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.
Another story about the city mentions the Princess of Bhangarh, Ratnavati. She was considered to be the jewel of Rajasthan. As soon as she came of age she started receiving marriage proposals from princes of different provinces. There also lived a Tantrik, an expert in black magic, who fell in love with the princess. He name was Singhia. Knowing he couldn’t gain the princess’s favor nor marry her, he devised a plan to get her attracted to him. When he saw the princess’s maid buying oil for the princess, he enchanted the oil so that the princess would surrender herself to him. But the princess saw him doing it and poured the oil on the ground. As the oil touched the ground, a boulder emerged from the place and crushed Singhia. In his dying breath he cursed the palace and all those who lived in it with death. There was a battle a year later between Bhangarh and Ajabgarh in which the princess died. There are tales of ghosts still haunting the place. And some even say that that is the reason for the government barring all entry from the city. The locals believe that the princess has reincarnated and the fort and the empire of Bhangarh still waits for her to return and put an end to the curse.
Bhangarh’s principal palace
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.
A word of caution
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.
Ruins of the 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.
A ruined palace within the fort (Source)
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 obtaining 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 cosmetic she 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.
Ruins of Bhangarh town (Source)
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 being 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.
Bhangarh Fort at night
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.