It had been a long time when I heard for the first time about Bhangarh Fort on a news channel showing it as the most haunted place of India and Asia as well, even considered as one of the most haunted place in top four of the world.
It was a weekend and a day before got a call from my brother, lets tour somewhere bro and my first reply was lets move towards Sariska National Park, till that time Bhangarh was not in the cards. Our research for a good hotel lead us to Bhangarh fort as it is just 40Km away from Sariska National Park.
Saturday morning and we left from Gurgaon towards Sariska National Park, 160 Km Long drive. We reached there in less than 3 hrs, thank god didn’t faced any traffic jam. Our rooms were booked at Alwar Bagh, we just needed an hour to refresh ourselves and move forward towards the Bhangarh Fort, the most haunted place of India.
Stories about Bhangarh has always been fresh in my mind, as somehow every week this channel or that website comes with this hot topic, and same was told by our hotel manager when we were leaving for Bhangarh fort “Try to come out from fort by 4.30 pm as its not safe to be there after sunset”, this was the first warning of our trip.
We were on the road , road was nice atleast for some 20 Km, then came our first halt at Thana Gaji at SBI ATM, and here we got our second warning from somebody, who was standing there at atm to whom we confirmed about the route towards Bhangarh fort, but he came with some extra words as well
“Leave the place by 5 pm, we live here and we know there is some thing odd in that fort many people dont believe and pay the price , you guys are with girls as mine and my brothers wife were also with us, I wont suggest you to stay there till sunset leave early from there” Infact that guy allowed us to take out money from ATM on his turn and said again
” I want you to reach Bhangarh fort early and leave early as well ” this was the Second Warning.
We were back on road and now the road was very bumpy, needed repair infact there were signs of work in progress but they were just signs no progress was visible. Trust me, when we left hotel we were told it is 40 Km from there but we had already travelled that much but hardly any signs of Bhangarh Fort.
Atlast after some 2 Hrs and atleast a 60-70 Km drive we had reached that point where we were stopped at a beat for the parking ticket, atlast we were at Bhangarh Fort.
We were ready to feel the spookyness of the fort, we all were very excited as we were heading towards the Bhangarh fort – The most haunted place of India.
Entry to Bhangarh is legally prohibited between sunset and sunrise. It’s the only ‘Legally Haunted’ location recognized by the Indian Government. A signboard posted by ASI (Archaeological Survey of India), which is a Government of India organization, specifies the instructions. While the board is written in Hindi, the instructions on it roughly translate into: “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”
First instance which sent Shivers
My first click was of a lady who was offering water to the visitors, I know it would be very unjust to say this but she had the most scary eyes I have ever seen, may be it was the mood of mine which made me to think like that but she had something in her eyes the way she looked towards me and said “Pani Peelo” ( Have water).
Folklores of Rani Ratnavati and Bhangarh Fort
There have been many stories about Bhangarh fort, in which one includes that every night ghost of Rani Ratnawati comes into the Johri Market ( Jewellers Market ) and do shopping , we were standing in that market only, I couldnt believe my eyes the way it was constructed. A street of shops, which some centuries ago was very much alive was now standing like a barren land ruined because of some curse of a Tantrik ( Shaman ) or the time has taken a revenge with it.
There are indeed signs of destruction everywhere in the shopping centre with shops subdivided into distinct well-demarcated separate compartments, within them the steps leading upward, may be they had their work area or shops on the ground floor and steps lead them on the first floor to their residential area. But it seems that the destructive force unleashed its fury in a systematic manner, amputating the lane roughly at the same level. There is nothing to suggest gradual or natural crumbling down. All the shops, even the whole market has been downsized at same level, every wall being undone at same level.
Gopinath Temple at Bhangarh Fort
Bhangarh Fort was in front of us , but before reaching the main fort complex we stopped for while at this Majestic and richly carved beautifull Gopinath temple, which dates back to the same time when Bhangarh fort was built. Bhangarh fort complex and city comprise four temples , one at every direction.
It was a surprise for me, I was watching for first time a temple without any idol in the temple.
Why God left his abode?
If speaking mythologically I heard from many people, “God leaves that place where they are not worshipped for a long time”, but in that case I think they talk about soul not the physical presence of God’s idol. But here that Idol was missing, though if I go with my logic or what I think this must have been the case of some thieves who must have robbed this idol and sold it in market. Many shops of Idol making came in the way when we were coming to Bhangarh Fort.
I had studied sociology during my IAS preparation days, and still some sociology is left in the back of mind which comes forward at sometimes, specially when I am at a place like this.
What I believe after visiting Bhangarh fort, here also same hierarchy was maintained which is most commonly found in back era excavated sites. Residential areas of people are situated according to their stature on the caste system, same was following here, spatial organisation of the city on the basis of hierarchy of castes — Shudras on the periphery, the Vaishyas along the market lane, the Kshatriyas, and the Brahmins around the temples and the royal household in the palace at a higher elevation. All this enviable organisation has disappeared, but still some ruines have left, as I could see a Big house like structure or can say a ruin of haveli of Brahmin very near or almost adjacent to the Gopinath temple.
First View of The Protagonist “Bhangarh Fort”
This is the view from outside the main fort area, we were still standing outside the fort in the Bhangarh city only. Once this fort was 7 storey fort from which only one and half only is left now.
Here comes another Folklore If we go by the stories his height was also the main reason behind the falling of this structure. In the first half of 17th century Madho singh of Amber built his capital here with the sanction of an ascetic Baba Balanath, who meditated there, but not without his dire prescription: “He had warned the king, The moment the shadows of your palaces touch me, your fort would die his own death. The city shall be no more ” In ignorance, Ajab Singh, one of the later descendants in the dynasty, raised the palace to such a height that the shadow reached the forbidden place. Hence the devastation.
