India is a land of stories and superstitions that have resulted in discovery of its own share of spooky sites over the years. According to beliefs of a few people, while some are a result of unnatural deaths, others take on the identity of a place.
Upon setting foot at the Bhangarh Fort in Alwar, Rajasthan, a signboard saying “Entering the borders of Bhangarh before sunrise and after sunset is strictly prohibited” welcomes us. The warning was enough to send some chills down our spine and I thought of what a friend told me earlier – “People who live around the area report that many people have gone missing from around the fort.”
The fort is amongst the most popular Archaeological Society of India (ASI) approved haunted places in the country and has even found its place in various documentaries.
According to the story associated with it being haunted, a tantrik (person who performs black magic rituals for either bad or good purposes) fell in love with a princess and planned to use magic to win her over. But the princess got to know of his evil plans and ordered to kill him. Before he died, he cursed the residents of the fort to die and the village dwellers to remain roofless forever.
Cut to the present day, many villages in the area are still roofless, and according to the people who live nearby, if a roof is built, it collapses. The town today lies abandoned and according to locals, those who stay in for the night have reported hearing footsteps, and having felt a constant presence over them. We too, did not have any rendezvous with any ghost, but there was an unusual vibe.
Rajasthan has been home to many royal families and till date, the city is famous for incidents from the illustrious past, which are still said to haunt it.
Another weird incident took place in 1991 when Om Singh Rathore lost control of his motorcycle and hit a tree on National Highway 62. While Rathore lost his life immediately, his motorcycle fell into a nearby ditch, which was later taken by the police to a nearby police station. Next day, the bike was found back at the site of the accident. This repeatedly happened despite the police emptying its fuel tank and putting it under lock and chain.
This came to be seen as a miracle by locals and they established a ‘Bullet Temple’ at the spot to worship the miraculous bike. “We decided to visit the temple and see it ourselves. There was a queue of people who had stopped by to pray to the bike as they believe that a person who does not stop to pray at the shrine is in for a dangerous journey,” says Mohit*, who visited the place in 2016.
* (Name changed to protect anonymity).
A regular hotel in Uttarakhand eventually turned into a haunted place in 1911, when a spiritualist named Frances Garnett-Orme was poisoned at the Savoy Hotel in Mussoorie. According to the story that also finds a mention in Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles; and Ruskin Bond’s In a Crystal Ball, years later, the doctor who was tending to her was found dead in similar circumstances – poisoned with a strychnine.
As per the locals, Lady Garnet Orme’s ghost still haunts the hotel as they claim to have seen it aimlessly roaming around the hotel in addition to echoes of footsteps, spooky noises and other death stories connected to the majestic hotel.
Another unsolved mystery is of the three ladies who lost their lives at a house in Kundanbagh, Hyderabad. According to a thief who broke into this two-storey house, he found dead bodies of the three women inside. Scared, he reported the case and according to forensic reports, the mother and her two daughters were dead around three months prior. The neighbors, however, claim to have seen them walking in the balcony and lighting candles in the house at midnight, a day prior to the discovery of their dead bodies.
Sigiriya, Sri Lanka