If you are longing for a long road trip and tired of the same run-of- the-mill destinations. Try Bhangarh. It is not your usual road trip to a hill station or to Jaipur or Agra for that matter. Bhangarh appeals to the adventurer and truth seeker in you. One who is curious and wants to explore a place that is haunted, where you are advised not to stay after dark. So much so, ASI has put up a board that asks people to step out of the premises after sunset. It is this spooky character of the place that one wants to experience firsthand.
It is good to visit Bhangarh during winter months. The weather remains perfect for a long drive. Moreover, you can combine Jaipur in your itinerary if you wish so. The Pink City is less than two hours drive from Bhangarh. Bhangarh is approximately 300 km from Delhi and it can take you up to 4-5 hrs or more to cover this distance depending on the road condition. The route is pretty straight you start from Delhi towards Dhaula Kuwan and follow NH8 passing through Gurgaon – Daruhera – Manesar and Behror. Keep a watch for a road to Ajabgarh (NH11 A) after you cross Shahpura on NH8. It is not difficult to miss it and reach Jaipur. Once you reach Ajabgarh, you can hope to reach Bhangarh in 30-40 minutes. Please keep a note that you may not find a soul at Ajabgarh, since it is believed that the village was abandoned a long time back and you can see deserted houses. There is another route that goes via Alwar.
Once you reach Bhangarh, do look at the signboard put up by the ASI – warning people to step out of the premises after sunset, and do not venture inside till sunrise. It’s probably the only place in India, where the ASI office hasn’t dared to open an office in the monument area, and lies 2-3 km down the road.
It is said that Bhangarh was a flourishing city like any other of that time. Here is what I find from a travelogue written by Nitinn. “The story goes that around 400-500 years ago, Bhangarh was a flourishing city, replete with markets, strewn up with colorful locals, and ruled by a benevolent King, and his equally ravishing princess Ratnavali. It so happened, that a magician took fancy to Ratnavali’s charm, and decided to seduce her. In order to accomplish his misplaced intentions- he began to keep a watch on the daily routine of the lady, and noticed that she used to send her maids to fetch bathing oil from the city market. One day, he cast a spell on the oil, to the effect that anyone who uses that oil, shall be drawn straight towards the magician, and satisfy his carnal desire. However, the princess, who herself, was a practitioner of the dark arts- sensed his deeds, and threw the oil at a huge menhir, that lay across the fort. And as the stone hurled towards the evil magician, bringing about his inevitable doom- he uttered his final curse-“O erstwhile ruler of Bhangarh- save yourself from the storm that follows, for this city shall not see the light of Day….and as his words rang rang the death knell for Bhangarh, a huge tempest followed, that destroyed and decimated the entire city, that was left bereft of its people and structures…Soon after, it was lost in the ravages of time, till ASI operations helped uncover it recently, and bought to life, one of the greatest enigmas of Indian history..it is said that the spirits of those who died an untimely death, in the fortified ramparts of the city, still roam the streets of Bhangarh, as night descends on this accursed land.” You may check the travelogue here.
And so goes the story of Bhangarh. It did feel spooky when we went there but with so many people around it looked like a normal place. The fort is well located and there beautiful structures. There is a pond and two temples that you can explore besides the fort. It is better to pack something to eat as you may not find many shops. Take a picnic mat and spread it out to bask in the winter sun. It feels good.