The Bhangarh Fort is a 17th-century fort built in Rajasthan, India. It is located on the border of the Sariska Reserve in the Aravali range of hills in Alwar district of Rajasthan. The nearest village is Golakha. The fort is situated at the foot of the hills on sloping terrain. The ruins of the King’s palace is located on the lower slopes of the hills and trees surround the pond area and a natural stream falls into the pond within the premises of the palace.
The fort is located 235 kilometres from Delhi and the approach to the entrance gate of the fort in the last 2 kilometres stretch of the road is an unpaved road.
Entering through the MAIN gate of the completely ruined fort city – now called the “Bhoot Bangla” or the “House of Ghosts” – gives an eerie feeling. Within the fort, at the main entry, one can find temples, palaces and havelis. In addition, there are four more gates of entry to the fort – the Lahori Gate, the Ajmeri Gate, the Phulbari Gate and the Delhi Gate. At the entrance of the main gate, are many Hindu temples such as Hanuman Temple, Gopinath Temple, Someshwar Temple, Keshav Rai Temple, Mangla Devi Temple, Ganesh Temple and Navin Temple. The Gopinath Temple is built above a 14 ft raised plinth and yellow stones are used for the exquisite carvings of the temple. The residence of the priest called the Purohitji Ki Haveli is located in the precincts of the temple complex. Next in order is the Nachan Ki Haveli (dancer’s palace) and Jauhari Bazar (market place) followed by the Gopinath Temple. The Royal Palace is located at the extreme end of the fort’s limits.
The temples dedicated to Hanumana and Mahadeva are very elegant but need to be preserved. However, they are built in the style of cenotaphs rather than temples. Jhirri marble has been used in their construction but presently covered by white wash. The Muslim tomb found outside the gate of the fort is reported to be that of one of the sons of King Hari Singh who converted to Islam.
There are two legends narrated to the history of the fort city which is reported to be haunted and no one is allowed to remain in the precincts of the fort at night as per a notice board put up by the Archaeological Survey of India at the entrance.
One version of the legend is that a sadhu named Baba Balanath lived within the fort area. It was his injunction that any houses built in the precincts of the fort should not be taller than his house and in case the shadow of any such house falling on his house would result in destruction of the fort town.
In another version, Singhiya, the wizard who was adept in black magic fell in love with Ratnavati, the princess of Bhangarh who was very beautiful and had suitors to marry her from many royal families of the country. One day while the princess, 18 years of age, went shopping with her friends and was buying Ittar (scent). The wizard saw this and replaced the scent with some potion in order to ensnare the princess. He offered the potion to her so that she took a liking for him and marry him. However, the princess saw through the wizard’s trickery and when he offered her the bowl of potion, she threw it on a big boulder nearby and as a result the boulder started rolling down towards the wizard and crushed him. Before he died he cursed that Bhangarh would be destroyed soon and no one will be able to live within its precincts. Subsequent to the curse Bhangarh Fort was invaded by the Mughals from the north and the city was surrounded and sacked; 10,000 people lived in the fort city at that time. All the people in the fort including the princess were killed. The present state of the fort is attributed to the curse of the wizard and people believe the ghosts in the fort are that of the princess and the wizard. Since that day, it is believed that paranormal activities take place here during the nights. Some deaths have been reported due to these paranormal activities too. There are sayings that some of the people’s spirit surrounds the boundary of the fort as no one can enter the premises. The princess’s spirit has been forcefully abducted by the wizard.