The Haunted City

Ruins of the fort at Bhangarh

Or at least, that’s the rumor. The medieval city of Bhangarh has lain abandoned since the famine of 1783. Only the myths still flourish. For example, there are at least two curses involved, to explain why the city had to be abandoned.

One tale is of a beautiful princess, Ratnavati, who attracted many suitors. One in particular, Singhia, a magician well versed in the arcane arts, knew that he would never even be allowed to approach her. To overcome this, he enchanted a bottle of fragrant oil, so that when the princess used it, she would come under his sway. There was one hitch. The princess had seen him casting the spell and threw the oil away. The oil, upon touching a stone, caused it to roll toward Singhia, crushing him. As he lay dying he placed a curse upon Bhangarh.

The remains of one of the palaces

The other curse was laid by the Guru Balu Nath, who sanctioned the founding of the town but warned the nobles against losing their humility and displaying too much pride. “If the shadows of your palaces overwhem me, the city will exist no more!” Of course, the nobles couldn’t resist building continually larger and more elaborate palaces, until the Guru’s humble home received no sun. The town was therefore destroyed. It is said that Balu Nath still lies buried there.

The Archaeological Survey of India has posted signs forbidding anyone from being in the area after sunset. Far from fear of ghosts, however, this is because of wild animals (especially since it is on the edge of the Sariska Tiger Reserve) and the lack of artificial lighting. Haunted or not, Bhangarh is a place of unearthly beauty.

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