Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever had an encounter with an evil and maleficent spirit that meant to cause harm to you or those in your vicinity? Have any of your loved ones or acquaintances ever told you, supposedly true, stories of their experiences with the paranormal – of spirits vanishing in thin air or poltergeists wreaking havoc? Yes, Casper was indeed the work of fiction; poltergeists are supposed to be more dangerous and troublesome than loving and friendly!
Whether you are a believer or not, the haunting stories about various places around the world never cease to astonish us. And guess what, no matter whether you are an adventure junkie or just a curios mind, the creepier a place is, the more it pulls you towards it. Here are my top 10 picks of the most haunted places in India, which are worth a visit! Let the countdown begin:
10. Three Kings’ Church, Cansaulim, Goa
You read it right – a haunted church! As unlikely as it may seem, the Indian Paranormal Society also agrees that this church is indeed haunted by, not just one, but three ghosts. According to the local legend, the three ghosts that haunt this building were actually three Portuguese kings who constantly fought amongst themselves for power. Once day, one of the kings invited the other two to the church for supper. However, he poisoned the food and killed them both. When the followers of dead kings came to know of this coup, a huge crowd came to kill the wicked king. To save himself from the crowd , he ate the poisoned food himself and died too. All three of them were then buried inside the church. Even today, people claim to feel a lot of negative energy and get an uncanny feeling of some invisible entity sitting right beside them while they are inside the church.
9. Golconda Fort, Hyderabad, Telangana
One of the most famous fortified citadels in India that attracts enormous hoards of tourists every year is said to be haunted. Built in the mid-12th century, this fortified city rose to prominence during the 16th century under the mighty Qutub Shahi Dynasty of Hyderabad. The story goes that there was a beautiful courtesan called Taramati who was the Sultan’s favorite. Tourists have claimed that as they ventured deep within the ruins of the Golconda, they experienced some spooky phenomena. While according to some tourists, they saw Taramati singing and dancing in the open court, some others who hung back at night after closing hours of the monument claimed to have seen pictures on the walls turned upside down by roaming spirits, and also of having heard several unexplained calls of distress.
8. Mukesh Mills, Mumbai, Maharashtra
In the city that never sleeps, this is the place everyone prefers to stay away from. Mukesh Mills is said to have been established in the late 19th century and was the only textile mill in South Bombay to have a private port. In 1982, a devastating fire broke out that completely destroyed the mill. While the reason for the fire still remains a mystery, the mill has been closed from that day onward. It made into the news when a film director chose it as the location for his upcoming horror movie. The cast and crew of the film went through a lot of spooky and terrifying experiences during the shooting. Not only strange sounds and scary footsteps, but they also reported ghostly possessions of their colleagues. Eventually, the shooting was stopped and the location was changed. There have been numerous other ghost stories related to these ruins and people who have actually been there never want to return ever again.
7. Dumas Beach, Surat, Gujarat
Are you a beach person who also loves adventure? If your answer is yes, this might just be the right place for you. Claiming its place on the list of top 35 haunted places in India, the Dumas Beach is known for several paranormal reports and spooky experiences. The beach that is crowded with tourists during the day becomes the epicenter of paranormal activity by nightfall. People who have stayed back on this beach after sunset have heard eerie laughter of invisible people and strange howling sounds. The Dumas Beach is also infamous for the mysterious disappearances of people who, according to the local legend, are never found. As per the locals, the beach used to be the site of a Hindu burial ground, and is now haunted by the spirits that never left the place.
6. Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai, Maharashtra
One of the sites of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, one of the main landmarks of the city of dreams, has its own set of ghostly narratives. Built in 1903 by the rich businessman Jamshedji Tata, this high-end, 5-star hotel boasts of its own resident ghost. It is said that one of the architects of the Taj Mahal Palace, W.A. Chambers, committed suicide inside the building’s old wing and since then for over a century now, his ghost has been haunting the place. There are many accounts of encounters with this ghost shared by the hotel residents and staff alike. Most of them describe Chambers’ ghost roaming around long corridors of the hotel’s old wing as if keeping a check on things and making sure everything is in order.
