For the longest time, I had been obsessed with all things horror. Three years back in 2015, when I read about Malcha Mahal (scroll down to read the back story), it instantly piqued my curiosity. So I gave into the whims of my giddy teenaged mind and set out to explore the so-called haunted Malcha Mahal.
Haunted or not, the road that led to Malcha Mahal was definitely eerie, with no trace of any human other than my friends and I.
As we sauntered down the road, we found ourselves walking under a thick canopy of branches that looked like long, tenacious fingers. Soon, we reached our destination and were greeted by a rusty sign board with a grim warning for trespassers which read,
CAUTIOUS OF HOUND DOGS
PROCLAMATION: INTRUDERS SHALL BE GUNDOWN"
Maybe it was the dreadful warning, the spine-chilling atmosphere or simply the fact that it was getting dark, but none of us dared to stay there any longer let alone enter the gate.
So, what's the story behind Malcha Mahal?
Sometime in the 70's, Princess Wilayat Mahal, great-granddaughter of the last Nawab of Awadh came to Delhi with her two children, fifteen ferocious dogs and seven servants. They lived in New Delhi Railway Station's first class waiting room for about eight years, after which the government offered them the Malcha Mahal, an erstwhile hunting lodge with no doors and electricity which they proposed to refurbish.
The renovation never happened, the family didn't mingle with outsiders and called ordinariness a sin. As years went by, Princess Wilayat Mahal grew despondent and finally succumbed to depression and took her own life by swallowing crushed diamonds in the year 1993. Her children, Princess Sakina and Prince Ali Raza continued to live in isolation with their dogs and servants. Gradually, with passage of time, the number of dogs and servants diminished.
Sometime around the year 2014, Princess Sakina passed away and later in November 2017, Prince Ali Raza was found dead with his belongings ransacked.
So, what is so haunted about Malcha Mahal?
Murders, suicides, imagination; this is the recipe for concocting a haunted story. Debating about the existence of ghosts and spirits is almost pointless because believers will reply with an affirmative while the skeptics would shake their heads in disbelief. But the story of Malcha Mahal is a unique one which brings the cynics and the believers together.
The story of Malcha Mahal and its now deceased residents might not be a jumpscare, in-your-face horror story, but certainly an intriguing tale that creeps up on you and makes you think about their strange way of living.
How did they live without any electricity? Where did they get their food from? What did they do to pass their time? What was the reason behind the death of the Princess' children? How did they take a bath? How did they pay their servants?
These are some of the many questions I keep asking myself.