Barren lands, thorny bushes, cactus's, abandoned forts - That's what Rajasthan is for most people. But, there is much more to Rajasthan. This time TD thought of witnessing other facets of Rajasthan, the wild, the religious and the paranormal side. And there is no better way to experience the diversity of Rajasthan than through a road trip.
Hence, TD carefully shortlisted the destinations for the second road trip to Rajasthan. The starting point was Gurugram, traversing through the eastern part of Rajasthan the plan was to cover Bhangarh, Sawai Madhopur (Ranthambore) and Kota. We also planned for a one day hault at Jaipur before we reached back Gurugram covering an overall distance of about 1000 kms.
Day 1: We started from home around 5 am and drove non-stop for about 170 kms and stopped for breakfast at Hotel Highway King on NH48. There are two routes to Bhangarh, we chose the one which involved more travel on national highways and less on state highways. Took a left turn after crossing Manoharpur on NH148 and another left on State highway 55 to reach Bhangarh by 10:30 am. The NH148 road was badly broken and the 30 kms ride was quite unpleasant.
This 16th century town is in the lap of Aravali range surrounded three sides by its rocky mountains on a slope. The fort has seven levels encompassed by three peripheral boundary walls which also includes the town. The town has various historical places some of them are still some what intact such as Gopinath Ji ka mandir, Purohit ki Haveli, Someshwar temple, Kevda garden, Dancers haveli etc. There are also three gufa's (Caves) which are now closed, however its told that they were once used by the Royal family members to traverse to various places with in the town secretly. There are also few dark underground chambers (Tehkhana) in the fort which tourists are not allowed to enter.
The ghostly town came into limelight after the National Geographic Channel covered this place in one of its documentaries mentioning the town as the most haunted place in Asia. The Archaeological Survey of India had once put a board outside the town which said - "Entering borders of Bhangarh before Sunrise and after Sunset is strictly prohibited". This board was removed later on.
We negotiated with a local guide for 200 bucks and he promised to show us some of the interesting places of the ruined town. There are many versions of the legend of Bhangarh describing why and how it was ruined in one night. The guide told us his version of the story. The story goes that there was a soldier named Sinhai who used to perform his duty of a watchman from a distant watch tower (known as Tantric ki Chatri) situated right on the top of the mountain.
It is told that Sinhai was a master of Black magic (Tantric). Sinhai fell in love with the beautiful Princess of Bhangarh named Rani Ratnawati. One day Rani Ratnawati went to the towns market and landed in a shop to buy scent. Sinhai cleverly replaced the scent with a magic potion which when applied would make Rani Ratnawati fall in love with the tantric. However Rani Ratnawati sensed the trickery and threw the potion on a rock. The rock started rolling and crushed the tantric to death. Before dying the tantric cursed the town and said that the town would be destroyed and no one would survive. It is said that soon Mughals attacked and killed all the 10000 people residing in the town including Rani Ratnawati in a single night. People believe that due to the curse of tantric the town turned ghostly and the ghost of tantric and the princess still haunts the place.
The story does send chills down the spine specially when one roams around in the sinister town. However on asking the guide whether the place is really haunted, he candidly told us that it was once but now its no more haunted. Many a times villagers and other tourists have visited the place post sunset and they have not experienced anything paranormal.
We left the place at around 1 pm for our next destination - Sawai Madhopur (Ranthambore), but the spookiness of the place lingered in our minds for quite sometime.