Asia India

Bhangarh Fort with Kids – Exploring the Reality of the Unreality

By Anjali Chawla  

Though our grandparents and parents abandoned the idea of ghosts still we all loved listening to ghost stories during our childhood days. No? You must be an exception if you don’t find ghosts enchanting. Basic human craving for the unknown and mysterious can’t be denied. The craving for adventure…This hunger and curiosity to unfold the truth usually take us to places that not too many people really attempt to visit. This curiosity took us to Bhangarh Fort, which is listed among the most haunted historical places in the world.

Bhangarh doesn’t need any introduction. It is fairly well-known now, thanks to the internet. It has been talked about, written about and myth-ed about innumerable times. People enjoy reading or listening to haunted stories about it but few dare to actually visit and see it. Of the many legends, there are two that are well-known among the natives. One is the legend of Princess Ratnavati and jadugar Singhia and the another is a curse of Guru Balu Nath.

During our visit to Jaipur last week, we dubiously added Bhangarh to our to-visit list. When we asked a person at our hotel about Bhangarh fort; he seemed reluctant to give any information and found it weird that we wanna go there. But we were determined. My daughter was more excited than I was.

Early next morning, we started driving towards the fort which is around 90 km from Jaipur. We took help of Google maps because of lack of firsthand information. Roads were narrow and deserted. We felt strange to see that there were not many cars on our route; traffic was moving in the opposite direction. Though I am really skeptical of my belief in the paranormal and supernatural powers, however, the experience on the road kind of intensified the feel of adventure. And we knew that the place is sparsely visited because of its infamous status. It was a lovely drive with beautiful rural landscapes, however, felt a bit of uneasiness about what we would confront at the fort. It was truly a journey to unknown, unexplained and unreal.

There were few stretches where ours was the only car on narrow and bumpy roads with almost no soul in sight. We kept ourselves busy explaining the culture and customs of Rajasthan to our daughter.

There are people who claim that they were bewitched or hounded or punched or what not. And there are people who reject the whole idea as a trick to attract tourists. Believers respond in positive and non-believers cease the concept. Whatever the truth is, adding a haunted label to the place definitely turns even a dilapidated fort into a popular tourist destination. An intelligent publicity stunt. These myths attract people from around the world to the ruins of Bhangarh.

A flock of pigeons drifting around the fort.

The Archeological Survey of India has put up a board on the fort gate saying that it is prohibited for tourists to stay inside the fort after sunset and before sunrise.

Just at the entrance, the fort has a marketplace (Johri Bazar), with rows of shops and houses (including nartikiyon ki haveli on the right) lined on either side, which is in ruins now; roofless.

Roofless ruins on both the sides.

The place feels a bit of spooky not because of paranormal status but because of the sadness and poignancy that wraps it.

Bhangarh doesn’t really seem to be protected as an Archaeological site in any sense.

The deterioration is apparent as one moves up.

Aerial view from the top of the royal palace.

In India, religion is everywhere. Despite ghostly image, there were people performing religious rituals in different rooms of the fort. Group of villagers was performing a nasty ritual of punishing themselves for wrongdoings or to make their God happy. ASI isn’t making any effort to curb these happenings inside the fort maybe because they don’t really wanna hurt anyone’s religious beliefs or sentiments.

Two young boys entered the palace with bags on shoulders; talking in hushed voices while we were coming out of the palace. My curiosity took over; I had to know what brought them with bags here. They declared that they are going to spend the entire night at the fort. They chuckled saying it’s a nice place for camping. I wished them luck and waved goodbye.

Bats infested long galleries and dark rooms. Eerie!

I investigated every room, every aisle, every corner but was disenchanted. Out of curiosity, I spoke to the Hindu priest staying within the fort premises and the guard on duty. They rejected the idea of ghosts. Priest philosophized “There is no spirit more dangerous than man”. They claimed that the wild animals come down from the mountain ranges at night from the neighboring forests like Sariska and the fort serves as a night shelter for them; sounds created by these wild animals make this fort a scary place. Also, the fort has no provision of electricity, which makes the ruins atrocious at night.

