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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Bhangarh - A Haunted Place

Located between Jaipur and Alwar in Rajasthan, Bhangarh is India’s very own ghost town.  Known as one of the most haunted places in the country, it is famous for its historical ruins. It is definitely worth a visit for its temples, havelis and a palace. However, be sure to finish all your sightseeing during the day as the spooky place is strictly out of bounds at night.

A signboard displayed by ASI, a Government of India organization clearly states “Entering the borders of Bhangarh before sunrise and after sunset is strictly prohibited. Legal action would be taken against anybody who does not follow these instructions”. All this talk about the supernatural has resulted in making it one of the popular tourist destinations today.

It is believed that the city of Bhangarh was cursed by the Guru Balu Nath, which led to the town’s evacuation. He sanctioned the establishment of the town but with one clause, saying, “The moment the shadows of your palaces touch me, the city shall be no more!” Ignorant of such a threat, a descendant raised the palace to such a height that it cast a shadow Balu Nath’s forbidden retreat and thus the town was cursed as predicted. The small Samadhi where Balu Nath is said to lie buried is still there.

Bhangarh is a deserted town with some 10000 dwellings established in 1613 by Madho Singh, son of great Mughal general, Man Singh of Amber. Bhangarh was abandoned soon after being built and supposedly after it was cursed by a magician. Bhangarh fort offers an intact view of the medieval past. Apparently, the Bhangarh town had been desolated by an old mughal invasion, and is just reverting back to being habited again.

Bhangarh premises are enclosed by a partially ruined wall. Other than dwellings, ruins of Bhangarh also include gardens, havelis, banyan trees and temples of Lord Someshwar, gopinath, mangla devi and Keshava rai. But the enigmatic attraction is a secluded chhatri on the hilltop which catches attention of all the travelers. In entirety, the random placement of all these sites within Bhangarh premises may look freighting and mysterious at the same time.

According to another legend, the beauty and charisma of the Princess of Bhangarh Ratnavati, was incomparable to anyone in all of Rajasthan. As soon as she turned eighteen, she started getting matrimonial offers from other regions. In the same region lived a tantrik, a magician well versed in the occult, named Singhia. He was madly in love with the princess knowing that nothing could ever come of it. One day when he saw the princess’s maid in the market buying scented oil for her, he thought that this was his chance. He used his black magic on the oil which would hypnotize the princess by her merely touching the oil and would surrender herself and run to him. His plan did not work out as the princess had seen the tantric enchanting the oil and thus poured it on the ground. It touched a stone, which started rolling towards the tantrik and crushed him. Dying, Singhia cursed the palace with the death of all who dwelt in it, without any rebirth in their destinies. The next year there was a battle between Bhangarh and Ajabgarh in which Princess Ratnavati lost her life.

The grounds of Bhangarh are enclosed by a partially ruined wall. The beautifully carved temples Gopinath, Shiva, Mangla Devi and Keshava Rai are definitely worth a visit. There’s also the dancer’s haveli. The most mysterious building of all is the chhatri that stands atop the hill, which is believed to have been inhabited by the tantrik.

The town continues to draw visitors many of whom claim to have heard “sounds” of music and tinkling of anklets. Some even swear they have heard spine-chilling screams. Whether its fact or myth, you decide.
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