How many of us believe in ghosts? Do they actually exist? Can they be felt? Believers will reply in affirmative and non-believers will perish the thought. But everybody would like to take a trip to the den of the ghosts and such was the trip to Bhangarh, considered India’s “most haunted” place.
Although it is a 300-km drive away from Delhi, it may not be a popular tourist destination just yet.
From Delhi, if you are heading towards Bhangarh then after crossing Gurgaon you need to head towards Bhiwadi and then turn to Alwar district in Rajasthan. The road is a nice long drive. From Alwar, you need to cross into the Sariska reserve, and after crossing Ajabgarh, you enter into Bhangarh territory. The lush green grass in the fort and its adjoining area may come as a surprise.
Right next to the main gate, is the Hanuman temple. The sprawling premise has more than half a dozen temples: Hanuman Temple, Gopinath Temple, Someswar Temple, Keshav Rai Temple, Mangla Devi Temple, Ganesh Temple and Naveen Temple and a very strategically positioned Purohitji Ki Haveli.
A young tourist, Babulal, who was in a group of 10, said: “We all have come to see Bhoot Bangla (the fort of the ghosts)! We have heard about this place a lot and hence thought of coming once.”
At the entrance is a Dancers’ Haveli and Jauhari Bazar. All dilapidated now, but locals say paranormal activities are observed in these places at night. Further down the sprawling expanse of the fort is the Gopinath Temple, and on crossing it one arrives at the Royal Palace. It is located at the farthest end of the fort area.
The architecture of the buildings and the fort speaks volumes of the talent and acumen of the people during the rule of Bhagwant Das who established the town in 1573.
There are many myths about the place. It is believed that the entire township was obliterated in a day. But no written evidence has been found till date.
Against the backdrop of the Royal Palace stands the Aravalli Range. Bisram Nath, who works in the Someswar Temple, said at times wild animals come down from the mountain ranges at night. “A few families like ours stay within the premise. We stay near the Ganesh Temple. The biggest problem is that the area does not have electricity.”
Standing on the terrace of the Royal Palace one can view the vast expanse of the fort. It has four gates – Lahori Gate, Ajmeri Gate, Phulbari Gate and Delhi Gate. It seems life has come to a standstill in this area.
Locals say whoever has tried to stay inside after sunset was never found. But since the Archaeological Survey of India has put up a board on the fort gate that prohibits tourists to stay inside the fort area after sunset and before sunrise – so most tourists don’t get a chance to explore and find answer to the question: Is Bhangarh India’s most haunted place?
As part of NDTV Good Times’ series – India’s Most haunted, Rocky and Mayur spent some time in Bhangarh, in fact they spent the night at the fort, here’s how it went for them:
Route from Delhi:
It’s a nearly 300-km drive.
What to keep in mind:
1. Best to travel in a SUV and always carry a spare tyre as there are stretches where for kilometres there are no petrol pumps or habitations.
2. Always carry some dry food as good dhabas and eateries are rare.
3. Carry a torch with you as the fort does not have electricity and even in day time, a torch will help you to see parts of the fort better.