Delhi Ghost Walks

Join this haunted buildings tour of Delhi and face the ghosts eye to eye

We had called this tour, the haunted buildings tour of Mehrauli! The day chosen for this tour was perfect- December 25. The sky was overcast and a heavy fog lay over the city. Indeed, the weather gods had conspired among themselves to really make December 25, a  haunted day!The idea was to visit the various haunted places in the Mehrauli Archaeological Area.

 

The  Qutub Minar was enveloped by a thick blanket of fog and it appeared to me to be  some kind of a scary building

Delhi Haunted Tour
The famous Mehrauli landmark was covered by a thick fog

Do you know about the Qutub Minar? It is one of the tallest historical structures in India. 

The haunted buildings tour in Mehrauli

 

I have been to the Mehrauli Park several times in the past.

All alone.

Immersed in my thoughts. But, what made this haunted buildings tour special was that here, I was a part of an audience. I just wanted to be a listener and get lost in the stories of the haunted places of Mehrauli.

 

I just wanted to be a listener and an onlooker. No comments, no gyan, but just a soaker of stories.

 

The tour organizer was the enthu duo of Ritesh Datta- Sushmita. These guys are bubbly and full of energy, warmth and good humor. And boy, did they do their job well? Yes, most certainly, they did.They actually made this Delhi Haunted Tour come alive!

The haunted Mehrauli Archaeological Park can be accessed with a gate that is always open. There are no tickets. If you are on the Mehrauli- Gurgaon Road, you will find that gate. It is diagonally opposite to the Qutub Minar Metro Station, though you will have to walk approximately 200 meters.

The haunted house of Balban

 

The first building that we visited in the Haunted Tour was the grave of Balban. Sushmita told us that the grave indeed is haunted and is infested with spirits and ghosts.

Sushmita told us that the grave indeed is haunted and is infested with spirits and ghosts.

Can we have the photographs, please?

Haunted Tour
Sushmita-our Tour Guide

The photo was taken by an iPhone camera.

This is the grave.

Haunted Tour
Balban’s Tomb

But, who the hell was Balban?

 

History tells us that this Sultan of Delhi was a murderous soul. He was much like Count Dracula of Romania.

People say his grave is haunted. If someone bows his head in front of the grave then that fellow loses his life shortly. Do you believe it?

The inscriptions that you see in black send out an inexplicable aroma in the air. Nobody knows who paints those letters in black, It is a mystery. Can you read those letters? I can not because they are in Farsi and all I can read is either English or Hindi.

If you want to know more on Balban, click here.

People say that the 80 year old Sultan used to hold his court in this haunted house.

Much like his stern personality, his tomb is also a grim structure.

Haunted Tour
A cold Sultan has a cold grave for company

Now have a look at these circular holes. These carried djinns in small pitchers! Can you believe it?

haunted buildings
Where did the djinns escape to?

I would not have known all this if I hadn’t joined this haunted buildings tour, I bet.

Haunted Buildings Tour ‘s next destination -Jamali Kamali

 

If you are alone, do not enter this place in the dark. The tomb of Jamali Kamali is also said to be spooked. The weather added to the spookiness of the entire haunted complex.

haunted buildings
The Sufi and his lover sleep here; Jamali Kamali tomb

Much has been written about this ghostly place, but very few know about Jamali and Kamali. My theory is that they were a teacher and pupil duo who loved each other and died in each other’s arms.

Both of them were men.

Is it spooked? Nobody in this haunted trip had any answer, to be honest.

 There is a theory which says that unfriendly ghosts will get you if they are disturbed in their resting places.

Apparently, a paranormal scientist had woken up a sleeping Djinn here and this made the man commit suicide!

Read here of his death!

The Jamali Kamali tomb is a fine building, all things considered.

Haunted Tour
The facade of the  haunted Jamali Kamali mosque
Haunted Tour
A sunflower adorns the top of the gate
Haunted Tour
At the Jamali Kamali Tomb. Are these guys aware that there might be ghosts nearby?

While I was listening to the haunted history of this mosque, my friends were readying their equipment for their shoots.

But, who was Jamali and who was Kamali?

 

This was the question uppermost in the minds of the Delhi haunted buildings tour members.

There are many opinions about the origin of Jamali and Kamali.Some people say that Jamali was a Muslim poet who lived in the court of one of the Sultans of Delhi. When this Sultan lost in a battle, the poet shifted his loyalty to the winning king. The winning King built this mausoleum for the poet.

Nobody knows for sure who was Kamali. Some say that he was a homosexual partner of Jamali. Others think Kamali was the wife of Jamali. If you know who were they, please let me know.

Also read-Maheshwar, Varanasi of Madhya Pradesh

The Jamali Kamali complex was built in the 1500s and Balban’s  was built in the late 1200s but both these buildings are separated by a narrow street.