5. Kuldhara Village, Jaisalmer District, Rajasthan
Located amidst the desert of Jaisalmer, Kuldhara is a ghost village, cursed and abandoned overnight by the community of Paliwal Brahmins that resided there. Legend has it that some 200 years ago, Kuldhara was a thriving village community. But the local Samant or feudal lord harassed most of the village families for money. According to locals, many Kuldhara families owed large sums of money to the Samant who would go to any extent to get it back. One day, the old Samant set his eyes on the beautiful young daughter of the village chieftain and proposed to marry her. The villagers were given only a day’s time to accept the proposal; refusal was not an option. Left with no choice and filled with pain & remorse, all the people decided to leave the village in the deaf of the night, but before doing so, they placed a curse on the entire village. Some tourists who stayed in the abandoned village at night claimed that the place gives a very saddening and empty feeling so much so that no one wants to stay there for long.
4. Morgan House, Kalimpong, West Bengal
Located on the picturesque hill station of Kalimpong, Morgan House is a beautiful British colonial mansion, now converted into a lodge. But don’t be defied by its location or beauty! It is perhaps one of the most haunted buildings in the region, and most of the locals would testify to that. It was built in the 1930s by a Jute baron named George Morgan who stayed there with this wife until her death, which, according to rumor, was the result of George’s continuous torture. Since Lady Morgan’s death, her spirit is said to be haunting the house to this day. People who have stayed in the lodge have claimed to hear strange and scary noises at night. Some have also heard the sound of some invisible entity walking on the wooden floor in high heels; however, there isn’t a single account of the actual sighting of Lady Morgan’s ghost.
3. Shaniwar Wada, Pune, Maharashtra
The seat of power for the mighty Peshwas during the 18th century, Shaniwar Wada is one of the crown jewels of the city of Pune. This fortified mansion was not only the residence of the Peshwa family, but also the center of all political action in and around Maharashtra. But this is not the usual story of a happy family with happy ending. The story of Shaniwar Wada is full of deceit, betrayal, bloodshed, and power play. The 16-year old Narayanrao Peshwa was supposed to be kidnapped on the orders of his uncle Raghunathrao Peshwa. But instead, he was brutally assassinated because the original orders were changed by Raghunathrao’s wife, Anandibai. It is said that when the assassins entered Narayanrao’s chambers to kill him, he ran for protection to his uncle, who wouldn’t help him as he wasn’t aware of the change made to his orders. The last words Narayanrao uttered before he died were, “Kaka, mala vaachava!”, literally meaning, “Uncle, save me!”. It is said that to this day, at midnight, Narayanrao’s cry for help can be heard from within the Shaniwar Wada.
2. Agrasen Ki Baoli, New Delhi
The term ‘Baoli’ literally means ‘step well’. Yes, Agrasen Ki Baoli is a step well that, looking at its architectural style, supposedly dates back to the 14th century. It is one of the most popular tourist spots in New Delhi and also a historical monument protected by the Archaeological Survey of India. This well is deep, having 108 steps in total. It is said that the well was filled with black water, which called out to people and compel them to jump inside. Even today, many tourists have experienced eerie feelings as they climbed down the steps. For one, as one climbs deeper and deeper down, the silence becomes deafening, and you feel some supernatural presence beside yourself in the depths of the well. To add to the spooky feel, the black holes in the side walls are occupied by bats and pigeons that seem to come out of nowhere while you are all alone deep inside the well.
1. Bhangarh Fort, Alwar, Rajasthan
Of all the haunted places in India, this one tops the list. The stories of haunting from Bhangarh Fort are seemingly so authentic that the Government of India has put a board outside the monument advising tourists to not be in the monument before sunrise and after sunset. As per the legend, a wizard, expert in black magic, fell in love with princess Ratnavati of Bhangarh. Desperate to get married to her, he offered her a love potion, which she threw onto a large boulder. On banging on the boulder some of the potion rolled onto the wizard, instantly killing him. But before he died, he placed a curse on the entire fort that nobody would ever be able to live in peace there. After that, the fort fell into ruins and was subsequently abandoned. It is said that the curse is still alive and there are many accounts of people experiencing negative energies around them while inside the premises. It is said that many spirits roam the Bhangarh Fort and there are many spots were chills are felt at night, indicating paranormal activity.
If you believe, it exists. If you don’t, it doesn’t. But then, if you believe in good, you should believe in evil too. If you believe in God, you should believe in the Devil too. I am not sure what is out there at all these places and the ones, which are not there on this top ten list. All I know is that a visit to such places adds an element of intrigue and curiosity to a trip. So, if you are strong hearted enough and want to delve into the eerie, spooky, mysterious, and horrific, pull up your socks and get ready for some of the most spine-chilling experiences of your lifetime! These places will never disappoint you.