The drive to the fortress is as much fun as you’ll find on the roads in rural India. Once you are there you have the monkeys to contend with and do not ever feed them unless you are looking for trouble, and I mean trouble. I did feed some at the Amanbagh hotel and after minutes I was swamped with a tribe of monkeys. These monkeys are and can be aggressive especially the males – so do not feed them. Luckily I stayed inside the room (at the doorway) when the monkeys arrived and a male jumped directly at me leaping in the air to find himself the glass, as my wife shrieks and for a good reason.
The temple reminded me at firts of Pompeii’s trade district and shops are lined on both sides of the roadway leading to the Royal fortress. Hundreds of years ago this was thought to be a royal city called Rajasthan, and the site has been under excavation for many years. India has been riddled with a long and rich history full of mysteries and superstition. The Fortress of Bhangarh was mysteriously abandoned hundreds of years ago, and is located between the Pink City of Jaipur – the capital of Rajasthan and Alwar north-west of India in the country’s largest state.
What is known is that the town was founded back in 1631, by Madho Singh, the younger brother of Man Singh, a general of the Emperor Akbar.Once a flourishing town, Bhangarh boasted over 10,000 dwellings in the 17th century when it was built by Raja Madho Singh. Today however, it’s all splendour is gone and only the ruins remain. It is sad that this site is so poorly maintained and it has little activity and restoration.
According to prominent legends, the town was cursed by an evil magician and was abandoned. That fear still haunts the minds of the local inhabitants continue to make offerings. Most of the crumbling temple walls and pavilions stand against a silent wilderness of forested hills echoing the ancient grandeur of city’s ancient prosperity.
The site seems to be a popular attraction for tourists, who often pack a picnic basket and enjoy lunch within the ruins of the pavilion. A recently restored evocative medieval bazaar is a fascinating experience for anyone out to explore Bhangarh.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the official government body responsible for maintenance of ancient monuments and ruins throughout the country officially recognizes the Bhangarh Fortress as a historic haunted location by ghosts and spirits, it is illegal to enter Bhangarh after dark, nor before sunrise. Especially with the restless spirit of the magician who cursed the land watches over Bhangarh from a nearby hill during the day and comes down at night in search of his beloved Princess’s ghost.
It is said that the beauty and charm of Princess Ratnawati of Bhangarh was without equal in the Rajasthan region and she received offers of marriage from the princes of several other states. Because of her beauty, the Princess was inundated by marriage proposals that came in regularly from all over the realm. Yet her vanity never allowed her to accept any of them. Then one day a local Tantrik (a man associated with black magic) called Singhia fell in love with Princess Ratnawati and decided to use his occult powers to entice her to his bed. When Ratnawati’s maid was in the local market buying scented oil for her mistress, Singhia used his magic to charm the oil she had acquired. When the Princess applied to oil to herself she would become hypnotised and immediately seek out the Tantrik so that she could be with him.
Princess Ratnawati had seen Singhia casting his evil spell on her oil and not willing to take the risk of using it, she through the oil away and it splashed all over a large stone. The Tantrik’s magic was so powerful that it actually worked on the stone as well and it started to roll away, seeking out Singhia. When the stone found Singhia it crushed him to death. His dying words placed a curse on Bhangarh and the people who lived in it.
His curse dictated that everyone in the palace would die and their souls would be trapped, preventing them from being re-incarnated. A year later a battle between Bhangarh and Ajabgarh took place and everyone in palance and throughout the land was killed, including Princess Ratnawati, trapping all their souls forever, never to pass into the nether world…no one has lived there since. There are countless reference of personal experiences and stories circulating about Bhandarh, of people actually feeling a sense of impending danger when they visit.