The Dark Secrets of the Most Haunted Place in India
The history of the fort has so much seeped in folktales, blood, black magic, and sorcery that it is no wonder that it has been officially declared the most haunted place in India
The Most Haunted Place in India
Whenever we talk about haunted places, ghost sightings, or even supernatural stuff that cannot be explained satisfactorily, a modified interpretation of Pareto’s principle can be applied.
“80% of the falsehood comes from 20% of the truth”.
Any ‘haunted’ place over the years becomes so much intermeshed within a potpourri of legends, bloodshed, myths, and rumors that by the time scientific minds start applying logic and decide to find the ‘ring’ of truth, their efforts turn out to be futile and they are unable to find out where the truth starts and the falsehood ends.
And The Bhangarh Fort in India is no exception to this rule. The history of the fort has so much seeped in folktales, blood, black magic, and sorcery that it is no wonder that it has been officially declared the most haunted place in India with the Archaeological Survey of India forced to post a sign(in Hindi) that “Entering the borders of Bhangarh before sunrise and after sunset is strictly prohibited.”
Yes, while the tales weaved about ghostly sightings within the fort might sound outlandish but the fact that the stories are so pervasive that special permission needs to be taken from the government to enter the premises after sunset or before sunrise tells us there might be some element of truth after all.
Locals believe that whoever has entered the fort in the dark has never been found again and this fear was the very reason that the entire fort city was abandoned and the citizens established a whole new city nearby (Bhangarh), far away from the ghosts said to be inhabiting the fort premises.
The Story of Bhangarh Fort
Situated on the border of Sariska Tiger Reserve in the Aravalli range, the Bhangarh Fort was built by Bhagwant Das, then ruler of Amber. Later it was made the capital by Madho Singh, a minister in the court of the Mughal emperor Akbar. After Madho Singh, his son, Chhatr Singh became the ruler, and after his death in 1630, the fortunes of Bhangarh slowly declined.
By 1720, the town had considerably diminished in size, and after the famine of 1783, it was completely abandoned by the locals who moved on to other greener pastures nearly. And soon Bhangarh, a once prosperous town with people and businesses, degenerated into a ghost town, left with the ruins of endless rows of shops, rest houses, and palaces of the rich.
“But that is not the reason,” says Mahendra Singh, a guide in the fort.” The downfall of Bhangarh has to do with its princess Ratnavati. She was very beautiful, and when she turned 18, marriage proposals started pouring from nearby regions.”
Unfortunately, her mesmerizing beauty also caught the attention of a sorcerer who was notorious for the use of his black magic skills for nefarious purposes. The sorcerer decided to cast a spell on her and make her his wife.
The Sorcerer Curses the Town
It was the town’s marketplace where the ill-fated events unfolded. The princess’s maid had come to buy perfume for Ratnavati. After roaming through the shops, she came to the sorcerer’s shop where a brightly colored sweet-scented perfume caught her attention. The sorcerer could not believe his luck as he cast a spell on the perfume and gave it to the maid for the princess.
It is not certain how Ratnavati found out about the evil intentions of the sorcerer. But she came blazing to the marketplace, her beautiful eyes red with fury as she threw the bottle in front of the sorcerer’s shop. The bottle broke and its vile contents morphed into a boulder, trampling the sorcerer under its weight.
The dying sorcerer cursed the princess and her family to death and within moments the entire city collapsed with all its inhabitants including the princess getting killed. Every trace of inhabitation was erased from Bhangarh as the sorcerer’s curse destroyed everything – Ratnavati and her smile, the prosperity, the people, and the vibrant community.
It is said that the princess Ratnavati still roams in the palace premises waiting to be reborn again so that the curse of the evil magician can be lifted from Bhangarh’s destiny and the city can be prosperous again.
Yes, the story is unproven and no more than a legend, but the fact cannot be disputed that, whenever you enter within the premises of Bhangarh, a sort of restlessness and anxiety overcomes you and you get the feeling that somebody is watching you and following you around. Despite the popularity of the place, people seldom hang around for long within the fort even in the daytime.
Is There Any Truth?
While paranormal experts have accepted that there is an unusually high degree of paranormal activity within the fort, scientists have rubbished these claims repeatedly citing that they are either rumors or stories spurn by over-imaginative locals over the years.
That said, people have heard noises that could not be accounted for. A lot of people have disappeared with the fort premises forcing the Archaeological Survey of India to ban entry into the fort after sunset and there have also been instances when the smell of a sweet perfume could be sniffed in the air with bangles breaking and strange music emerging from the fort. People have even reported being slapped by ghosts and followed by unseen forces.
Is the Bhangarh Fort really haunted? Nobody can say. But these are the very tales and legends that bring thousands of tourists to its premises every year to experience the supernatural and the paranormal.
The nearest town to Bhangarh fort is Alwar which is 90 km away from the fort. Alwar can be easily reached by cab, train, and air.
• By Air - The nearest airport is Delhi which is 159 km from Delhi.
• By Train - Regular train services are available connecting Alwar to the rest of India
• By Road - It takes around 5 hours to reach Bhangarh fort from Delhi via Alwar.
The best time to visit Bhangarh is from October to March. Summers are very hot in Rajasthan and Monsoons are very messy due to Rains. The winters are the best time to Visit Rajasthan state and the trip to Bhangarh can be combined with other places like Jaipur, Jodhpur, and Jaisalmer worth visiting in the fabulous state.
Bhangarh fort entry fees
• For Foreigner: Rs. 200
• For Indian: Rs.25
• Video Camera fees: Rs.200
• Bhangarh fort timings: all days of the week 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
Take Care and Be Sensible
Being the intrepid traveler, I have had my share of desolate and spooky places across India. While I always try to soak in the fabulous stories of any place but generally avoid ghost stories with a pinch of salt. But the visit to Bhangarh was different.
For the first time, I felt a kind of uneasiness within me and felt as if unseen eyes are watching me. There are certain rooms inside the fort that give you the creeps even during the daytime. So if getting spooked up is not your cup of tea, stay out of this place for your own good. Here are some tips one should follow while visiting this place.
• Entry to the Bhangarh fort is legally prohibited before sunrise and after sunset. Do not show foolish bravado. Stay safe.
• Wear comfortable shoes and clothes and drink plenty of water
• Certain areas of the fort have a lot of bats. Avoid those areas
• Stick to a group. Do not wander alone .
• Lastly, you are not going to get a gold medal by exploring all the rooms of the fort. If some room makes you uncomfortable, get out immediately.
About the author
I am an executive who likes spending time reading and writing about almost everything under the sun.I love writing within the cusp of relationships, history, and creativity where boundaries are blurred, and possibilities are immense.