Gopinath Temple

Gopinath Temple has same elaborateness of carving that Rajasthan is known for. Strangely, the idols of God were missing. Hanuman Temple and Someshwar temple are also in the Fort premises.

At the end of the visit, nasty tales about the fort seem unbelievable; there was an uncomfortable feeling though. Like everyone, we also left the place before sunset with many unanswered queries. It left me pondering though that how can ghosts stay in a place with so many temples surrounding it.

And the mystery remains…whether the place is haunted or not….if you figure it out…please let me know…waise bhoot woot kuch nahin hota 🙂

Route:

From Delhi: Delhi > Gurgaon > Bhiwadi > Alwar > Sariska > Thanagazhi > Pratapgarh > Ajabgarh > Bhangarh. It’s nearly 300-km drive.

From Jaipur: NH21 > NH148 > RJ SH 55 > Bhangarh

Things to Take Care Before Taking Your Kids to the Haunted Fort

  • Let them know about the distinctness between reality (real) vs fantasy (fake).
  • Evaluate your kids’ ability to handle spookiness.
  • Don’t scare them by narrating stories that don’t have any credibility rather help them fight their fears.

What’s in it for Kids?

  • Bhangarh Fort is brimming with history. I never really liked history until travel made it fun. Let your kids dive deep into history and see the magic.
  • Seeing the fort known for its haunted status makes them understand the unrealness of the spooky stories and lets them encounter their doubts.
  • Road journey to the fort through remote hamlets unscathed by time gives glimpses of India’s rich culture and tradition to kids. It’s learning while having fun.

Insider Tips:

  • There are stretches where for kilometers there are no petrol pumps or habitations.
  • Carry some dry food as decent places to eat are rare.
  • Carry a torch with you or use a flashlight in mobile as the fort doesn’t have electricity and even in the daytime, a flashlight or torch will help you to see the fort better.

You should definitely visit Bhangarh if you are willing to let go of your fear and explore places that are known to scare most of us but are utterly tranquil and beautiful.

How many of you believe in ghosts or supernatural powers? Do they really exist? Can they be seen or felt? Which is the first place that comes to the mind when the conversation is about the most haunted places in India or world?

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30 Comments

  • Reply
    Anuradha Goyal (@anuradhagoyal)
    October 4, 2017 at 8:45 am

    I visited Bhangarh recently and I did experience some restless energy there.

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      October 7, 2017 at 4:09 am

      Yeah, Anuradha! I too felt restless vibes maybe because the place has been uninhabited for decades now.

  • Reply
    Parth
    October 4, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    I heard Ghosts resides there

  • Reply
    Courtney Blacher
    October 5, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    Wow, that place looks incredibly beautiful! I would love to take my kid to explore that castle.

  • Reply
    Tanvi Rastogi (@Tanviidotcom)
    October 6, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    I definitely have a thing for forts … I will add it to my list of places to visit – next time I am in India 🙂

    ❥ tanvii.com

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      October 7, 2017 at 4:12 am

      Sure! Let me know if you need any more info on this! I’ll be glad to help 🙂

  • Reply
    keisha1989
    October 6, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    I really love the picture of the flock of pigeons.It’s very nice. I’ve never visited Bhangarh before but i would love to visit one day. I can imagine kids would love it here.

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      October 7, 2017 at 4:14 am

      Thanks, Keisha! You’d love it for sure If you’ve a thing for historical and desolate places 🙂

  • Reply
    Bea | A Cheery Mind (@acheerymind)
    October 6, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    Bhangarh Fort is absolutely beautiful! You capture the atmosphere super well with your pictures!

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      October 7, 2017 at 4:16 am

      Bhangarh certainly is one of the most beautiful and intriguing places I’ve visited! Thank you so much 🙂

  • Reply
    nicoleflintkontrol
    October 7, 2017 at 2:36 am

    This looks really cool and seems like you will learn a lot! Definitely great for kids for them to get out and explore new things

  • Reply
    chewoutloud
    October 7, 2017 at 3:52 am

    Wow, the area looks so desolate yet royal. Such an interesting place to see! I wouldn’t have thought of all the ghosty things, if you didn’t mention it. Great tips about food and lights!