But for me this story was in the backdrop, i could just feel the grand structure in front of me and how it would have looked, don’t know its shadow reached to sitting area of Baba Golaknath , but I am sure it would have over shadowed the mountain behind it which is very much visible now.
Steep inclined way was the hurdle we had to face now to reach the fort area, it had taken away our breath, may be one of the reason why people feel choking on reaching to this fort.
Standing from here we could see the whole city and the four temple’s on almost each direction of the city, I think every temple was built on the entry gates to the city from the different directions.
Never Ending folk lores of Bhangarh Fort
We had met one guard who has been appointed by ASI there , he told me that these stairs leads to the rooms where Rani Ratnawati lived.
Now he told us the second legend about the Bhangarh Fort.
A battle of love, a one sided love, one side was a Tantrik ( Shaman ) by the name Singha Serva and other was obviously Rani Ratnawati. He was charmed by her beauty and wanted her, but seeing the impossibility of the situation he tried to web her by different means. One day he saw her buying oil for her hairs, he with his black magic did something to that oil that as soon as she would apply it in her hairs she would get hypnotized and then he could control her. But that bottle of oil fell on one stone, and that stone killed Singha Serva.
Sensing his imminent death, concentrating all his powers, he spat his dying curse: “I die! But thou too, thou Ratnavati shall not live here anymore. Neither thou, nor thine kin, nor these walls of the city. None shall see the morning sun!”.
From that day onwards, this place has been cursed by the last lines of the Singha Serva. In a single night in some hours this city saw its last sun going down.
I talked to him more about these stories, and that guard was very confident about his words. He was very humble in saying “If you believe then it is there, and if you dont believe then it is not”, in his words its our state of mind which brings that feeling of Haunting things happening here. But some how his other line was contradictory of his own words , when he accepted that he has seen Ghosts here, he said, a light would come in front suddenly and in some seconds it is gone, that light would not have any source you will try to find somebody with a torch in his hand but there wont be any body.
Something Logical and other than a folklore came out finally….
But there was one point which I found the most meaning full if the other two were true, according to him its just an exaggeration that every night this thing happens, no it is not, once in a year or two you will feel. He very nicely explained, if I stay there and come here at night for 10 days there is a possibility i wont see anything, and may be if I come next year or so on a random visit there is a possibility that ghost would come and give you a look or may be he will slap to give the proof of his presence.
And atlast his last words for me were, its 4.15 pm now, go to shiva temple complete your visit and leave this city, this is what he says to anybody who is visiting there at this time of the day.
Standing on top of the wall of Bhangarh Fort, one side it leads towards the shiva temple, but only as a dead end we had to come down to reach to the Shiva temple.
In the picture one can see on top of the mountain, Chatri ( Sitting Place ) of Tantrik Singha sevra, from there he used to watch Rani Ratnawati coming to the windows of the Fort, there only he took his last breath and gave his curse to the city. Nobody treks to that place to see the Chatri, though his grave has been built there, as the guard told me sometimes in night specially on full moon night one can see a human figure there in the form of light, it is the Ghost of that Tantrik Singha Sevra.
The main lane coming from the market or main gate ends at the Shiva temple with a water tank fed with a perennial stream of water that originates in the magical snake-infested sandal woods, that is what the country folk still affirm. Atleast this temple has shivling in it, people come there in the evening before sunset to worship , as we witnessed them coming there.
Don’t know from where that water was coming into those ponds, not sure about origination from snake infested sandal woods, but I can say one things I do witnessed one snake in the pond, tried to click him, but i think he was camera shy gave me a long run but didn’t came in focus.
We had reached to the last point of the Bhangarh fort visit, sun was coming down, it was 4.45 pm when we left from there.
Talking about sunset , from a Photographers point of view , I can guarantee one thing one would find the best sunset view sitting here at Bhangarh Fort, Sun going down in the middle of two mountains making a V shape like in childhood every body has drawn a drawing in which sun is always half seen between the joint of two mountains , but as i can assume here sunset timings would atleast be near to 6.20 Pm and nobody is allowed to be inside the Bhangarh fort premises after 6 Pm, according to the Indian Government guidelines.
Moral of the Story
Atlast we had visited Bhangarh Fort which was long overdue and was sitting unchecked in the bucket list of mine, I can say one thing , I dont know how true the legends of Ghost are but one thing is for sure I didnt met a single person who had denied about the stories of Ghosts and the legends of Baba Golaknath and Singha Sevra, every body to whom we met or asked about Bhangarh fort, very confidently they said “Yes, it is haunted leave that place before sunset “.
One shop keeper to whom I met after coming out, he said, our ancestors have told this story and they had seen it, very confidently he told me “Come on Full Moon night, Deepawali Night, Holi or on any main festival of India, it is sure you would see something, Market of Ghost do take place on these days “, but at this thing also he said same thing , I have not seen it I don’t have guts to go their in night but our forefathers told us and warned us not to go their at night.
I would repeat my line , it is the state of mind of a person which brings that haunting feeling to this place on entering here , like it happened with me when I saw that water offering lady.
But I would recommend everybody to visit this fort, atleast once, choice of time depends on their guts, for me this fort is a marvel of Achitecture, I was not their to witness any ghost I just wanted to see it like any other fort of India, and I am very happy and willing to go again to visit it. Yes I am going to visit there again, as many nearby places were left untouched like the fort of Ajabgarh.