The Angrez  and the swimming pool

 

The Britishers became the masters of Delhi in the middle of the 19th century. One of them was a colorful character. His name was Thomas Metcalfe and he was a great host for his guests.When he was not working, Metcalfe used to enjoy the Delhi summers lounging in the swimming pool or the Hauz that he had made for himself.

Haunted Tour
The Metcalfe Hauz

Thomas Metcalfe was the younger brother of Charles Metcalfe, who was a senior officer in the East India Company. The junior Metcalfe was made by his brother the agent of the Company in the Mughal court.

Thomas made sure he lived his life 100 % while being the English agent to the Mughal court. He converted some important Mughal buildings into pleasure houses and this made the Mughals very angry.

One such pleasure house that was built in Mehrauli by Metcalfe was the Dilkusha ( pleasing the heart).

The Junior  Queen of the then Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar was very angry at these developments. Many people suspect that she poisoned  Mr. Metcalfe to his death. He lies buried in an old part of Delhi near the present day Inter State Bus Terminus at the Kashmiri Gate.

Is Dilkusha haunted? I think so because whenever I have passed by this building, I have experienced queer sensations. Sometimes, I have felt as if long dead people in these haunted places are calling out to me.

More haunted places

 

There are several other haunted houses in the Mehrauli Archaeological Park. For example, the Boat House built by Metcalfe always has some rose petals sprinkled in its doorway.

Delhi Ghost Tour
Boathouse, Mehrauli

Another ghostly house in the Mehrauli Archaeological Park is this one:

This then brings us to the end of the Delhi Ghost Tour of Mehrauli.

I hope you liked it.

By the way, if you want me to take you around on a Delhi ghost tour, please write back to me.

Thanks for reading the post.

 

most amazing travel destinations- Allahabad, the city of the dropped nectar

One of the most amazing travel destinations in India is Prayag or Sangam. Though, there are several places to visit in India, I would say that this one of the places you must visit if you are in India during January. The city plays host to one of the most important Indian festivals– Magh Mela.

Allahabad has a long story behind it. After reading it you will understand why the city is one of the many places of interest to not just Indians but many foreign travellers as well.

The story of Allahabad or Prayag or Sangam

The city is as old as, if not older than Benares. Legends say that the creator of the universe, Bramha offered his first sacrifice at Prayag. Brahma is one of the three Gods in the Hindu civilization. So you can imagine why this town is so important to many Indians.

Another name of Allahabad is Sangam, meaning the place where there is a meeting of three rivers- Ganga, Yamuna and the Saraswati. While the first two can be seen mingling into each other, the Saraswati is a mythical river, an ‘invisible’one.

most amazing travel destinations
Millions of Indians visit the Sangam to was away their  sins

Nobody knows who founded the city. It is a secret to many of us living here in India. What we do know is that many historical characters are associated with Prayag. Lord Rama, the hero of Ramayana is believed to have visited this city . He lived more than 10, 000 years ago, many Hindus believe. Rama spent his time in the ashram of Sage Bharadwaj. An ashram is like a hostel. This ashram still exists in the heart of the city and is one of the places of interest. No wonder, Allahabad is one of the most amazing travel destinations in the world.

Akshay Vat- The Indestructible Tree

In Allahabad there is an ancient tree, Akshay Vat, which has survived  thousands of years . In the 16 th century, a Mughal emperor, Jahangir tried to burn it down. However, it survived. If you want to visit this tree, you will have to take the permission of the Army. The tree is within a fort controlled by the Army.

most amazing travel destinations
Akshay Vat has survived for more than 5000 years. courtesy Panoramio

For the archaeologist, Allahabad is treasure trove for Iron Age artefacts.

Have you read  about King Yayati? Read on because Allahabad is closely related to this king.

The story of Yayati

Yayati was the king of the entire  world and the son of Nahusha. As was the practice those days, one day Yayati went hunting. He saw the girl of a famous Rishi and married her. Her name was Devyani.

Devyani had a friend , Sharmishtha who was equally pretty. Yayati fell for her too.. When Devyani came to know about it, she complained to her father, Rishi Shukracharya. The Rishi was livid. He felt insulted by the king’s behaviour. The Rishi cursed the king and made him an old man. Yayati was crestfallen as he had just begun to enjoy his life.

Yayati wants to enjoy youth

The king had five sons. He approached each one of them , asking for their youth. But, except for Puru, his youngest son, nobody wanted to their youth and vitality with the king’s old age. Puru, on the other hand was ready to see his father young again. Yayati was mightily pleased with Puru. After a few days os enjoying his new found youth, Yayati came back to Puru and took back his old age from his son. Now it was the turn of Yayati to make his son happy. Puru got his dad’s kingdom. In due course, the young prince, Puru founded the dynasty of Pauravas, an important kingdom in India. The Pauravas or the Kauravas are the central figures in India’s epic , Mahabharata.

From Hastinapur to Allahabad

The Pauravas ruled from Hastinapur, until it was destroyed by floods a few thousands of years back. After the town was destroyed, they came back to Prayag and established their new capital at Kaushanbi, which is 40 kilometres from Prayag. If you  plan  a trip to India , include Kaushambi in your itinerary.