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      October 7, 2017 at 4:23 am

      Thank you so much for stopping by 🙂 It’s infamous for its ghostly status but to me the place seemed rather beautiful than spooky.

  • Reply
    Deb B.
    October 7, 2017 at 5:58 am

    My family and I love forts. But we’ve never seen anything like this. As for my husband and I – the spookier the better :). For my little one, that’s a whole other story. 🙂

  • Reply
    eclectickristal
    October 7, 2017 at 6:34 am

    All of these are so pretty and beautiful and loved the picture. I have not heard of this place and it look like a fun place to be.

  • Reply
    Ketki
    October 7, 2017 at 7:08 am

    Ok honestly i had not heard about this fort but it looks super interesting. I am definitely visiting here soon to experience the restless vibes that everyone is talking about. Thank for this.

  • Reply
    Sab
    October 7, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Wow! Interesting place. Would love to go here soon.

  • Reply
    Tiffany Yong
    October 8, 2017 at 7:01 am

    I didn’t know about this fort prior to reading your post. I’m glad you brought your kids to explore this place, but at a safe timing. Supernatural stuff is something I try not to mess with. I like how your post respects the place and share your feelings!

  • Reply
    Elizabeth O
    October 9, 2017 at 6:03 am

    It looks like a great place to visit. I wouldn’t have thought of all the ghosty thing. Interesting place to visit.

  • Reply
    josypheen
    October 11, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    Would you have been willing to go back and visit at night? Or did it really seem so creepy? I think your idea of going in the late morning is sort of perfect for not getting too spooked!

    I think the priests view is really sensible. “There is no spirit more dangerous than man” sounds real to me.

  • Reply
    Elaisha Jade
    October 11, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    This looked incredible. Do you think 11am was a good time? I’m not a fan of getting too hot 😅

  • Reply
    Campfires&Concierges (@leighlwilson)
    October 11, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    I have never heard of this place, as I haven’t traveled to India, but it looks like a great place to spend an afternoon exploring!

  • Reply
    ADA
    October 11, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    Ive never heard about Bhangarh but now I just wanna google it and read some scary stories about this place! Seems like you had very interesting trip there! Very nice!

  • Reply
    dressingdanishly
    October 11, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    I hadn’t actually heard of this place but it sounds like something I’d like! I may have to visit… kids or not!

  • Reply
    Ruth
    October 12, 2017 at 12:47 am

    Have to admit ghost stories are very interesting. Thanks for introducing me to this fort. It looks beautiful! I have never seen a place like this. I prefer uncrowded places. Therefore, I guess the difficulties in getting there were worth the effort!

  • Reply
    2 Backpackers
    October 12, 2017 at 4:32 am

    Bhangarh holds so much mystery. Even I have been wondering how can evil spirits reside in a place that is surrounded by temples. Hope to visit the place soon.

  • Reply
    Céline CLudik
    October 12, 2017 at 6:30 am

    Love hearing about new places like this especially when It’s a bit off the beaten path ! Gorgeous photos of Bhangarh. You probably feel so isolated when visiting this ghost place…It is forbidden to enter borders of the haunted Bhangarh Fort before sunrise and after sunset, right ?

  • Reply
    godigodesa
    October 12, 2017 at 10:26 am

    It looks amazing!! It is amazing how us people always want the answers to everything, but when we do feel something we brush it off as something irrelevant. Trust your instincts I say! 🙂

  • Reply
    fillmypassportblog
    October 12, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    Looks quite spooky! I have been to India and am sad I missed this fort! It will need to be on my list when I return 🙂

  • Reply
    authenticfoodquest
    October 12, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    This fort sounds really interesting and worthy of exploration.No surprise you were eager to discover it for yourself. Given that you’ve been there, do you still have the feeling of ghosts and such? It’s definitively somewhere I’d like to see when I visit India.

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