A day in Bhangarh

Rajasthan is famous for its fort towns. Most of the forts are famous for tourism, but some of them are less travelled. In spite of having great architecture with a vista of green hills and valleys these forts are less travelled. Bhangarh is one of them.

Ruins of Bhangarh Fort

Nestled on the terrain of the World’s greatest folding Mountain – The Aravallis, the fort is secluded from the modern civilization. The nearest village, Gola ka Baas, is 1 kilometer away from the fort. We saw a notice board hung on the wall of the ASI office located in the village where it was written, “Visiting this place after Sunset and before Sunrise is strictly prohibited.”

There are few myths with the fort. Googling with the word ‘Bhangarh’, shows the result as the ‘Most Haunted Place of India’. People claim to have heard mysterious whispering noises in that ruined town. Everybody is interested about the spookiness of the fort town.

I visited Bhangarh for a weekend trip from Delhi. We started from Delhi on a Friday afternoon and reached a resort near Silisher Lake, Alwar. Due to a hectic schedule, we dozed a bit. 

Silisher Lake

Next morning, we started for Bhangarh. We crossed Sariska National Park and reached Bhangarh at 1 PM. First we noticed a free-standing pavilion in the middle of the fields on our right before the fort walls showed up. It was the tomb of the tantrik who cursed the Bhangarh Fort. 

Tomb of the Tantrik

The fort was built in 1573 CE by Bhagwant Das, one of the generals of King Akbar. As a general, Bhagwant Das successfully fought the battles in Punjab, Kashmir and Afghanistan for Akbar. The Mughal king awarded Bhagawant a mansab (rank) of 5000 in 1585 and conferred him the title of Amir-ul-Umra. Later Akbar gave him land where Bhangarh was built. Bhagwant Das was a successful administrator. In his regime, the countrymen were happy. But a Tantrik sage Baba Balak Nath appeared in Bhangarh and got attracted by the beauty of Princess Ratnavati, the daughter of King Chattar Singh (Grandson of Bhagwant Das). The Princess was also a practitioner of Occult Science. She could read the mind of the sage and refused him. The sage forced her but was defeated by the spiritual power of the princes but before his death, he cursed the town. It is believed the entire city was destroyed overnight because of the curse but somehow the temples were safe.

Entrance of Bhangarh

Getting The main doorway was so inviting that a traveller won’t stop before going inside. But we stopped and looked at the map, depicted on a plaque before the main entrance. As I saw the map, it was a well defined fortified city consisting of houses, Havelis, markets and temples and at the very end the royal palace. 

Ruined Architectures of Bhangarh

We proceeded towards the fort. The broken stone houses of countrymen brought us to the sixteenth century. 

As we walked more, we saw Gopinath Temple standing on a high platform – like the traditional temples of Nagara style. The temple was not broken. Instead, the architectural beauty of the structure looked like a speaker of the past glory of the fortified city. I took a flight of steps to reach the temple. The door jamb of the temple was intricately carved. In the niches on either side of the door sit an idol of Ganesha and Shiv-Parvati with an inscription. The sanctum was empty.

Gopinath Temple

Next, walking along the stoned way, we say the ‘Naach mahal’ – the dancing haveli. Once upon a time the sound of anklets could be heard from the mansion.

Ruined Structure of Dance Haveli

Walking farther, finally we reached the main palace on the terrain of the hill. As we were climbing the stairs to go on top of the fort, we felt a gush of air coming from the empty corridors. The air was coming from the open window and created some whispering noise that was quite obvious but could cause panic to anybody who travelled alone.

A close View of Royal Palace

The view was really breathtaking from there.

We stayed there for a long time and clicked photographs and selfies. It was almost 3 PM and we had planned to reach Delhi by that night. So we came back.

View from the Balcony of Royal Palace

I did not feel anything spooky but felt melancholy that the place exudes. But I agree, after dusk, it is really tough for anybody to stay inside the fort because the darkness and sound of the air were enough reasons to create an uncanny feeling. Moreover, The fort is adjacent to Sariska National Park. A howl of Hyna or sudden attack by bats can create a high impact on the human mind. But I don’t disagree with the probability of paranormal activity.  

Personally I suggest that travelers should leave the place before dusk sets in. Even it is advised by ASI too. Because a traveller should follow certain discipline. 

Notes:

  1. There is no hotel near Bhangarh. People should stay either in Silisher Lahe Guesthouse or Sariska Guest House or in any hotel in Jaipur.
  2. Availability of personal vehicles is the only way to reach the fort.
  3. Travellers should carry their own drinking water.
  4. No restaurant is available within 5 kilometers.
  5. As suggested by ASI, travelling to the fort is strictly prohibited between dusk to dawn.

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