Ajabgarh, India: Bhangarh Fort
History, facts, legends and travel guide about the Bhangarh Fort, one of India's most haunted destinations
History (part 1)
Located in Alwar district, in the Rajasthan region, Bhangarh Fort is considered to be the most haunted place in all of India. The fort was built in 1573 by Bhagawant Das, a member of the Kachwaha caste and Amber's ruler (Raja) and Akbar's general. It was for his second son Madho Singh that he built the fort, on the slopes of a steep hill overlooking Ajabgarh, a village with a cruel destiny (continuation below).
Planning a visit to Bhangarh Fort
Jaipur International Airport and Jaipur Railway Station provide a link to Bhangarh, before traveling by bus, car or taxi. However, it is the city of Dausa, located 55 km northeast of Jaipur, which has the nearest station of Bangharh (28.5 km). If you come by train from Delhi, you can take the Delhi-Jaipur, stop at Dausa, spend at least a day visiting the temples and historical monuments of the city, before continuing your journey to Bangharh Fort.
- Bhangarh Fort is located 88 km east of Jaipur
- Bhangarh Fort is located 235 km southwest of Delhi
- Bhangarh Fort is located 235 km northeast of Mumbai
History (part 2)
Before reaching the fort of Bhangarh, it is necessary to go through the village, completely abandoned since 1783, which is a perfect entry for a cultural visit focused on dark legends. The ancient village of Ajabgarh, which adjoins the fort, has long been totally deserted by its population, both because of the dark legend surrounding the place, but also because an interminable drought added livelihood difficulties to the psychological distress of the villagers. It is only since the early 1980s that irrigation efforts have allowed people to gradually return to live in Ajabgarh, a few hundred meters from the old abandoned village. Cautious, the new inhabitants redouble precautions, especially after cremations, guarding their dead for several days to avoid any spell by evil spirits or the ghosts of sorcerers. The local population is also benefiting from the tourist revival sparked by strong interest in Bhangarh Fort, as majestic as it is disturbing, with its history fraught with secrets and mysterious deaths.
Bhangarh Fort Facts
What really happened at Bhangarh fort?
Majestic ruins, Hindu temples and Muslim tomb
A forbidden place during the night
Despite the many mysteries surrounding the place, it is likely that the fate of Bhangarh Fort and the inhabitants of Ajabgarh was finally sealed when the strategic and military interest of the fortress diminished. Desperate in the face of the devastating effects of a persistent drought, the survivors eventually convinced themselves to find better fortune elsewhere.
On the edge of the main entrance to Bhangarh Fort, whose walls are intact, are a collection of Hindu temples. Inside the fort, whose architecture and ruins have kept all their splendor, you have to go through the dancers' palace and the marketplace before finally reaching the royal palace. A Muslim tomb on the edge of the fort bears witness to the princely family that has long ruled the region.
The entrance to Bhangarh is forbidden between dusk and dawn, which is the minimum for the most haunted place in India!
Bhangarh Fort in popular culture and legends
Many legends run on Bhangarh, but the most famous is certainly that of the sorcerer Singhia (Sinhai) and Princess Ratnavati. The princess, Madho Singh's granddaughter, was endowed with a legendary beauty, which earned her the nickname of Rajasthan's jewel and a list of endless contenders. The sorcerer, a tantric priest with a strong fondness for black magic, was madly in love with the young princess. The servant of Ratnavati having a habit of going down to the village to supply her mistress with perfume, he had the idea of stealing and replacing one of the bottles with a love philter. But rather than magically attracting the charms of the princess, she was made aware of his scheme and was seized with an uncontrollable anger. Grabbing the enchanted bottle, she broke it violently on a large rock.
The domino effect that followed determined the terrible fate of the whole region. The rock detached from its base under the effect of the broken magic, rolled on the magician who was crushed under its weight. Before he died, Singhia threw a curse on Bhangarh and its people. Soon, he said, the fort and surrounding areas would be destroyed and its population stricken from the map, just as no one, from that moment and for all eternity, who would decide to live in the fort or the village, will ever be able to be reincarnated. Indeed, following a local war the following year, his curse was verified. Since then, even though life has slowly resumed, the inhabitants of the place remain convinced that ghosts haunt the old village and the fort, and that any attempt to build a house in the condemned area inevitably results in its collapse.
The second legend states that a hermit (or Sadhu) lived on the same hill where the fort was to be built. He posed only one condition to his blessing: No shadow should ever cover his humble refuge from the fort. But at the same time that Princess Ratnavati lived in Bhangarh (second half of the 18th century), the fort was completed by architectural additions that broke the initial promise, which was the source of a famine that saw the desertification of the fort and the village of Ajabgarh, which were totally emptied by 1783.
Planning a travel to the Rajasthan
The Rajasthan is one of the most visited regions of India. Renowned for its rich history, gems, palaces, elephants, tiger reserves and camel safari tours in the desert from the city of Jaisalmer. Two of its two most famous cities are Jaipur and Udaipur. When planning to visit northern India including Rajasthan among your destinations, plan to spend at least 5 days there to enjoy it. Capital of Rajasthan, the city of Jaipur is still very famous for its jewelers and carpet dealers. With its 3 million inhabitants, the city is usually the point of arrival (by train or plane) of the visitors.
393 km southwest of Jaipur, the city of Udaipur is certainly one of the must-see places to visit in Rajasthan. Among the many jewels of the region, the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur is one of the most magical luxury hotels in the world. Located in the white marble walls of an ancient palace built in the 18th century in the middle of Lake Pichola, spending at least one night in this hotel is the dream of many lovers and honeymooners.
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