India is a land with rich antiquity and great enigma. There are thousands of historically significant buildings, all over the country. Within the walls of these buildings lurk many mysteries, mostly because of the gory history. Enter at your own risk!
10. Savoy Hotel, Mussoorie
Mussoorie is reputed as a mysterious place, thanks to the enthralling stories of Ruskin Bond. But, one of the most renowned haunted buildings in this area is the Savoy, a historic hotel built in 1902 to serve as the pleasure point for the British Raj, it became their chief summer resort and the ‘pleasure capital’. The walls of the English Gothic architecture holds the tale that two spiritualist, Miss Frances Garnett-Orme and Miss Eva Mountstephen, came to stay here, in 1911. One morning, Miss Frances was found mysteriously dead. Autopsy reports revealed that her drink had been poisoned. Though Miss Eva was arrested and tried, the court found her not guilty. But, Miss Frances’ ghost is still said to be roaming around the hotel, looking for the person who poisoned her.
9. Golkonda Fort, Hyderabad
The Golkonda Fort, built by the Hindu Kakatiya dynasty, is located to the west of Hyderabad. It is believed that the beautiful and gifted courtesan, Taramati, caught Abdullah Qutb Shah’s fancy with her singing and dancing capabilities, and he made her his queen. They are both buried in the royal cemetery nearby. Tourists who visit the fort, especially those who linger during late hours, have narrated how Taramati has been spotted dancing in the royal courtroom. Other terrifying experiences include sighting of disembodied shadows, objects being hurled and old pictures being turned upside down. Disturbing sounds and other scary activities have also been experienced.
8. Shaniwarwada Fort, Pune
This palace fort near the Mula-Mutha River in KasbaPeth was constructed by the Peshwas and is known for its architecture. Though much of the fort was ruined in a fire in 1818, it still stands as a tourist attraction. However, it is advised for the tourists and campers to not visit the place after sunset, especially on full moon nights. As the story goes, a young prince of 13 years was brutally murdered by his relative in the palace. His murderers chased him throughout the palace, and the scared boy yelled for his uncle to help him during the chase. His screams for yells are still heard by the locals in the middle of the night. The shrieks are most vivid on the full moon night, according to the locals.
7. Agrasen Ki Baoli, Delhi
The Archaelogical Survey of India has declared this step-well a protected monument. There is no confirmed record as to who built this amazing architectural monument, or who Agrasen was. But, its construction is believed to date back to the Mahabharat epic era, after which it was rebuilt by the Agrawal community of the 14th Century, which traces its origin to King Agrasen. The unique structure has 103 steps that once led to the black waters which were allegedly hexed. The water hypnotized visitors by talking to them, and persuaded them to commit suicide. Many have been driven to death inside this bauli, and an old man was narrated how a fellow traveller started acting frustrated and disturbed, and finally jumped into the water.
6. Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi
The fortress that was once the glory of Feroz Shah Tughlaq’s Ferozabad now lies in ruins, away from the hustle and bustle of the famous cricket ground. Within the dilapidated walls is supposed to be the home of the evil Djinns who once used to torture their victims. A number of suicides have also taken place here, and the ghosts are believed to loom around the fortress. There is a baoli or step-well which is inaccessible to the general public. Legend has it that every night, fairies descend around the baoi, and witnesses are doomed with blindness. Guards and authorities deny all the stories, but, one can’t help but notice how most of the buildings around are built to face away from it.
5. Brijraj Bhavan Palace, Rajasthan
In this mysterious palace in Kota resides the ghost of Major Charles Burton, who served as the British resident to Kota. Major Burton, along with his sons, was shot and killed by the sepoys of India during the Revolt of 1857 Mutiny, right inside the palace. Though Major Burton, the ghost, has never reportedly hurt or harmed anyone, a few night guards have complained that an invisible hand has slapped them in the middle of the night for sleeping or smoking on duty. The palace is a hotel, now, and the guests have also complained of discomforting and oppressive feelings.
4. Bhangarh Fort, Rajasthan
Established in 1613 in Amber by King Madho Singh, the Bhangarh Fort has a sign by Archaelogical Survey of India that prohibits entry before sunrise and after sunset, as anyone who enters during the dark hours does not return. Legend has it that the fort was constructed under the condition that its shadow should not reach Guru Balu Nath’s retreat. But, when Madho Singh’s ignorant grandson, Ajab Singh raised the construction to such the feared height, the entire fort city got cursed, such that the roof of buildings in the city always collapse. Another theory is that when a local tantric, Singhia, tried to enchant Princess Ratnavali, she used his own magic to kill him, but, not without getting the palace cursed. The ghosts lurk inside the fort, and locals believe that they are waiting for the reincarnated Princess Ratnavali to return and break the curse.
3. Writers’ Building, Kolkata
Kolkata being the hub of power and politics in British India, the Writers’ Building was constructed as an official residence to accommodate the writers and clerks by the British. Before its renovation work was started, it served as the secretariat of the state of West Bengal until October, 2013. On 8th December, 1930, Benoy Basu, Badal Gupta and Dinesh Gupta, the three courageous freedom fighters, entered the building and shot dead the Inspector General of Police Colonel N.S. Simpson, to put an end to his oppressions upon the prisoners in jail. Since then, it is believed that the ghost of the notorious inspector still roams in the building. The officials who worked here never stayed past office hour or at dusk.
2. Hastings House, Alipur
The Hastings house, part of the Belvedere Estate, one of the oldest establishments of Kolkata. Located in Alipur, this building was built by Governor General Hastings for himself, and it later served as the residence of the Governor. Today, it serves as the Women’s College of the Calcutta University. The students have reported many spooky sightings, including carriages being drawn up the driveway, a possessed woman, etc. A man on horseback who is believed to be Hastings himself has been witnessed to enter the campus in search of documents. The spirit of a boy who died playing football has been reported by many, which is why, no one dares to play sports in this ground.
1. National Library, Kolkata
The National Library is one of the major buildings in the Belvedere Estate, with Prince Dwarakanath Tagore as the first proprietor of the library. Interestingly, is has a hidden chamber. Discovered not until 2010, this 1000 sq.ft. room on the ground floor has no openings, and there is no publicly released information about it. The library building is considered the most haunted place of the city. The voice and footsteps of the guards can be heard by the students and the night guards, which is why, no watchman wants to do their duty in the night shift. The most haunting story involving the National Library is the tale of a student of a reputed college who went missing after he entered the library at odd hours to collect materials for his research, including letters from the Victorian era. In fact, letters have reportedly been found scattered on desks in the morning many times, thus testifying to the alleged paranormal existence in the library.
There are many other places that are believe to be haunted, all around India. How much if these spine-tingling tales is true is not known. Many ghost-busters have been trying to solve the mysteries behind the super-natural sightings, hair-raising experiences, etc. Some thwart the stories as publicity gimmicks. Could there be something beyond the perceivable and the palpable? Is there some paranormal explanation behind the eeriness of these haunted historical monuments in India? It all remains an enigma.