples. The most important shrines here are the Hanuman Temple, Gopinath Temple and Naveen Temple, while Purohitji ki Haveli is also worth a visit. Head to the terrace of the Royal Palace for panoraBhangarh-Fort-mic views of all the four gates—Lahori Gate, Ajmeri Gate, Phulbari Gate and Delhi Gate. While most of the ruins are well-preserved, modern-day Bhangarh is only a shadow of a once prosperous city.

Located at the border of the Sariska Tiger Reserve in the Alwar district of Rajasthan, Bhangarh Fort is a 17th century fort, infamous all over India for being the “Most haunted place in India“. Because of the numerous ghostly experiences and happenings in the fort premises, villages have sprung up far away from the fort, due to the fear of what lies within. Even the Archaeological Survey of India or the ASI has forbidden the locals and tourists from entering the fort at night. This completely ruined, haunted fort of Bhangarh does have a very eerie, negative aura to it. Several legends have attested to the paranormal happenings inside the fort. There are always two sides of the story of the Bhangarh Fort, haunted for generations. Let me relate the story first. The two sides can wait for some time.

A group of tourists once bribed the keeper of a fort to let them inside the complex of the supposedly haunted Bhangarh fort (a notoriously infamous one at that) once night fell. The keeper let them in, albeit with a stern warning that it wasn’t advisable to go inside the fort since it was believed to be haunted by spirits during the night. Unmindful of the warning, the group trotted inside joking and laughing. It was all good up to the point they noticed a boy sitting alone inside one of the rooms. The only anomaly was that the room had no door, and a window which was tightly grilled to make sure that no one could enter in or venture out. What happened next is an occurrence I need not describe. I believe my readers are clever enough to guess the inevitable.

Bhangarh fort haunted, has many stories associated with it, although one which is most credulous and widely held to be true. The fort almost invariably finds a place very high up when a list of the most haunted places in India, or even Asia for that matter, is drawn up.  A place which is so riddled with the element of paranormal that even the official administrative machinery endorses that the place is not normal. A place where it is expressly forbidden to venture in after darkness falls. A place which looks like a blown up version of Riddle Manor in Harry Potter, for a mere invocation of its name sends goosebumps down one’s spine. Come now, for if the mysteries of the other-worldly activities enchant you, if you have a penchant for going to places which are popular for all the wrong reasons and if you find yourself being titillated while going through this post, then Bhangarh fort in the Alwar district of Rajasthan is the place for you to reckon with.

The Surviving Legends of the Haunted Bhangarh Fort

The Bhangarh fort haunted is like other forts in Rajasthan, and is surprisingly well preserved. Its ramparts and fortifications stand amidst the ruins of the ghost town by the same name. Legends have it that the fort and the surrounding establishments around it once buzzed with life. Then something happened along with a chain of other unfortunate incidents which led to the doom of the place within a very short span of time. Coming back to the dual facets- there are two stories still surviving in the form of legends, which have tried to give a meaning to the eerie atmosphere which surrounds the haunted fort of Bhangarh.

A Place Lost in the Shade

The first legend claims that a king named Madho Singh raised the Bhangarh fort after obtainBhangarh-Forting due permission from an ascetic named Bala Nath who lived there; having agreed to a condition which said that the shadow of the fort must never fall upon the home of the ascetic. But as fate would have it, one of the ambitious successors of Madho Singh added to the fortifications vertically, thereby causing its ominous shadow to engulf the abode of the ascetic. Lo and Behold, once it came to pass, the fort was doomed within no time. The alleged prophecy stood fulfilled, and the Bhangarh Fort became haunted.

A Place Caught in a limbo

A second legend behind the Bhangarh Fort haunted, more popular than the first one, claims that Princess Ratnavati of Bhangarh was responsible for the apocalyptic situation which befell the fort. A local black magician fell in love with her (the princess is believed to have been very beautiful) and once tried to bewitch a cosmeticshe was supposed to use, to make her fall in love with him. The princess smelled suspicion and foiled the entire conspiracy of the black magician by pouring the bewitched cosmetic over a massive stone boulder, which then supposedly crushed the ‘tantrik’ to death. Before the magician breathed his last, he placed a curse upon the entire landscape that no soul would ever be able to live in peace there. The entire landscape around the Bhangarh Fort has been haunted since.

The Brighter Side

The fort is situated at the edge of a lusciously green expanse of Sariska Tiger Reserve between Alwar and Jaipur, and is not very far away from Delhi either. The fort was clearly modelled upon the medieval city of Shahjahanbad, with four massive wooden gates in every direction. The precincts of the fort have ornately carved a miniature waterfall and temples which lend an air of tranquility  to the place during the better part of the day. The remnants of some palaces within the fort are a clear indicators of the fort’s prosperity during its heyday. The fort would have been a tourist hotspot for its serene atmosphere during the day and the architectural marvel that the fort is, and as a matter of fact it is. It is a tourist attraction and it does attract hordes of tourists during the day, but for all the wrong reasons. Local folks would have you believe that no one dares to build a house with a roof in the vicinity of the fort. The roof collapses shortly after being built.

After Darkness Falls….

The entire landscape is subsumed by a pall of gloom and a chilling hollowness once the last ray of sunlight bids adieu until its arrival the next morning. One constantly feels as if their movements are bBhangarh-Forteing watched, and the air is charged with a  dizzying heaviness. A board put up by the Archaeological Survey of India cautions the visitors not to venture within the premises of the fort during the dark hours.The haunted fort of Bhangarh, has had several stories associated with it. Believing on of them is akin to believing that the fort indeed is haunted, and this is a tale that has been in circulation for years. There is evidence to support the claim of those who say that those tried their luck either went missing, or weren’t able to explain anything coherently. You might say that the entire episodes were mere figments of imagination by ruminating minds, but the fact remains a fact.

Bhangarh Fort From Alwar

The nearest town to Bhangarh, is Alwar in Rajasthan. The distance from Alwar to Bhangarh is about 90 Km, for which taxis and buses are available from Alwar. Bhangarh Fort From Delhi Bhangarh is located around 269 km from Delhi via Neemrana route and 242 km via Alwar route. Alwar route, even though shorter takes slightly longer time because of the road conditions. From Delhi, one should take the NH8 route and head straight and continue even after Neemrana and take the NH11A. Drive on NH11A for around 50 km and then take the Rajasthan State Highway SH 55 for another 20 km to reach the destination. Overall, Bhangarh takes about 4 to 5 hours of driving from Delhi. On return, you can come via Alwar and stay back there. Explore the Sariska Tiger Reserve and Alwar Fort on the next day and be back in Delhi by evening.

Bhangarh Fort From Jaipur

Bhangarh Fort is just 83 km from Jaipur and it’s a good place to go for a day trip with friends. Take the NH11 and continue onto Agra Road. From Dausa, take the NH11A and continue for about 15km. From there, take the SH 55 and you can reach the destination. Overall, it won’t take you more than 2 hours from Jaipur to reach Bhangarh Fort. It will be a totally fun trip knowing the haunted stories of bhangarh. Try to talk to locals and see if they can recite the haunted story in Hindi.