We all love a good ghost story and in the filmy style, trading stories surrounding a bonfire while camping in the mountains are enough to give you the chills down the spine. With a country possessing a history as vast and ancient as the one of the oldest civilizations of the world, India is bound to have a fair share of ghosts and haunted places of its own!
We all love to explore haunted places or are inexplicably drawn towards the unknown and feeding this human curiosity is the famous Bhangarh fort. Considered to be one of the most haunted places of India, this historic ruin of a once wonderful palace still is a beauty to behold with. With accounts from the locals and a few visitors claiming to have felt eeriness in the evening winds or felt a presence around them as the sun sets, there’s plenty to unearth here! That said, the fort is still a prime example of Indian architecture.
History of Bhangarh Fort
As the name suggests, Bhangarh fort is situated in Bhangarh village in Rajasthan’s Alwar district. A quick check on the Bhangarh Travel Guide will give you the technical details about its latitude and longitude, weather, temperature and about the hotspots of the area. What it will fail to highlight is the presence of the Aravali hills that act as a guard to the Bhangarh fort. A lesser known fact is that Bhangarh itself is a prehistoric site with several temples, mosques and havelis that are the crowns of Rajasthan royalty.
Being a prehistoric site, the town of Bhangarh is an archeological site and is under the protection of Archeological Survey of India (ASI) and the same has a board placed at the borders of Bhangarh, stating that staying in the borders of the town before sunrise and after sunset is strictly prohibited.
The Beauty Known as Bhangarh Fort
A historical site in itself, the Bhangarh fort was built in the 17th century by Man Singh I who was a general in Akbar’s troops. The once flourishing town and fort suddenly became desolate and that left many people wondering, giving way to ghost stories and legends we read about these days. However, before we proceed to the stories, here are a few Things to know about Bhangarh Fort if you are actually planning a visit there. Firstly, the best time to visit the ruins is during winter when you can enjoy the trek uphill without gasping much. Secondly, do not go to the fort seeking just a brush with the paranormal, for Bhangarh and the fort is also beautiful and should be aesthetically viewed as well.
The trip to Bhangarh fort is beautiful too, with the greenery around and the Aravali hills looming up front. Another interesting thing is the fort is in close proximity to Sariska National Park which is a popular tiger reserve of India. Structurally, the fort is said to be inspired by the medieval Shahjahanabad city with massive wooden gates at the four sides and the sides of the precinct carved with ornate small temples and waterfalls to aid air flow, thereby keeping the space cool.
What catches attention is the fact that unlike a typical Rajput fort, the Bhangarh fort is not built atop a hill, rather, the three green hills act as a barrier behind the fort. Once you enter the fort premises, you will be greeted by a vast expanse of ruins that lead up to a really old banyan tree – said to be over 300 years old. The fort itself has suffered less damage and once you are over the magnificence of the old tree, you will be greeted by the sheer beauty of the fort.
It is highly recommended that you climb the fort and reach the top because that is the experience you will cherish forever. With the three mountains acting as the backdrop, you can see the entire city spread out before your eyes. This feeling is something else and cannot be explained – only felt. Once you are amazed by this view, take a trip to the largest temple of the fort, the Gopinath temple. Though the place is void of any idols, the architecture is a prime example of the exuberance and brilliance of the era gone by.
The Ghost Stories – Legend of the Fort
India is a land of mysticism and paranormal stories. At every turn you come face to face with something ancient and mysterious. Bhangarh with its royalty, setting in Rajasthan and a prehistoric presence is no exception to this. While you can hear all about the roaming spirits of the restless or impure souls from the locals or from tourists who claim to have felt a presence, all these stories have their roots at two of the legends that surround the fort and its ruins.
The first legend is that within the fort walls lived a sadhu named Guru Balu Nath and his permission to build the fort was sought first by Man Singh I and that while the sadhu did give the king permission, he also laid a condition that under no circumstance should the fort create a shadow over his house and if that happens then the city will perish. The king swore on this but his descendants failed to keep the oath and as a result of the broken oath, the curse befell Bhangarh.
The second and more popular legend is that Princess Ratnavati who was a very beautiful woman, caught the attention of tantrik Singhia, a well versed magician, who practiced dark arts. He tried to win her over but she kept refusing him. He then resorted to using magic on her by hiding a love potion in her perfume. But, the princess came to know of this and she poured the entire bottle over a huge boulder which crushed the tantric. Before breathing his last, the tantric placed a curse on town which led to its destruction.
A Walk Down Spine Chilling Nostalgia
Rajasthan is one of the few places in India where the rich and royal heritage of India can be witnessed in all its grandeur. Even a ruined fort like Bhangarh has many stories to tell, both historic and mystic. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, you must take a trip to Bhangarh for its sheer beauty and expanse and to soak in the culture and tradition of the bygone days. And if you let your imagination run a bit wild, then you might be able to hear fleeting melodies of court music playing even! Come on! The intention here is not to scare you!