Built by Man Singh I for his Grandson Madho Singh I in the 17th century, the Bhangarh Fort in Rajasthan looks just like any other historical forts in India, left with only ruins and artefacts. But as the story slowly reveals itself, it changes gear from being a pleasant holiday destination to a dark eerie tale.
Regarded as one of the scariest, haunted places in India - the infamous Bhangarh fort in Rajasthan attracts curious visitors who come to this place with a prime motive to unravel the mysteries that it beholds. But have they deciphered it? The answer is No and hopefully, it changes soon! "Hopefully".
Having written about temples in my previous post , I was feeling strong and pumped to take up the challenge against the Haunted Bhangarh fort. And I should say the excitement really did take me through the initial stage but then I was struck hard by the findings I came across on the way.
Image Courtesy: A Frequent Traveller/flickr.com
Bhangarh Fort Haunted Stories
As the legend has it, there are two stories that people believe to be the reason for the Bhangarh fort to be the way it is perceived right now.
The Sage Story
Remember the Family story at the start, the one which gave to building Bhangarh Kila - the Sages story starts from there. The Grandson Madho Singh I apparently wanted to build on the Bhangarh fort and thereby asked the permission of a Sadhu Baba Balak Nath who lived within the fort area. The Sage granted permission for building on the fort but it came with a catch. If the shadow of the fort fell on the house of the Sadhu, then it would result in the destruction of the fort town.
Wouldn't the prince have the right to do what he wants and completely ignore the Sage? No, those days the emperors in India very much respected the words of Sages and strictly abided by what they said. And so, the fort was built within the limits as warned by the Sage.
But the story didn't end there. What, did you expect a happy ending out of a haunted destination? The plot actually took a turn there. The Ambitious successor of Madho Singh whose name is not known, started building on the fort vertically and as bad luck has it, the shadow of the fort did fall on the Sage's house and as warned the fort town soon fell apart. The prophecy thus remains!
The Princess story
The second version is even more interesting. A black witched magician in the name of N.K. Sinha fell in love with Ratnavati, the princess of Bhangarh and in a pursuit to attain her, he purposefully replaced her ittar (scent) with a love potion that would make things easier for the wizard. But since it's an Indian legend, it follows a dramatic Indian plot. The princess sees right through the trick and throws away the love potion offered to her on a boulder, nearby. The boulder, in turn, came rolling and crushed him. Just before seconds from dying the black magician cursed that Bhangarh would be destroyed soon and no one will ever live on the premises.
Call it coincidence or the power of the wizard's curse, Bhangarh gets invaded by the Mughals subsequently and an estimated 10,000 people who lived in the town disappeared without a trace. Even the princess was killed and her spirit is said to be abducted by the wizard.
Haunted experience at Bhangarh fort
Following these old legends, Bhangarh fort is now haunted and is called 'The House of Ghosts' or 'Bhoot Bangala' by the locals. The tourists who have visited this place seem to hear someone crying in the night followed by the sound of the bangles and a stench smell. This is one of the many eerie experiences. There are plenty others that would make you go pale. Also, how much ever you bribe the officials, you cannot visit Bhangarh after sunset or before sunrise for that matter. A notice warning about this is put at the entrance by none other than 'Archaeological Survey of India'. Now, that is even scarier.
But how can an entire town just vanish without a trace? To get a closer look at what really happened, we dig a little deeper. One of the reasons for the once prosperous town of Bhangarh to be just plain ruins without any habitats is said to be the war between Ajabgrah and Bhangarh. Both the towns completely destroyed each other and couldn't stand the severe Chalisa famine that followed. Thus, leaving Bhangarh empty! Although the story doesn't have considerable evidence, it might be the only clue to reveal the true mystery behind Bhangarh fort.
How to reach Bhangarh?
Before jumping on how to reach Bhangarh, please keep in mind the place opens only after sunrise and shuts its doors after 6.pm.
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Jaipur is the closest well-known city next to Bhangarh fort. Driving through NH21 from Jaipur would be the finest options to go with. The distance between Jaipur and Bhangarh fort is only 88 Kilomtres (Approximately) and it hardly takes 2 hours to reach the fort.
Delhi is the closest metropolitan city to Bhangarh fort. From Delhi, you can choose either of the three modes of transport: Train, Road or Air. The best option is to travel by road. The distance between Delhi and Bhangarh fort is just 278 Kilometres (approximately) and it roughly takes 5 hours. Also, you could use the car to visit the nearby places. The second best option is to use a train. The train is by far the cheapest among the three but since Bhangarh is not connected to Delhi through rails you have to get down at Alwar and then hail a taxi. If you're okay with spending the extra money and saving time, then you can use Air to reach Bhangarh by getting down at Jaipur and then hopping onto a bus or a train.
The distance between Mumbai and Bhangarh is 1,240 Kilometres (approximately) and the quickest way to reach Bhangarh fort is by Air. Of course, there are trains that connect Mumbai with Jaipur but it takes an estimated 20 hours to reach the Pink city.
So what is Bhangarh without the spooky stories?
Located near the Sariska reserve in the Aravalli range of hills in Alwar district, Bhangarh is a refreshingly beautiful sight in the day. As you enter the main gate, you get to see a trail of Hindu temples with the likes of Hanuman Temple, Gopinath Temple, Someshwar Temple, Keshav Rai Temple, Mangla Devi Temple, Ganesh Temple and Navin Temple. Looking at the temples, you cannot help but wonder if the place that is so much connected to demons and witch possessions, is truly haunted.
Image Courtesy: Commons.wikimedia
During a bright day with all the scary stories removed, Bhangarh fort is a beautiful place to visit to understand the historical touch that this place has. From poignant temples to zoological reserves to beautiful palaces, there are plenty of attractions that are near Bhangarh fort. Do explore them once you’re done questioning the Bhangarh fort mystery.
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