There are different stories about Bhangarh. Some believed that, this town was established around 1573 (VS 1631) during the rule of Raja Bhagwant Das and it became the residence of his second son Madho Singh. Madho Singh was younger brother of Emperor Akbar’s General, Man Singh I of Amber. Madho Singh participated in many campaigns with his father and brother. The next ruler of Bhangarh was his son Chhatr Singh. Bhangarh slowly declined after Chhatr Singh's violent death in 1630. Close to Bhangarh is Ajabgarh, founded by Ajab Singh, the son of Chhatr Singh. When Mughal
Empire became weaker after the death of Aurangzeb, Jai Singh II attached Bhangarh to his state by force in 1720. After this Bhangarh diminished in population, and when the famine of 1783 (VS 1840) fell on the land the town was abandoned, and has remained a ruin ever since.
Legend also has it that due to a curse of Guru Balu Nath, the whole town was vacated overnight. Balu Nath sanctioned the establishment of the town but said: "The moment the shadows of your palaces touch me, the city shall be no more!" Ignorant of such foreboding, one ambitious descendant raised the palace to such a height that its shadow reached Balu Nath's forbidden retreat and the town was devastated. The small samādhi where Balu Nath lies buried is still there.
Some people who visit this place say that there is a strange feeling in the atmosphere of Bhangarh, which causes symptoms of anxiety and restlessness. Nevertheless, most of people like their visit to Bhangarh.
I had a tough time to get me a taxi to Bhangarh. When I went to the reception of my hotel and asked them if they could arrange a taxi for me to Bhangarh, I could see the man across the desk wasn't very pleased at all. And I felt every one around were staring at me. A little later, the owner of the hotel came to me saying, I should not mention visiting Bhangarh, especially openly at the reception area since, some people, do not like talking about that place, leave aside a visit there. I requested him to arrange me a taxi and, was curious to know more about Bhangarh, after making my trip. He did arrange me a taxi and, the same evening, we met again. What he told me, was something exciting to me, while, frightening to others. (Photo above on left: ruins of the Palace)
No one in Rajasthan talks about Bhangarh, especially the locals. It is only few tourists, who seem excited about visiting Bhangarh. The locals strongly believe that, after Sun set and till Sun rise, the entire town of Bhangarh is alive. Those people who could not escape, their souls still haunt the town of Bhangarh. People have heard sounds of children playing, people selling and buying things, like it happens in the open markets. And, the most exciting part is, every evening, they hear the 'arti' or the evening prayers at the temple, with the temple bells ringing etc.
The people who belong to the Bhangarh tribe are called 'mina'. It is believed that, they still exist and walk around and look just like normal humans. However, some ways to distinguish them would be for e.g. they do not cross through a door i.e. either you will see them this side of the door or the other and, they stay away from fire.
People say that, few have met these minas and have taken their help to achieve success in the form of making quick money through their works and business. However, those who did take the help from minas also died ... since the people believe, that, these minad work with a condition, where they give you all that you would want, but they often ask something in return, which is almost impossible to give them, and thus, people end up paying with their lives.
I gathered several stories about people asking mina's to help them achieve quick success in their career and works. One thing common in all these were that, after Sun set and till Sun rise, the city of Bhangarh is alive with sounds and nose of children playing and people talking, sounds of people selling and buying and the prayers from the temple etc. not every one seems to delight in sharing the tales of Bhangarh.
There is a 'hanuma mandir' (Hanuman Temple), (Photo on left) just at the gate when you enter Bhangarh and, I met the 'Panditji' (temple priest) (Photo on the right) and had a nice long talk with him. He too confirmed all of the above.
Contributed by: Mohinder Pal Singh
Date: March 28, 2010