Bhangarh beyond its Ghosts

Most of us have heard about Bhangarh fort, the most haunted place in India, according to many. The ghost stories were further propagated when ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) put up a noticeboard banning anyone to stay within the fort premises after sunset till sunrise. The locals and tour guides in Jaipur were willingly sharing fabricated stories about the legends of the Bhangarh Fort. There are multiple versions of the stories. One of the stories talks about the curse of a guru who forbade the prince to build highrises such that the shadow of the palace touches his ashram. As per the myth, since the shadow of the palace touched his ashram, the roof fell down and could never be reconstructed. Another version goes that a princess turned down a tantrik’s proposal of marriage and the tantrik cursed the palace with its downfall before his death. 

The Journey

The journey to Bhangarh from Jaipur takes 1.5 hours and is less than 65 km. However, there are some issues with Google maps navigation in this area. We had to reroute and spend some time trying to figure out the proper navigation and finally asked the locals for the route. Bhangarh lies close to the Jaipur-Delhi highway and the visit to the fort requires hardly a couple of hours.

The Local Tales

We were curious about the stories that the locals had to share detailing the apparitions of the legendary haunted fort. We were disappointed in their response. Unlike Jaipur guides, people staying near Bhangarh do not believe in the ghostly legends. The stories of a famine in 1783 destroying the village and the palace however prevail and seem historically accurate too.

Bhangarh fort was built by Madho Singh, younger brother of Man Singh, in the 1570s. It maintained it’s pomp and grandeur for the next 200 years but was destroyed after the famine and gradually the town became uninhabited. The fort has multiple temples and the town is separated from the adjacent areas by ramparts with five gates.

Right after entering the area, we were greeted by a spooky old banyan tree. The tree has grown right into the wall creating a creepy structure. 

The dilapidated palace reminded me of the ruins of Pompeii. The abandoned, semi-demolished rooms and corridors give out a feeling of nostalgia and lingering history. The place was not at all crowded or touristy, giving us enough time to explore at our own pace.

Unlike the much-famed forts of Rajasthan, Bhangarh has a sense of authenticity. We encountered hundreds of monkeys playing peacefully. The fort is not maintained for the tourists and we had our share of bat-filled rooms and stinky corridors. The climb to the top can be exhausting since the stairs are not too easy to climb. Hence the rooftop climb is not recommended for the elderly or kids.

However, if you manage to get to the roof you will have a nice view of the surroundings and will perhaps stop believing in the ghostly spooky stories around this place. If you like visiting offbeat destinations, want to be a traveler and not a tourist, include Bhangarh in your next Rajasthan itinerary. You will not be disappointed, I promise!

About Anandita Dasgupta

Anandita is a techie, an adventurer and a closet romantic. She eats to survive and backpacks around the world for nourishment. Her practical worldview is reflected in her crisp and relatable writing style. She writes on a wide range of topics, but her core areas of interest are travel, career and culture!

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Anandita Dasgupta

Anandita is a techie, an adventurer and a closet romantic. She eats to survive and backpacks around the world for nourishment. Her practical worldview is reflected in her crisp and relatable writing style. She writes on a wide range of topics, but her core areas of interest are travel, career and culture!

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