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Bhangarh Fort – The abandoned fort of the wizard who fell in love with a princess

Nikola Petrovski

This 17th-century Indian fort, located in Rajasthan state (literally the Land of Kings), is where the local residents draw the basis for their fears. Its legends are nothing short of terrifying. Man Singh I built this sumptuous structure for his younger brother, who went by the name of Madho Singh I.

In harmony with nature. Author: Shahnawaz Sid CC BY 2.0

In harmony with nature. Author: Shahnawaz Sid CC BY 2.0

Madho named the fort after his grandfather, Bhan Singh. As time went on and foreigners were attracted by this fort, new villages sprung up at the doorstep of Bhangarh’s walls. This is how the village of Bhangarh came to be with its population of 1,306.

The neglected ruins.Author: Shahnawaz Sid CC BY 2.0

The neglected ruins.Author: Shahnawaz Sid CC BY 2.0

Gently placed at the foot of the hills, this fort is to be found some 235 kilometers from Delhi. Once there, around two kilometers of the unpaved road leads directly to the entrance of the fort. The nearest village in the area is Golakabaas.

Bhangarh Fort.Author: Shahnawaz Sid CC BY 2.0

Bhangarh Fort.Author: Shahnawaz Sid CC BY 2.0

Many stories, tales, legends, and myths live alongside the local residents, mixing with their everyday way of life, reminding them that evil and love do coexist. However, there are several legends which keep the people awake at night.

Visiting the fort during daylight. Author: Shahnawaz Sid CC BY 2.0

Visiting the fort during daylight. Author: Shahnawaz Sid CC BY 2.0

According to the locals, the fortress is haunted by strange spirits. A notice board put up by the Archaeological Survey of India hangs at the entrance, forbidding anyone from entering the fort after sundown.

Bhangarh Fort at sundown. Author: A Frequent Traveller CC BY 2.0

Bhangarh Fort at sundown. Author: A Frequent Traveller CC BY 2.0

According to the first legend, a sadhu (religious ascetic) named Baba Balak Nath lived somewhere within the fort. And so Balak Nath put out a warning that no house should be taller than his and no shadow from any neighboring house should fall on his house, or else disaster would come to the town.

The lonely Bhangarh Fort. Author: Shahnawaz Sid CC BY 2.0

The lonely Bhangarh Fort. Author: Shahnawaz Sid CC BY 2.0

Another legend says that a wizard who was adept in black magic had a crush on a local girl named Ratnavati, the princess of Bhangarh. One day, this young princess decided that it was time for her and her friends to go and buy some Ittar (essential oil derived from botanical sources).

Playing cheerfully below the city walls. Author: Arindambasu2 CC BY-SA 3.0

Playing cheerfully below the city walls. Author: Arindambasu2 CC BY-SA 3.0

The cunning wizard came up with a plan that involved switching the ittar with a love potion. But the princess realized his intentions and kicked the potion up into the air and straight into a nearby boulder, which started to roll, crushing the wizard and killing him.

The result of the Mughals raid. Author: Shahnawaz Sid CC BY 2.0

The result of the Mughals raid. Author: Shahnawaz Sid CC BY 2.0

His final words laid a curse on Bhangarh, so that the town would be destroyed and no one would be able to live within. After some time, the Mughals invaded the city from the north, killing everyone including the princess. The local legends say the fort is haunted by two ghosts, the wandering spirits of the wizard and the princess.