Is this most haunted place in India ? – Bhangarh, Rajasthan.


Just Google for ‘the most haunted places in India’ and Bhangarh features on almost all the pages and lists that pop-up. There are all sorts of stories on the net about ghostly encounters, visitors who disappeared and other paranormal activity at Bhangarh.

Bhangarh had been on our list of places to see from quite some time. Since it is a couple of hours drive from Jaipur, we had reserved the place for a quick weekend trip before the onset of summer. Finally the trip happened on the 12th of Jan 2012.

There are two routes to Bhangarh, the longer, but better route is to go to Dausa and take the turn-off towards Bhangarh. The shorter route goes through Gopalgarh but the roads are not great. The route we took was Jaipur >> Bhangarh >> Dausa >> Jaipur.

As far as the history of the fort is concerned : “The town was established in 1573 during the rule of Bhagwant Das as the residence of his second son Madho Singh, the younger brother of Emperor Akbar’s general, Man Singh I. Madho Singh participated in many campaigns with his father and brother. The next ruler of Bhangarh was his son Chhatr Singh, after whose death in 1630 Bhangarh slowly declined. When the Mughal Empire became weaker after the death of Aurangzeb, Jai Singh II attached Bhangarh to his state by force in 1720. After this Bhangarh diminished in population, and since the famine of 1783 the town has remained uninhabited.”

But more interesting are the legends about why this place was abandoned…

One story goes that the King found this location ideal for building a fort and township. With hills on one side providing a natural defense, a fort built here would have a vantage point over the plains below. There was a small river and fresh water springs in the hills ensuring adequate water throughout the year. While surveying the place, the King happened to come across a Baba Balanath who had his ashram below the hills. The King sought the Baba’s blessings before establishing the fort and palaces on the hills.

The Baba just had one condition, to be left undisturbed and allowed to continue his way of life. He asked the King to proceed with building the fort, but warned him that if the shadow of his fort or palace fell on his ashram, the city would be destroyed. All was ok for a long time till the descendants of the King chose to ignore the condition and raised the height of the palace such that the shadow fell on the ashram. This set off a series of events which led to the city being abandoned and the fort fell into ruins…

The other story is that of the Princess of Bhangarh, Ratnavati…

“Said to be the jewel of Rajasthan, Ratnavati on her eighteenth birthday began to get offers of marriage from other regions. In the area lived a tantrik, a magician well versed in the occult, named Singhia, who was in love with the princess but knew that the match was impossible. When one day Singhia saw the princess’s maid in the market, he used his black magic on the oil she was purchasing so that upon touching it the princess would surrender herself and run to him.

The princess, however, seeing the tantric enchanting the oil, foiled his plan by pouring it on the ground. As the oil struck the ground it turned into a boulder, which crushed Singhia. Dying, the magician cursed the palace with the death of all who dwelt in it. The next year there was a battle between Bhangarh and Ajabgarh in which Princess Ratnavati perished.”After the battle, the city was abandoned and fell into ruins…”

We started from Jaipur at around 10am, stopped for a quick breakfast and drove through the old city to proceed towards Bhangarh. Will let the pictures do the talking from hereon.

A few kilometers from Jaipur, we came across this small fort-castle on a hillock. As we have been discovering during our drives around Rajasthan, the state is dotted with castles and forts of all sizes and shapes. And yes, there are a few on sale too !

The route passes through the Jamwa-Ramgarh sanctuary…

The ‘shortest’ route suggested by G’maps may not be the best route. Some parts of the road turned out to be nothing by a muddy track for a few kilometers…

As we got closer to Bhangarh, thoughts wandered towards the legends we had had read about the place; could the story about Baba Balanath be true ? Did Singhia, the Tantrik ever live in Bhangarh ?…

We parked the Xing outside the fort entrance and walked up towards the entrance…

The first sight that greets you are the ruined walls of what would have once been a thriving town…

What remains of the palace looks down from the hillside…

There seems to be some truth to the legend that other than the temples, the roofs of all other buildings would collapse…

The palace was once a seven storeyed structure…

One of the ruined temples inside the fort…

A watch tower looks down from high above the hills…

Ruins of the bazaar area..

Slowly, nature is reclaiming the fort…

The palace and the royal enclosures…

The Shiva temple on the banks of a small stream…


Bhangarh, as seen from the palace area…

This small stream could have been the primary source of water for the fort and the town below…

Some stately buildings…

Another temple…

A chattri outside the fort walls…

After a few hours at the fort, we decided to head back towards Jaipur. Drove through Ajabgarh and onwards to Dausa.

It was late evening by the time we reached Jaipur…

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