Do you believe in ghosts? Ever been in a haunted place at night, wondering, what was THAT sound? Even if not, you should be able to imagine the thrill. This is a story of my attempt to find ghosts in an old abandoned castle.
Bhangarh is a town, built in XVI century and abandoned in XVIII century. It features a half-ruined fortress that was 7 floors tall back in the day, now only 4 of which remain. The place is considered to be one of the most haunted places on Earth, thus being naturally attractive to my curiosity.
Locals believe that there is a curse upon this town causing any roof in proximity to collapse eventually. Even beyond the city walls they build houses with roofs made of hay, just to be sure.
So how it became this way, cursed and haunted, you ask? Well, there are two different legends, but both agree, that a powerful sorcerer was involved.
According to one version, he was living in the area before the people decided to establish a settlement there. He permitted to build the town with the condition to the ruler that no shadow of this castle will ever touch the magician or the city will be no more. One of the ruler's descendants broke the agreement though, building the fortress higher and laying a shadow on sorcerer's abode, which led to the curse, destruction and abandonment of once flourishing town.
Second version of the myth says that the sorcerer coveted the princess' heart and tried to enchant her. This went horribly wrong and led to the magician being crushed by a boulder and cursing the city to its ruin. Talk about a bad day.
But enough of the background, fast-forward 3 centuries. Today it is legally prohibited to enter the site at night, and it seem to be an unwise thing to do, as those who try are found dead by morning, at least according to locals. I actually doubt that it's more than a rumor. They also say that Indian government tried to solve the mystery, and sent soldiers to spend a night there, but they were too scared by the experience and refused to stay another one, claiming to hear the voices in the dark, calling, calling... I wasn't able to find any proof to that, either. However, there is just one way to know for sure.
I came to Bhangarh from Jaipur a few hours before the sunset. To spice things up and increase the likelihood of a paranormal encounter, I also took some LSD on arrival. In light hours I examined the town with it's rows of ruined habitations, creepy temples and deep pools.
There are some local tourists at day, but they are gone long before the darkness shrouds the ruins. Nowadays, the principal inhabitants of the town are monkeys and peacocks. There are also more dangerous animals such as leopards roaming the region at night, but I encountered none. I did have my big kukri with me just in case.
Then I went to the castle with long empty corridors and bats-infested rooms, climbed the stairs to the upper floor and waited there for sun to set.
It didn't take long, soon the night descended and brought a heavy rain, thunder and lightning with it. The first rain I've seen in a month that I'm in the region. I had my umbrella for the case so I just enjoyed watching electricity blinking in the village a few kilometers away every time a lightning strikes. Then this celestial outrage passed over me, and went behind the mountain, that the fort is leaning on, just to come back with tenfold strength and turn into a storm of fearsome power.
It was not possible anymore to withstand the wrath of heavens on the open space, so I threw my backpack into a niche and partly stuffed myself into it, covering the entrance with the umbrella. The wind was so strong that the umbrella was broken and torn in a matter of minutes. The rain was so abundant it made rivulets cascading down from the roof where I've been hiding and it made me realize that I'm being washed from there, besides being blown away by furious wind. I was soaked and cold, as was my backpack with the phone and passport. I knew that I might not make it out already, especially if I stay there, naked in front of raging elements.
So I decided to retreat ASAP, or rather flee for dear life, which proved to be hard to do as at first I couldn't find a stairway down in complete darkness only broken by light my torch and flashes of lightning, right above the castle. Finally the stairway was found and I flew from the castle all the way out of town, ankle-deep in rushing water that already started to flood the area.
Having made it to the village, I tried to hitch a car back to Jaipur, but with no avail, of course. Instead I followed some crazy old drunk, and found a group of locals around an oven, baking chapati (flat bread) in the middle of the night. They collectively knew exactly 0 words in English, but were hospitable and willing to help. I received some chapati with tea and was able to explain how I came to be in this situation, sitting near the oven to dry up and await the sunrise. I expected to be there all night, but in an hour a local man showed up and invited me to spend night with his family instead. It was a welcome help, I was provided with a room, a bed and even a shower.
As the morning came and spilled light over the ancient land, my host led me to the bus station where I boarded a bus back to Jaipur.
Even though I haven't seen any ghosts, it was a memorable experience and is cool story to tell.
What about you, reader, did you have any paranormal experiences? Be sure to share in the comments!
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