Mysteries of the most haunted fort of India

Ruins have their own language to narrate mysterious stories. Built in 1573, an abandoned city and its historical ruins resting 83 kms north east of Jaipur, echoes a similar story. Silent disappearances, spooky vibes, deserted vicinity and dilapidated bazaars conjure the eeriness that envelops the Bhangarh Fort and its territory. Sandwiched between Sariska border in Alwar and Jaipur, Bhangarh is a site declared legally haunted by Government of India. Entry before sunrise and after sunset is strictly forbidden into the Fort and a signboard by Archaeological Survey of India warns about the legal consequences if one fails to comply with the instructions. 

The remains of once a scenic kingdom built by Kachwaha ruler of Amber, Raja Bhagwant Singh, for his younger son Madho Singh, are bound to translate historical anecdotes which end with myths and mysteries. One of the nine gems in Akbar’s court, Man Singh 1st of Amber was the elder sibling of Madho Singh. Ruins of Bhangarh boast of a town with rich archaeological importance with its temples, palace and gates flanked by Aravalis. As you enter the main gate, there is a line up of crumbled bazaar, that bilaterally accompanies you till you reach the next gate about a kilometre later. The unique feature of this ruined bazaar and few chambers like that of Dancer’s and Purohit Ji ki Haveli; is that everything has been destructed in an aligned fashion. All the structures have their upper halves perished, while lower ones talk about the original designs with families of harmless monkeys having an adventure ball in the maze of ruins. Just when you are about to enter the next gate, the shadows of hauntingly enormous Banyan trees grips you with a strange vibe. The aerial roots and their magnitude slides in a bizarre air of creepy silence as if someone is invisibly watching you walk in. 

Hanuman Temple, Gopinath Temple, Someshwar Temple, Naveen Temple, Keshav Rai Temple and Mangla Temple indicate the expanse of this township and at the same time, question the mystery that how can ghosts reside here! Gopinath Temple, which is adorned with intricate excavations and idols; strangely has no existence of sanctum sanctorum. Technically, no worshipping happens here since there is no idol placed, unlike the Hanuman Temple which is thronged by local devotees. Near the Someshwar Temple, you will find Kewra or Pandanus trees, a species of screwpine that is extensively used as an essence, Ayurvedic healings and traditional scent after rose. Interestingly, it is usually found in Eastern coastal areas which is contrary to the arid geography of Rajasthan. 

Guarded with 4 gates, Lahori Gate, Ajmeri Gate, Phulbari Gate and Delhi Gate this uncanny city is said to have once bustled with 10,000 people. Right outside the main entrance, the tomb of King Hari Singh is found who is claimed to convert into Islam. The Royal Palace is tucked at the farthest end of the precinct and a certain kind of gloom takes over the serenity here. The bastions and the ramparts have no defined histories alike the main palace which has nothing besides the collapsed leftovers of a seemingly architectural marvel. 

There are several fables associated with this magnificent Fort’s shattering and haunting journey. The most popular story is that of the wizard who had black magic powers, had fallen in love with Ratnavati, the gorgeous princess of Bhangarh. Since the tantrik priest knew that there was no chance of him to get even close to her, he tried to bewitch her with a cosmetic she used regularly. Ratnavati smelled the wizard’s trickery and poured the magic potion on a stone boulder which rolled and crushed the evil eye. Before his last breath, he cursed the city that it will be destroyed and will never refurbish. The following year, a battle was fought between Bhangarh and Ajabgarh in which the entire city was wiped off and Ratnavati died without an heir. Overlooking the Fort at a considerable altitude you can spot a small chhatri ( stone canopy) where he used to sit and practice his science.  

The second legend states that before building this Fort, Bhagwant Singh and Madho Singh took permission from a local ascetic who used to meditate at the highest point there. Guru Balu Nath had allowed the construction on one condition that the shadow of the palace should never touch his meditation seat. Ajab Singh, grandson of Madho Singh did not bother considering this condition and the result of this ignorance devastated the town.     

The doomed Fort got in the limelight in the past decade with media stories and vlogs that highlighted its paranormal activities. Bhangarh has been a site of inquisition because of its haunting energy and intriguing tales that have attracted researchers, photographers, writers, tourists, travellers and filmmakers. There have been spine tingling incidents like groups of boys met an accident when they had planned to stay overnight. Whoever tried solving the mystery and went inside after sunset either disappeared or met a tragic incident. What seems to be a picturesque scenery in daylight, becomes a ghost sanctuary by night. Locals claim of having heard strange sounds of bangles, music, women screaming, crying and dancing. Nobody dares to build a roof in the environs and even if he does, it collapses shortly. 

The first thing that pops up in mind about Rajasthan is heritage, but this site has attracted hordes of tourists for its mysteries and ruined glory.  

When & How to reach:

Apart from Jaipur, the alternate route can be from Delhi via Alwar which is a 300 km drive. To explore a flip side of Rajasthan, nothing like chalking a sojourn with Sariska and Bhangarh. There are long stretches without fuel pumps, so take care of the vehicle fitness. Carry a torch, water and munching options with you because around the Fort around 10 kms, it is rare to find anything, even electricity. You would be flabbergasted by the green terrains and the cloud romance if that sojourn is during monsoon.  

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