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MYTHS OF BHANGARH FORT WITH CONTEXT TO MYSTERIOUS FORT OF BHANGARH
INTRODUCTION There are many of us who believe in ghosts. Do they actually exist? Can they be felt? If you want to get the answer, make a trip to the most haunted place in India, Bhangarh Fort. It is located in Rajasthan and has attracted many tourists. Bhangarh Fort was built in 17th century by the orders of King Madho Singh. A new village of Bhangarh with a population of 1,306 in 200 households has developed outside the limits of the Fort as there is fear of ghosts haunting the old city. The fort is now well preserved by the government of India.
The reputation of the town of Bhangarh is such that there isn’t any office of Archeological Survey of India though the government rules states that there must be an office of ASI at every historical site. The nearest one is the kilometre away- enough distance between officials and the spooks. The haunted ruins of Bhangarh fort has now become a big tourist place during the Commonwealth Games.The Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC) has included Bhangarh in a tour package especially designed for the games.
Bhangarh Fort is located in the edge of the Sariska Reserve in the Aravalli range of hills in the Alwar district in Rajasthan. The nearest village is Golakha. The fort is situated at the foot of the hills on sloping terrain. The damages of the King’s palace is located on the lower slopes of the hills and the trees surround the pond area and a natural stream falls into the pond within the premises of the place. The fort is located 235 kilometres fromDelhiand the approach to the entrance gate of the fort in the last 2 kilometres stretch of the road is an unpaved road. The fort is 32 kilometres fromThana Ghazi.
As we enter the fort gives us a strange feeling as it is a totally damaged fort city which we call Bhoot Bangla (house of ghosts). There are temples, havelis and palace locates at the main entry of the fort. The temples of Hanuman and Mahadeva are very beautiful and elegant. They are built in the style of cenotaphs rather than temples. The Muslim tomb which is found outside of the fort is reported to be that of one of the sons of King Hari Singh who converted to Islam.
As we enter the forts there is Hanuman Temple with an idol but as we move forward all the temples that we encounter are there without the idol, which many people think as a mystery.
Talking about the title there are many more mysteries related to Bhangarh Fort, the fort which has made people uncomfortable inside it. There are also many myths related to Bhangarh fort which will expose the truth behind it. The first myth is related to Guru Balu Nath and the second one is related to Princess Ratnavati and her lover Singhia.
CHAPTER I- Introduction
Bhangarh fort, located around 220 kilometers from Delhi, is a place named as the most haunted place in India. A city with which there are so many stories and myths related that can easily arouse one’s interest. A fort standing damaged which is much need of reinstatement, stones that were once put together to form walls now fall apart, remains of what were once shops and houses, surrounded by mountains on 3 sides to prevent enemies to enter, huge trees in the campus, a temple at the main gate and a notice outside the main gate by Archeological Survey of India (ASI).
In old times, unlike the other forts in India, it was not only a king’s residence in there but an entire town behind those great walls which are now shattered. A main market area, lined with ruin shops, houses and residences of other common and important people and at the far corner the king’s palace built at some height and overlooking the entire town.
Now what happened here is something that no one knows in certain. There are just two stories related to Bhangarh to be found on web and in the books. Some historians said that Bhangarh was inhabited for centuries even before it was built into a royal city in 1573. It is said that there was a wealthy town with people over 10,000 lived there prosperity. Even now it cannot be denied that the small town once was a beautiful place with well- maintained gardens and temples.
But what happened there which turned the beautiful city into a shattered place is something that no one knows exactly. There are two stories related to it and both are interesting and spooky.
CHAPTER II- The Bhangarh story
Bhangarh, a deserted town with some 1000 dwelling was established in 1573 during the reign of Bhagwant Das. Bhagarh is said to the resident of Madho Singh, the second son of Bhagwant Das. Madho Singh is said to be the younger son of Emperor Akbar’s general, Man Singh I. there are several stories related to the bravery of Madho Singh. He is said to have participated in several campaigns with his father and brother. After Madho Singh, his son Chattar Singhdied in 1630, and it is said that after his death, Bhangarh slowly declined.
