Bhangarh, a ruined town in Indian state of Rajasthan, is considered the most haunted place in India. I have an incomprehensible interest in ghosts, zombies and, you know, anything else which is paranormal. For this reason, Bhangarh was number one on my Must Visit Places list. The myths associated to this town are so strong that even government has put up a board there saying that you can’t enter the town after sunset and before sunrise.
According to the most popular and widely believed myth: The princess of Bhangarh, Ratnavati, who was supposedly very pretty, turned 18 and started to receive marriage offers from princes of different places. There lived a Tantrik who loved her and who knew black magic. Using his talent, he tried to woo Ratnavati by enchanting the oil she was purchasing in the market. She, however, saw him enchanting the oil and drained it. As soon as the oil touched the ground, it turned into a boulder and crushed the Tantrik. The Tantrik, while dying, cursed the whole town and those who dwelt in it. It’s said that thereafter every person who lived in Bhangarh died under mysterious circumstances.
Bhangarh is situated approximately 80 km from Rajasthan’s capital Jaipur and about the same distance from Alwar – another important city in Rajasthan – on the edge of Sariska Tiger Reserve. It’s quite well connected by the road and actually lies on a Alwar to Jaipur route (state highway) and a Jaipur to Delhi one. I don’t think you’d have any major difficulty on your way to Bhangarh. I suggest taking your own vehicle for maximum convenience.
I got the chance to visit the famous haunted town recently pretty inadvertently. We just happen to pass that way on our way back to Jaipur from Alwar that day and saw a board with ‘Bhangarh This Way——–>’ painted on it. Well, I was ecstatic. To be honest, saying that I was ecstatic would be a little too simple and inaccurate explanation of my semblance. I was a bit scared (I’m not at all chicken-hearted, mind you) and was glistening with excitement about what’s to come. We turned the vehicle toward Bhangarh.
Right on the entrance gate, we were greeted by a board by Archaeological Survey of India:
Moving ahead, there were two more boards:
Once inside, I cocked my head to left and saw this wall which was in pretty good shape unlike the rest of the town. This wall was apparently the only outer fortification of the town. There were no merlons or parapets which gives the impression that Bhangarh didn’t belong to one of those typical Rajasthani Rajputs which warred incessantly. And whose forts and walls needed high-level protection from sieges and siege weapons.
Ahead, we saw a paved road leading to the Bhangarh fort/palace. It was flanked by ruins which once were, believe it or not, shops! So, I was standing in ruins of a market:
Not that there were only human visitors…
One of the eeriest things about Bhangarh is some houses and shops here have their walls intact and some deteriorated, but not a single of them has roof. It’s like the roofs just flew off or disappeared.
See that little structure on that hill above? It’s called Chattri. It’s known to be the place where the said Tantrik did his black magic practices.
Even if it’s known as a haunted place, there are quite a few temples here. There’s one unnerving thing about the Bhangarh’s temples, though. Hindus believe that having broken statues or no statues in a temple is much worse that having no temple. There are either no statues in the temples or some places have broken statues (‘khandit murtiyan’ as you call in Hindi). So in a way, it’s a ‘God forsaken’ place. The place which is devoid of God!
Ahead, we saw the Bhangarh fort.
On the way back we saw one really grouchy visitor…
So, that was that. As you probably noticed, I didn’t see any ghosts in Bhangarh. Maybe they are active only at night. But that does not mean that this place is uninteresting, it certainly isn’t. It has a quaint beauty to it and an untold sad story hidden behind every piece of debris.
The air gives you a feeling of anxiety, almost baleful, and the whole environment looks like a natural horror movie set. Unceasing wind makes tree leaves softly rustle which you might mistake with ghost voices. Well, at least I did. Add to the gloominess, Bhangarh is ominously silent and somber. There were many visitors but almost everyone (and everything) was silent. If they talked, they did in hushed voices and whispers. As if they were waiting for monsters to appear from the dark corners and were ready to face them. There was nothing cheerful in and about Bhangarh. It looked like everything here wants you harmed and the lost souls are out to get you and will attack you any instant.
It’s said that if you stay here at night, you will either disappear or die. Locals said it has happened quite a few times. Also, if you try to build a structure in Bhangarh, it’s roof collapses in a day. There are many more beliefs about Bhangarh but obviously I couldn’t test the authenticity of any of them.
If you have a heart for old, battered, forgotten places, things, ruins, grim places with a rich, interesting, if somewhat evil history, like me, you can’t really go wrong with Bhangarh. Please, try staying at night and get back to me if you made it.