Anu Brahma of SBBJ attracted by stories of Bhangarh Fort, near Jaipur, being haunted, visits it to check out whether the spooky tales have any merit.
On the National Holiday for Guru Nanak Jayanti, we wanted an exciting and adventurous day off during our training session.As employees of State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, our Head office is at Jaipur. Our second home is now here and we have explored Jaipur fully. We decided to visit Bhangarh Fort, two hours from the main city of Jaipur, bordering Sariska National Park in Alwar District of Rajasthan. It is said that it is forbidden to visit Bhangarh Fort from sunset till sunrise. Local lore says that the dark hours of the night belong to the realms of the spirit world. The current village of Bhangarh has carefully avoided the old habitation with its history of ill-fated curses.
There were many local tourists who had come, several school students and young adults, perhaps compelled by tales of ghosts. The fort has more than half a dozen temples inside, that included a Ganesh mandir, Hanuman mandir, Gopinath mandir, Someshwar mandir, Keshav Rai mandir and a Devi mandir. There was also a Mosque in the precinct. We were surprised that stories of ghosts predominate where there are so many holy shrines.
We climbed to the top of the dilapidated terrace of the royal palace, built in the 17th century by Man Singh 1. From here, one can view the vast expanse of the fort. Life has seemingly stood still here, caught in a moment of time. I narrated the story of Bhanghar to my colleagues. People say there was a beautiful princess called Ratnavati who lived at the palace. A ‘tantrik’ tried to possess her through black magic. The Princess came to know about his dark intentions, and the magic rebounded on to the tantrik, who was destroyed by his own black magic. While taking his last breath he cursed the entire kingdom to death.
It is said that the place is haunted by the wandering spirit of the tantrik who is still waiting for the princess to return. Others speak in hushed tones of the princess who is forever trapped by the tantrik’s dying curse.
Like other visitors here, we left the place before sunset. There are questions which still bother me. Is Bhangarh really haunted? Is it possible to get trapped in a moment of time? Are ghosts real? Why are we drawn to tales like these? Are there ever answers to questions like these?
Photo Credit: Anu Brahma