Visit to Kuldhara – The haunted Village of Jaisalmer

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Photo of Kuldhara Abandoned Village, Jiyai, Rajasthan, India by Pranab Pal @paltravelogue

We visited Jaisalmer , the Golden City of Rajasthan in February 2019. During our stay at Mystic Jaisalmer Hotel, on the 3rd day of our Jaisalmer trip, we visited Kuldhara visit.

The hotel arranged a very good tour on an additional cost.

Mystic Jaisalmer Hotel where we stayed

Photo of Visit to Kuldhara – The haunted Village of Jaisalmer by Pranab Pal @paltravelogue

On the way to Kuldhara haunted village

Photo of Visit to Kuldhara – The haunted Village of Jaisalmer by Pranab Pal @paltravelogue

Our Jeep .... on the way to Kuldhara

Photo of Visit to Kuldhara – The haunted Village of Jaisalmer by Pranab Pal @paltravelogue

There were another five foreign tourists from the same hotel who joined us for this trip. We all were accommodated in a covered jeep and started at about 2:20 pm.

On the way we had a passing views of Gypsy Village shown by our driver .

On the way to Kuldhara

Photo of Visit to Kuldhara – The haunted Village of Jaisalmer by Pranab Pal @paltravelogue

Myself standing ...... on the way to Kuldhara

Photo of Visit to Kuldhara – The haunted Village of Jaisalmer by Pranab Pal @paltravelogue

Jaisalmer to the haunted village Kuldhara:

Kuldhara is around 20 – 25 km from the main city of Jaisalmer and it takes around 30 - 40 minutes by car to reach here. It is located at a slight diversion from the Jaisalmer – Sam – Dhanana Road which leads to the deserts. The over-all road condition is good, not so bad as we expected , but sandy on both sides of the road.

The narrow road stretch that leads to Kuldhara is also well maintained for most part of it. There are signboards for guidance. In short, you can conveniently reach Kuldhara even if you are driving on your own. As you take the sandy path that leads to it, you will observe the limited occurrence of human existence. The vegetation is negligible – the timid straying herd of animals who have possibly feasted on the remaining bits.

Stories behind the haunted village of Kuldhara:

The proposal of Salim Singh

As per history, Kuldhara was once upon a time a very prosperous and happy settlement of Paliwal Brahmins. But one day it so happened that a Dewan of the king of Jaisalmer, whose name was Salim Singh, set his eye on the daughter of the village chief . He fell in love with her instantly and said that the he would come to the village the next day and get married to her. He asked the villagers to make all preparations for the wedding and left.

This evil Salim Singh was said to be of a huge built and hailed from a caste that villagers considered lower than them[. No one wanted to get their children married to someone from a lower caste, that too to a person who looked like a devil! The Brahmins then decided to abandon the village. In one night, the Brahmins carried this message to the nearby 83 villages as well. The chief of the village knew that if he refuses to give his daughters hand to the evil minister and flees away with only his family, the minister would kill every Paliwal Brahmin in Kuldhara as well as the nearby villages.

Thus, they decided to abandon all the villages in one night , with bitter hearts and left a curse behind as per which no one will be able to settle here ever. No one knew where so many people disappeared. Since that day the village lies abandoned and over the years it has slowly turned into ruins.

Also, it is strongly believed that no one is able to spend one whole night in this haunted village Kuldhara. Be it the fear of the ghosts coming live at night. Or really an encounter with them. For some reason or the other, no one is able to stay here for the whole night.

Wealth protection

Although the story of Salim Singh and Paliwal Brahmins is highly famous, there are other stories of how the village of Kuldhara was abandoned became haunted.

Another popular story says that the king extracted a hefty tax from the Paliwal Brahmins and fearing for their wealth, they decided to flee overnight one fine night .

