Ghost towns and villages hold a charm very different from the ruins of castles and fortresses, mostly because they give us a chance to peep right into the lives of the people who once inhabited them. Being a desert region, Rajasthan has no dearth of ghost villages but few of them have got as much attention as Bhangarh and Kuldhara, perhaps due to the legends associated with them.
Story Behind this Village
Lying 17km west of Jaisalmer, kuldhara has a story. Some 300 years ago, it used to be a prosperous village of Paliwal Brahmins under the state of Jaisalmer. According to the legend, the evil eyes of Salim Singh, the powerful and debauched prime minister of the state, fell on the daughter of the village head and he desired to marry her by force. He threatened the village with grave consequences if they did not adhere to his wish. Instead of submitting to the order of the tyrant, the Paliwals held a council and people of 85 villages left their ancestral homes and vanished. But this was not all; before leaving, they put a curse on kuldhara that no one will ever be able to settle in their village thereafter. To this date, the village remains barren; left almost the same as its inhabitants had left it centuries ago. It is also said that people who have tried to stay there at night have been chased away by strange paranormal phenomenon.
Another, more plausible reason can be that Salim Singh raised the taxes to such an extent that it became unviable for the local community to survive in the village; and they thus decided to migrate to greener pastures. However, people love the former story; after all, who doesn’t want a tinge of romance and mystery in their tales! Locals claim that approximately 1500 people migrated from the Kuldhara, who belonged to 85 hamlets that were located closely. Today, the village is under the purview of the Archaeological Survey of India and is open to tourists for exploration from 8 AM to 6 PM.
Interesting facts about Kuldhara
- The first on this list are the homes, the Paliwals made their homes considering the geographical, architectural, and scientific factors from bricks and clay in such a way that they were well-ventilated and were successful in maintaining the pleasant temperature inside when it’s blazing hot outside.
- These ancient homes also had private wells and stairs. The Paliwals were intelligent people, who used some smart agricultural techniques and rainwater harvesting methods to produce a good yield even in a desert topography.
kuldhara is a desolate place with a forlorn look and bring sadness to the heart when one thinks of those unfortunate people who were forced to leave the land of their forefathers. However, the place doesn’t seem to be spooky for any reason other than the legends themselves, and for our own perception based on those stories. Though there is sadness in the air, there is hopefully nothing cursed about it.