Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Bhangarh,Rajasthan: Bhangarh is Still Haunted by the Shadow of its Past

Bhangarh is a place between Jaipur and Delhi in Rajasthan state of India known for its ruins. Bhangarh is also a pre-historic site. The most remarkable of its buildings are the temples of Gopinath,Shiva (Someshwar), Mangla Devi, Lavina Devi and Keshava Rai. Other buildings include shops along the main road, several havelis, a mosque, and a palace.The palace was protected by two inner fortifications across the valley. The town is separated from the plain by ramparts with five gates.
The town was established in 1573 (VS 1631) during the rule of Bhagwant Das as the residence of his second son Madho Singh, the younger brother of Emperor Akbar’s general,Man Singh I. Madho Singh participated in many campaigns with his father and brother. The next ruler of Bhangarh was his son Chhatr Singh,after whose death in 1630,Bhangarh slowly declined. When the Mughal Empire became weaker after the death of Aurangzeb, Jai Singh IIattached Bhangarh to his state by force in 1720. After this Bhangarh diminished in population, and since the famine of 1783 (VS 1840) the town has remained uninhabited.

The city, according to legend, was cursed by a tantrik in the sixteenth century. Singhia, a lecherous tantrik, was attracted to the beautiful queen of Bhangarh, Ratnavati. One day, he saw her maid buying some hair oil for the queen and put a love spell on it. The queen was a tantrik herself. One look at the swirling oil and she threw the flagon away. As soon as it touched the ground, the stone magnified into a boulder and moved towards Singhia. All the tantrik could do before the boulder crushed him was to curse the land, “Bhaag jaao” he warned the people.

Entry to Bhangarh is legally prohibited between sunset and sunrise. A signboard posted by ASI (Archaeological Survey of India), which is a Government of India organization, specifies the instructions. While the board is written in Hindi, the instructions on it roughly translate into: "Entering the borders of Bhangarh before sunrise and after sunset is strictly prohibited. Legal action would be taken against anybody who does not follow these instructions".

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