But they buried their wealth in the village, planning to return some day and take the money with them. However, they never returned due to unknown reasons. and slowly, after having lived their lives as nomads, they passed away, far from their home and their wealth. So, in their afterlives, their spirits returned to their home.

This way, they are living in their home which they loved, but couldn’t live in while they were alive and they are also protecting their wealth as no one could ever settle in that village and no one dares to try to find their wealth.

Scarcity of water

Although the above stories are very popular with the locals, some historians believe that it was the increasing scarcity of water that led to the abandonment of the village and it actually happened slowly, not overnight. As per the logic they put forward, in ancient times, all villages were located near some source of water. So was Kuldhara. There was a river that flowed from near the village. But over the due course of years, it slowly started drying up and the ground water levels also receded significantly. This forced the inhabitants to look for alternate establishment for themselves.

Since it was not possible for them to survive without a proper source of water near their home. Thus, the haunted village Kuldhara is not really haunted, rather a place that slowly turned into an abandoned village due to lack of water.

Earthquake

Some scientists who did some research on the haunted village of Kuldhara put forward a theory. According to them it was a massive earthquake that forced the villagers to move elsewhere. They say that the way the houses collapsed and the roofs went off all the homes strongly suggest that it was the act of a massive earthquake and nothing else. The destruction caused by the earthquake was heavy and hence it was easier for the villagers to take shelter elsewhere and start a new life than to reconstruct everything from the scratch.

The rational minds who don’t believe in the stories of ghosts or supernatural forces can better relate to the theories put forward by scientists and historians.

The entry gate of Kuldhara hunted village

Photo of Visit to Kuldhara – The haunted Village of Jaisalmer by Pranab Pal @paltravelogue

Gate to enter the Kuldhara

Photo of Visit to Kuldhara – The haunted Village of Jaisalmer by Pranab Pal @paltravelogue

The haunted village Kuldhara from our eyes :

Being the winter month of February , the afternoon was not so harsh when we reached the wrecked gates of the Kuldhara village at about 3:00pm . Kuldhara stood barren and an eerie silence existed all around.

About Kuldhara Village

Photo of Visit to Kuldhara – The haunted Village of Jaisalmer by Pranab Pal @paltravelogue

Walking road towards the Kuldhara haunted village

Photo of Visit to Kuldhara – The haunted Village of Jaisalmer by Pranab Pal @paltravelogue

Route information on various places inside Kuldhara village

Photo of Visit to Kuldhara – The haunted Village of Jaisalmer by Pranab Pal @paltravelogue

There were many other tourists around at this point of time. And it seems like a lot of renovation work was going on in the village which was really interesting.

Abandon broken houses at Kuldhara village

Photo of Visit to Kuldhara – The haunted Village of Jaisalmer by Pranab Pal @paltravelogue

Temple at a long distance

Photo of Visit to Kuldhara – The haunted Village of Jaisalmer by Pranab Pal @paltravelogue

Completely destroyed Kuldhara haunted village with wide street

Photo of Visit to Kuldhara – The haunted Village of Jaisalmer by Pranab Pal @paltravelogue

Stairs leading to the terrace of a reconstructed house

Photo of Visit to Kuldhara – The haunted Village of Jaisalmer by Pranab Pal @paltravelogue

When you look at Kuldhara now, you see the well planned settlements, the drainage systems, the abandoned carts, the wide streets, temples, the vacant homes, the stairs leading to the terrace, and your imagination takes you to the time when the village must have flourished with people and activities .

Way to the temple at Kuldhara village

Photo of Visit to Kuldhara – The haunted Village of Jaisalmer by Pranab Pal @paltravelogue

An portion of the temple

Photo of Visit to Kuldhara – The haunted Village of Jaisalmer by Pranab Pal @paltravelogue

A major portion of the old temple from the time of the Paliwal Brahmins had been renovated. A nice set of stairs lead to the temple premises. And from inside the temple, one can see far and wide across the ruins of the once prosperous village of Kuldhara. Did we feel anything out of the place, any supernatural vibes? Not really. If anything, I felt sad looking at the ruins of so many houses all around.