With the passage of time, the Mughal Empire declined. After the death of Emperor Aurangzeb, Jai Singh II attached Bhangarh to his state. He conquered the town in 1720. The population of Bhangarh began to diminish after his move by Jai Singh II. In the year 1783, a devastating famine compelled the town dwellers to leave it and go somewhere else. Since that time, this historical town the Bhangarh has remained uninhabited.
CHAPTER III- Myths related to Bhangarh Fort
People have said that before Bhangarh Fort was built, there lived a monk or a Guru named as Balu Nath. He used to live there alone. He was a sanyasi and has given all his worldly pleasures and desires and dedicated his life to God. He was not in the favor of building a town because that would mean a lot of people and disturbance in his concentration towards God. However though, after much persuasion by King Bhagwant Das he agreed on one condition that the shadow of the king’s palace would never touch Balu Nath or his residence or the city will perish. Initially, the palace consisted only3 or 4 floors to honor Balu Nath’s condition.
But later after some years, Balu Nath’s warning was forgotten and one of the later kings, Ajab Singh rebuilt the palace by adding 3 more floors to the existing 3 or 4 floors. But this caused the palace’s shadow to the residence where of Balu Nath lived. This caused the warning to change into a curse and the city slowly declined. But how this all happened is something that no one knows and remains a mystery.
Another version of the story is that he did not actually mean by saying that the shadow of the palace should never touch him. He just said that to keep him away from the entire disturbance that is created by the people but as the time passed the population of the town increased and his warning was forgotten. He was then started to be bothered by the people and in the anger he cursed the city to perish.
People say that the grave of Balu Nath is still there in the fort and he rises every night to haunt the palace.
Second myth is a story of one sided love that changed into passion, tale of Rani Ratnavati whose beauty was unmatchable in the whole of Rajasthan. While some people say that she was the princess of Bhangarh, some also say that she was herself the queen, married to the king.
When the princess turned 18 she started to get marriage proposal from princes from other states. Being a very beautiful woman she even had many admirers inside Bhangarh too and one such was Singhia, a sorcerer. He was passionately in love with her but he knew that their match was impossible.
People say that once the princess with her maids went visiting the market to buy some scented oil. Singhia saw her and got an idea by which he could meet the princess. He used his black magic which will hypnotize the princess to surrender herself to the sorcerer. The princess foiled this plan though. She saw the sorcerer enchanting the oil, and therefore, threw it away, whereupon the flagon rolled over a stone. The oil when touched the stone rolled over the sorcerer and crushed him. While dying, Singhia cursed the palace with death of everyone who lives in it, without any rebirth in their destinies.
There is another version of the story; Singhia gave the scented oil to one of her maids to pass on to the princess. The maid gave it to the princess. But the princess was well verse with the cult and she knew the tantra and spells herself. As soon as she touched the oil, she found out what Singhia did to it. She threw the oil on Singhia and as the oil touches him, the person who himself cursed it died a very painful death and then he cursed Bhangarh.
In the following year, there was a battle fought between Ajabgarh and Bhangarh in which Bhangarh lost and Rani Ratnavati died. The town was damaged in it.
People say that Ratnavati has taken birth somewhere else and want her to come back as to uplift the curse.
Chapter IV- Conclusion
There are many articles on web which talks about many spooky experiences of people who have visited the Bhangarh fort. Many people have experienced breathing problems and felt like someone is watching them inside the fort. According to Zee News, there is some negative spirit inside the main palace. The whole team of the news has spent a whole night inside the fort searching what is there in it that has made the place the most haunted place. Many people have also heard high pitch screams from the mountains and have also seen blur figure of a woman walking around. Many people have accepted that there is something mysterious that could not be denied. Most people have believed that the second story which is the story of Ratnavati is true as it has increased the curiosity of many tourists to visit the fort. People who have stayed there have heard the sounds of music and tickling of anklets. That simply shows that the story of rani Ratnavati is far factual than the story of Balu Nath.
Sharma, Raja. Mysterious Fort of Bhangarh, Web. August 28. 2013.
Anonymous. Bhangarh Fort, Rajasthan- The ‘most haunted’ place in India? Web. 15 July. 2013.
Singh, Rachna. Rajasthan’s ‘ghost’ town Bhangarh now a popular tourist spot. August 21. 2010.
Sharma, Vaibhav. Bhangarh- The Story with Pictures. Web. December 11. 2010.