Saw a TV show some years back about some girls and a psychic, claiming to spend a night at an old barren fort in Rajasthan. The show was quite scary with weird camera angles capturing the horror on the girls faces (a humble rat could have also garnered the same emotions in me!!) along with the ear-splitting shrieks amidst the typical haunting background music. The name of the show was long forgotten but what stayed with me is the name of that fort. Bhangarh.
Bhangarh is reportedly the most haunted place in India. In-fact there is a board put up by the Archaeological Survey of India, near the main entrance gate of the fort, prohibiting people from staying here after sunset. All this hoopla about this place,
had built up massive expectations and made it a must visit in my travel list. Finally came the time when I got the opportunity to face it.
We had gone to Sariska on a weekend trip and decided to club our Bhangarh visit with the afternoon jungle safari. We left the Sariska hotel after a very heavy breakfast and headed straight to Bhangarh.
It was a mere 35 km journey, which should take around 1.5 hours max; but thanks to the worst roads I have ever seen in my life, it took us 3 hours to reach the haunted fort. It’s incorrect to call it a road, in fact it was more like a stretch of potholes with some road in between. The good part was that there is hardly any traffic so we could easily maneuver the car whichever way we could to reduce the assault on its shock absorbers. My lil one though loved the roller coaster ride. Apart from our aching muscles the ride also gave us a chance to get up close and personal with a sambar deer before it galloped in a nearby field. There are also countless peacocks and peahens in the fields.
A Sambar Deer on the way to Bhangarh
Finally when we reach the fort, we had another setback. When we visited Kuldhara, another haunted place in Rajasthan, we were greeted with eeriness, sinister and mysterious silence with no other soul there except a ticket collector and a freakish old beggar. This seclusion made Kuldhara even more uncanny. But Bhangarh was a different story altogether.
Read Also: The Ghost Town of Kuldhara
The parking area was already full of cars and tourist buses with hardly any space for more. The road leading to the main gate from the parking area was lined with numerous stalls selling mineral water, cold drinks and all the packaged goods which was invariably strewn all over the premises near the fort gates, after consumption. In fact this area is similar to any other popular tourist spot.
The Fort Ruins
The place was crowded as a village fair. There were all types of tourists, local, outstation and many foreigners with their guides in attendance. Surprisingly there were huge number of locals too, their colorful and vibrant Rajasthani gear making them stand out.
After waiting for like ages, we somehow managed to take pics, devoid of people, to capture the supposedly eeriness of this infamous Fort.
The Pathway leading to the main Fort
Nothing creepy till now? Wait. Here comes the creepiest part in Bhangarh for us. Monkeys. As soon as we reach the main gate of the fort we are greeted by a swarm of monkeys of all sizes. They come near people in search of food and try to snatch whatever seems edible to them. My kiddo just refused to walk lest some monkey attack her, so she had to be carried around. The real fort is at a distance from the car park and there is a lot of walking and climbing to do, thus carrying a preschooler around took a toll on us and hampered our excitement further.
Temple with the Fort in the background
The fort area is beautiful and mystical no doubt with a certain eeriness in the air. There are intricately carved temples on the right hand side as soon as you enter the gates. The temples are in use till date and actually give much needed tranquility to the place.
Temple at the Entrance
The ruins of the palaces sure do look spooky. The area that was once a market place is now just ruins, telling a tale of the then prosperous era. As we crossed the market place we came to an open expanse of land with the complete expanse of the fort ruins in sight and it definitely looked daunting. The Fort is well-preserved and clean in-spite of attracting hoards of tourists.
The Eerie Ruins
We chanced upon a local who told us the tale about a black magician who fell in love with princess Ratnavati of Bhangarh. He used sinister ways to win over her but the princess got air of this and turned the trick on him causing his death. Before dying he cursed Bhangarh and since then it remains inhabited.
According to one more legend, the fort was built only after a local saint gave permission to King Madho Singh to do so with the condition that the shadow of the fort should not fall on the saint’s home. However the next generations did not pay heed to this and the saint cursed the place.
The stories took effect and the place started becoming more mysterious and creepy to us now. In fact we were in two minds: to forsake going further or else take a risk, go ahead and explore the place with our kiddo in tow. But then came a huge surprise, religious chants and temples bells suddenly filled the haunting atmosphere, drowning the eeriness of the place. It now resembled a popular temple premises. Turned out, it being navratri there was a pooja and havan going on there and this explained the huge crowd especially the locals. It was rather amusing that our visit of this fort turned mystical and not mysterious.
We didn’t stay back after sunset so we don’t really know what transpires here after dark. However if you are the adventurer, thrill seeking sort Bhangarh is a must visit for you. At your cost that is! Whereas for the subdued traveller, the ruins of the bygone era each speaking a tale of its own, definitely make it a worthwhile visit.
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Hope you find this piece on Bhangarh of use to you. Do let us know about your visit to Bhangarh or in case I am missing something, please contact us or comment below and I will update this blog soon. Your comments and/or feedback are welcome.