All that is known is that the villagers cursed when they left – that no one would ever be able to inhabit in Kuldhara again.

That curse seemed real since the village was infertile and uninhabited till date.

Ruins of various homes at Kuldhara village

Photo of Visit to Kuldhara – The haunted Village of Jaisalmer by Pranab Pal @paltravelogue

A pavilion at ruined Kuldhara village

Photo of Visit to Kuldhara – The haunted Village of Jaisalmer by Pranab Pal @paltravelogue

Abandoned Step-well at ruined Kuldhara village

Photo of Visit to Kuldhara – The haunted Village of Jaisalmer by Pranab Pal @paltravelogue

The houses are almost in the same state as they were left at the rear by the villagers. On climbing up the steps of such houses, you can see the entire stretch of the village. Tracks and brick houses, at equal distances from each other, are neatly spread out. There exists a little temple in the middle of the cluster of houses. Its walls have small holes that once held tiny little lamps.

Reconstructed house at Kuldhara

Photo of Visit to Kuldhara – The haunted Village of Jaisalmer by Pranab Pal @paltravelogue

A portion of reconstructed house at Kuldhara village

Photo of Visit to Kuldhara – The haunted Village of Jaisalmer by Pranab Pal @paltravelogue

Reconstructed road inside Kuldhara village

Photo of Visit to Kuldhara – The haunted Village of Jaisalmer by Pranab Pal @paltravelogue

Women from nearby village showing the skill

Photo of Visit to Kuldhara – The haunted Village of Jaisalmer by Pranab Pal @paltravelogue

A portion of the reconstructed house at Kuldhara

Photo of Visit to Kuldhara – The haunted Village of Jaisalmer by Pranab Pal @paltravelogue

I couldn’t help but think how once life must have thrived here, children were born and they played around, laughed and ran in those courtyards. The people went through their usual daily chores, happy and contained. How, once a prosperous thriving village comes to this state of ruins and how again from the ruins something else is reconstructed by ASI(Archeological Survey of India) .

Now, it is a protected heritage under ASI (Archeological Survey of India).

Kuldhara haunted village

Photo of Visit to Kuldhara – The haunted Village of Jaisalmer by Pranab Pal @paltravelogue

Things to know for visiting the haunted village Kuldhara

- The village of Kuldhara is located around 20 -25km from the main city of Jaisalmer.

- It can be visited either on a day trip from Jaisalmer town along with Amar Sagar Jain Temple and Bada Bagh. Alternatively, it can also be visited while on way to the sand dunes or desert camps.

- The village is in complete ruins, with none of the houses having a roof. So, be prepared for a hot encounter with the sun. Carry goggles and sunscreens.

- Carry plenty of drinking water bottles with you as there is no shop around selling water bottles. Same applies for snacks and food as well.There are some mobile carts around, but they run out of supply if the crowd is more.

- Wear comfortable shoes. There is lot of walking involved. And the terrains are not all smooth, particularly when you walk around the ruins.

- The stairs in the temple are pretty high. It might be difficult for someone with knee pain or old age to climb.

- Around 2 hours will be enough to go to Kuldhara and explore around.

- You will see guides with tourist groups in Kuldhara, showing the visitors around, you can hire one on the spot as per your liking.

- Be careful when on the terrace of the temple. One portion of the terrace is collapsed.

- You can selfdrive or hire a car from Jaisalmer for visiting the haunted village of Kuldhara.

If you decided to drive yourself, keep an eye for the sign board that indicated a left turn from the main road towards Kuldhara and another one inside which is near the main gates.

- There is an entry ticket applicable per person which can be purchased at the main entrance door.

This is definitely a good historical spot for a one time visit from Jaisalmer. Whether haunted or not, it is a beautiful place with many stories from the past buried inside it.

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