There are a few trips in life that gives as much of adrenalin rush as a trip to Bhangarh. Perhaps, considered to be the most haunted place in the world, Bhangarh lay shrouded in the realms of mystery, stories about supernatural experiences and a chill in spines which runs through an Archaeological Survey of India’s Notification that forbids any entry beyond sunset!
First things first, Bhangarh is an ancient township in the district of Alwar, Rajasthan. Located on the tip of Sariska Reserve, it houses fort, palace, market and temples – all protected by three layers of fortifications. Albeit this arrangement could not prevent it from being bereft of life. Any life, since centuries. It was founded by Bhagwant Das – a Kachwaha ruler – in the 16th century and later turned as a capital by Madho Singh, a Diwan in the court of Mughal emperor Akbar. Incidentally, the entire township has been deserted since ages.
The sight of barren dry mountains of the mild winter March month under the backdrop of the stretched banyan trees greeted us. Our adulations at the Hanuman temple right at the entrance – a protector of faith and against evil spirits gave us much sought relief. Frankly, even before we had begun we were overwhelmed by the surroundings and realization of the fact that we were about to confront what we had heard in stories. We started in the lost courtyard of the ‘Jauhri bazaar’ (Market for Jewelery) and the ‘Nachni Ki Haveli’ (Courtesan’s palace) that was deprived of any action, and so, since Centuries. Only the weathered stoned structure of market or the Bazaar could sustain the time (or the curse!). Several theories propound its present state – all of them intertwined in the superstition. The curse by a saint resulting from his orders forbidding shadows of the township’s structure beyond his house, spell of black magic that backfired on a wizard vying for princess Ratnavati or the famine of the 18th century that led to massive migration – being some of the popular associated stories.
At the end of the courtyard, the impressive gateways lead to the largely ruined fort and the two major temples – Somveshvara, being the more prominent. The beautiful stepwell and the thick canopy of the palm trees around the temple contrasted the dry mountains above and were a delight to the senses. A well-maintained garden in its front leads to Gopinath temple. Interestingly, this temple does not have an idol in its sanctum sanctorum but has marvellous carvings on its wall and the roof. A small chatri (standalone construction)that exists on the top of the mountain overlooks the fort and is sure to catch your attention. As we looked ahead, we realized that the Fort is a three storeyed structure that was originally supposed to consist of seven floors. Majority of the extant structure stands amidst the broken rubble and is more of ruins than a fort. Each floor has several rooms, some in better conditions than the others. Few rooms also had evidences of occult practices. Stones having fallen from the walls had turned into rubles and occupied the floor. After spending close to two hours in the precincts of the site, we finally passed by the same gate to leave the complex.
On our walk back to the parking lot, we kept on contemplating whether the mysterious stories surrounding the supernatural experiences at Bhangarh held true. There is indeed an eerie charm about the whole place, which continues to be shrouded in mystery and myth. Personally, I did not observe any of the out of the ordinary experiences. The entire setting of Bhangarh – the scant habitation, ruined structures and its silent stories – is indeed beautiful, but what contributes to its charm is that it is hauntingly beautiful.
How to reach Bhangarh: Jaipur is situated around 85 KMs away and would take around 1hr 45 minutes to reach. The roads are great for a majority of stretch except some 5KMs of road leading to the Fort itself. Delhi is situated around 285 KMs and it can be covered as a day trip. You can reach around 1KM from the site through Bus. Enjoy walking beyond that. There is ASI approved open parking available on the road which would cost ₹30 for cars.
₹20 for the Indian nationals using cashless mode. ₹25 otherwise for Indian nationals. Some concession is applicable for the SAARC/BIMSTEC nationals. The tickets can also be booked online at the ASI website here (select Jaipur)- which is highly recommended on a weekend/holiday to avoid queues.
Hardly any, to be frank. You won’t find snacks or water around. Please make sure that you stack good quantity of snacks and water along.
The site is generally safe. However, there are no security guards inside the precincts of the fort.
Fitness Levels required: Low to Moderate
Differently abled: Unfortunately, the site is not suitable for the differently abled. The stone laid path and steep unkept stairs can rue the experience. To explore the place, you have to navigate the rubble which may not be possible along the wheelchairs.
If we take away the eerie stories away, family outing can actually be fun. There is a well-kept garden and a nice little shady area. The landscape can attract children.
Have you been to Bhangarh or any other haunted place? How was your experience. Looking forward to your comments below !