Thursday, January 20, 2011

The cursed city

An awesome place to visit near delhi, is Bangarh. It is near sariska forest sanctuary in Rajasthan and hardly half a days drive from the city. Bangarh and the close by ajabgarh (which I wasn’t fortunate enough to visit) are old archaeological sites discovered by the ASI, Bangarh is a whole city by itself, with a king’s castle, two temples (one dedicated to Krishna and the other to Shiva), a whole town- and many more delights. The entire spread has a magical tint to it, as most of the structures are without roofs (and possibly renovated by the ASI from rubbles).
The city has a haunted touch to it by itself, over and above that many people believe that after dark; the entire city comes alive of the inhabitants of the days when the city was thriving. The reason being the instant death of the whole city supposedly by a tantric (in some cases the tantric was a lover to the queen, and other stories suppose that the tantric was the queen herself), who went ahead to curse the city causing instant death to the entire set of inhabitants there. The souls perhaps are still not at peace, and many people (whom I talked with-locals) there still believed that after dark, it was not a place to be taken lightly.
One of the guards animatedly and point of fact also told me that the ghosts are not souls and are ‘djinns’ and they meet every Saturday in the temple area. While I also met local shepherds (one of the shepherds who I could speak with was an old man smoking his hookah and tending his animals)- he said that after dark there were wild animals in the vicinity who come to drink the water from the central Jharna/Fountain area – formed between the city.
The palace of the king is on the side of a mountain and built on it as well, the inner city (for the king or the prestige of the time) is surrounded on all sides behind by beautiful mountains- perhaps a strategic move to build the city in such a location- where attack was least possible. There is also the highest point which would have acted as the watch point/tower for seeing the land beyond- located way above the palace’s height on the same hill. I could not reach till there for I had time constraints but I could explore the palace in length and also get some photos of the scenery and landscape of the expanse- very pretty indeed.
The location of bangarh is not close to any major cities of Rajasthan- it is in the pretty rural portrait of the royal land and the mighty aura of the desert envelops everything in its path in this region and the entire location looks haunted by day and most certainly by night and also enchanting or bewitched. An entire ruined abandoned city in the middle of such a landscape is pretty and eye catching to say the least.
I went during a local state conflict and hence found reaching this location harder than usual, had to change roads and even take the village roads to reach this place which otherwise is very well linked by major roads- but the ongoing gujjar reservation or Arakshan as its called had caused major standstill during this time, we found even getting petrol to be an almost impossible task as all the major roads were blocked and hence no sort of road or rail movement was taking place inter/intra state.
The Shiva temple built near the central city fountain is very peaceful and inspiring, I don’t know how it would look after dark but the central linga- made most probably in marble (white color) looked somewhat powerful, though it was almost an abandoned temple with little or no worship taking place.
The place is a cool and relaxing visit; if you choose to live within the sariska sanctuary with many resorts offering the lap of luxury, also alwar is another good option as the nearest biggest town with its own set of tourist locales to visit (i chose to stay in alwar as I am accoustmed to the place- and wanted to visit the location again)
Hope everyone has a happy travelling year ahead, exploring uninhibitedly and with awe.

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