Bhangarh Ruins, Rajasthan

Internet has some of the scariest experiences of people visiting Bhangarh. It coaxed Indian Paranormal Society to do an investigation and number of Indian news channels have some sort of masala coverage of the place in their portfolio. ASI has put up a placard warning people not be present in the town after sunset and before sunrise and entire Internet has taken it for the presence of ghosts in this town.

So what is the incentive to visit a place that has the ignominy of being called the worst haunted place of India? Well, for one the paradise it is! If I were to pick the most beautiful drive I have ever undertaken during my life time, it would be my trip to Bhangarh. The moment we crossed the city limits of Alwar and started traversing the landscape of Sariska forest reserve, a strange sense of being one with nature dawned upon me. We crossed Thana Gazi and thereafter every moment is deeply etched into my mind. Those numerous villages, not more than few hundred people but having houses hundreds of years old, the most beautiful portion of Aravallis, rendered lush green by monsoon and untouched by the gross consumables that define our development index. If anybody wants to know why I rate Aravallis next only to Himalayas, they need to undertake this remarkable drive after monsoon.

Bhangarh's legends are many and if I were to believe any of it, I will of the tragic romance; the romantic I am. Few of them are even covered by Wikipedia: There are such vivid images of Rani Ratnavati in my mind that I must confess I saw Bhangarh through the lens of her proclaimed beauty.

What you get on Internet about Bhangarh are stories, nothing verifiable as word of truth apart from few dates and few historical names, hence the mysterious aura about the place! What you do see in the ruins is the tragic ending this town definitely had in an abnormal way. It appears the double storey buildings of this town were sliced as knife through butter. Staircases lead to nowhere, Chatris with just the round base remaining, plan saying there ought to be taller structures, etc. Something bad did happen here for everyone to abandon the town. Temples of the town though were spared and each of them are in a very good shape. Perhaps if you do encounter a ghost, these would be the best place to take shelter.

Ajabgarh and Bhangarh are twin towns really and you cross Ajabgarh first coming from Alwar and from where the magic starts. A lone fort perched on the hill and a magnificent lake below it. There is a prohibitively costly resort in Ajabgarh and hence we bypassed it. The haunted part begins at Ajabgarh with its Havelis, obviously belonging to the higher ups of the court but now locked and desolate.

So, did we feel anything paranormal? Perhaps we did, my friend from this trip more than I, but baffling nevertheless. I have since found scientific explanations to all my travails and attributed everything else to coincidence. Why? Well, I need to visit Bhangarh again! ... Princess Ratnavati calls :)

Enjoy the pictures! :) ... and suggested song while you are viewing the album:

Bhangarh ruins, Alwar District, Rajasthan

And travelers, now, within that valley,
Through the red-litten windows see
Vast forms, that move fantastically
To a discordant melody,
While, like a ghastly rapid river,
Through the pale door
A hideous throng rush out forever
And laugh - but smile no more

- by Edgar Allan Poe

Ajabgarh ramparts, Alwar District, Rajasthan

Ajabgarh and Bhangarh are twin towns next to each other. Coming from Alwar one crosses Ajabgarh first. One of the stories tells about a fierce battle between both the towns that ended with destruction and abandonment of Bhangarh!

Ajabgarh fort, cutely perched on a desolate hill, Alwar District

Ajabgarh fort is situated on a desolate hill, right after crossing the main town. There is a picturesque lake on the left of the road.

Prehistoric site at Bhangarh entrance, Alwar District

Excavation at Bhangarh led to the discovery of a prehistoric site confirming that unlike present times, this place was populated for long.

Supposed samadhi of Guru Balu Nath, Bhangarh, Alwar District

Supposed samadhi (tomb) of Guru Balu Nath, the one who (as per legend) cursed the town of Bhangarh!

Ruins of Bhangarh city, Alwar District

Scattered ruins of Bhangarh city.

Stairway to heaven? Bhangarh, Alwar District

Stairway to heaven? Upper storeys of many buildings are completely missing and the stairways end abruptly, leading to nowhere!

One of the town lanes, Bhangarh, Alwar District

One of the town lanes, with what looks like residential quarters on both sides of the lane.

Buildings that were once double storey! Bhangarh, Alwar District

Yes, all the buildings you see were once double storey! The ground level itself is half buried, however, why the ground level remains is a mystery.

Jauhari Bazaar Market Lane, Bhangarh, Alwar District

Jauhari Bazaar market lane (Jauhari translates to Jeweler in English). There were shops on both the sides of the lane.

Jauhari Bazaar Lane ruins, Bhangarh, Alwar District

Jauhari Bazaar Lane ruins. This lane is one of the most beautiful and magical compared to other ruined lanes of Bhangarh town.

Another stretch of Jauhari Bazaar Lane, Bhangarh, Alwar District

Another stretch of Jauhari Bazaar lane.

Intact Someshvara temple, Bhangarh, Alwar District

Someshvara temple. All the ancient temples in the town are intact and in excellent condition. The temples are in use even today.

Intact Gopinath Temple, Bhangarh, Alwar District

Intact Gopinath temple of Bhangarh.

The palace which was once 7 storey high, Bhangarh, Alwar District

The palace was once 7 storey high and remained till the destruction and abandonment of Bhangarh.

Palace ruins, Bhangarh, Alwar District

Bhangarh palace ruins.

Approach to Bhangarh palace, Alwar District

Approach to the palace. Like fort palaces elsewhere in Rajasthan, this too is on a steep incline.

View of Bhangarh town from top of the palace, Alwar District

View of Bhangarh town from top of the palace.

Now just the ground level of the palace remains, Bhangarh, Alwar District

Now just the ground level of the palace remains.

Stairway to the now ruined second level, Bhangarh Palace, Alwar District

Stairway to the now ruined second level of the palace.

Ruined rooms of the Bhangarh palace, Alwar District

Ruined rooms of the palace. Surprisingly, ceiling and everything above is gone. A clinical destruction I would say.

The gateway to Bhangarh palace, Alwar District

The gateway to the palace with its missing Chatris (elevated, dome-shaped pavilions). The bases could also be of shallow domes which were predominant in Hindu architecture in that time period. Setting of the bases do indicate that it could be the case. Anyway, whatever it was, it was apparently knifed from its place.

Another view of the ruined rooms, Bhangarh Palace, Alwar District

Another view of the ruined rooms of the palace.

Grand Hall ruins, Bhangarh Palace, Alwar District

Grand Hall of the second level now in ruins. The destruction here is very unlike nature's, it appears almost deliberate.

Ruins of Grand Hall, Second Level, Bhangarh Palace, Alwar District

Another view of the ruins of the Grand Hall at second level of the palace.

Grand Hall ruins from another angle, Bhangarh Palace, Alwar District

Grand Hall ruins from another angle.

Once a beautiful beam, adorning a door, Bhangarh Palace, Alwar District

Once a beautiful beam, adorning some door of the palace.

Haunted Modon-ki-haveli! Bhangarh, Alwar District

Modon ki haveli (Modon's villa). Modon was a nobleman. This place does have an eeriness to it and as per the locals, is highly haunted!

Ruins of the township, Bhangarh, Alwar District

Ruins of the township.

Tomb outside the ramparts of Bhangarh, Alwar District

This tomb is just outside the ramparts of Bhangarh and it very well can be the samadhi of Guru Balu Nath as claimed by some of the local inhabitants. What is conclusive is its amazing location!

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