The Mauryan Connection

If you are a history aficionado. Allahabad is one of the places to visit in India . It is one of the Mauryan sites where the Mauryan king, Ashoka had erected one of his pillars .

And the Guptas too

Prayag was an important city during the reign of the Guptas too. One of the Gupta kings, Samudragupta , had spent a lot of his time here.

most amazing travel destinations
The Ashoka Pillar carries inscriptions of 3 kings- Ashoka, Samudragupta and Jehangir. credits Wiki

The Magh Mela

Every year in January, millions of Indians converge on the banks of Ganga and celebrate Magh Mela. Magh is an Indian word for January and Mela means festival.

most amazing travel destinations
Magh Mela starts January onwards. Credits- Pinterest

When the Sun starts its annual journey towards the Tropic of Cancer , Indians celebrate this ritual by bathing in the Ganga. For us, it is a season of happiness and hope. This is a  period  of fasting and praying. The Mela grounds near the Ganga have a surreal feeling around them. This festival goes on for the next 14 days.

 

most amazing travel destinations
Devotees spend the next one month fasting and praying. courtesy International Business Times

Allahabad also hosts the Kumbh Mela, a festival that draws tens of millions of people to these grounds. Amazing, isn’t it?

The story of Kumbh Mela

Allahabad marks one of the spots where a few drops of the holy nectar spilled down from a vessel carried by Garuda. The celestial carrier of Vishnu  was trying to take away the nectar from the asuras, enemies of the devas.

There are so many interesting stories  about this ancient place. Alas, I cannot share all of them with you but, I hope you are now sufficiently motivated to travel to this place.

The best time to travel to Allahabad is January.

How to reach Allahabad

Check out the various trains from Delhi, Mumbai or Kolkata to Allahabad at this site . This is a Government of India website and is absolutely trustworthy.

There are flight options too but they are expensive.

If you are planning to travel to several places in India like Agra and Varanasi, I would recommend you to take a cab to Allahabad. It is just 250 kilometers from Benares.

 

 

 

 

 

Indian offbeat destinations

Indian offbeat destinations- Where the Vindhyas kneel down

Jhukehi is not one of those typical Indian offbeat destinations  where you arrive by a train, get into a nice hotel, backpack around , take pictures and leave a couple of days later. It is just a train halt but has an interesting folklore behind it. Why? Read on…

Indian offbeat destinations
The mighty Vindhyas bow down here

But, where is Jhukehi?

 

Indian offbeat destinations
Location of Jhukehi on the map

I am not sure whether this map can be easily read by a typical reader but the passionate traveller will easily interpret it. Jhukehi marks the spot where there is a gap in the Vindhyan range. This gap is of strategic importance as it helps in the movement of men and materials between the northern and southern parts of India.

Indian offbeat destinations
Not a typical Indian destination

But why are we talking about Jhukehi?

Good question. Why should this mountain pass deserve this attention here?

Well, many thousands of years ago, there lived a sage in India, Agastya. He was well regarded, was knowledgeable and lived in North India. Sage Agastya is considered to be the son of Sage Pulastya, one of the saptarshis or the 7 stars of the Great Constellation.

Sage Agastya is also the elder brother of Sage Vashishtha , the preceptor of Lord Rama, the hero in Valmiki Ramayana.

Agastya rishi is as  equally revered in the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka as in North India.

But, we are digressing, aren’t we? We were discussing the significance of Jhukehi, one of the Indian offbeat destinations.

Breaking the ego!

One day, Sage Agastya resolved that he would travel to the region south of the Vindhyas. At that time, the Vindhyas , full of arrogance and ego, were becoming taller by the day. The mountains were being taunted by Narada everyday about their ‘low height’. Agastya was aware of the mountain’s ego and haughtiness and wanted to teach the Vindhyas a lesson.

When the sage reached the Vindhyas, the mountain, bowed its head in respect.

‘O sage, I bow my head to you, kindly cross over my head and resume your journey, ‘ the mountain said. The sage was amused. ‘Ok then, I shall cross over your head, but how long will you bow your head?’, he asked.

‘I shall bow my ahead as long as you return from your journey, Sir’, the mountain replied.

Ok, Agastya replied, wait for my return.

Indian offbeat destinations
The mountain bows its head to the Sage

The mountain has been waiting for the sage to return ever since. The small hill that you see in the image above is said to be the head of the mountain. Isn’t it a delightful story?

So as I said, Jhukehi is not a destination in the popular sense. It is just a train halt and  falls on the Jabalpur- Satna train route. in Hindi Jhukehi means ‘to bow’.

I hope Madhya Pradesh Tourism acknowledges this train halt as another interesting spot in the tour and travel circuit in the state. The state abounds in many such offbeat destinations and I guess, a lot of such stories like this one will have to come out to promote them.

Did you like this story? Thanks for reading up on this post.

 

 

 

Rajasthan offbeat destination

Rajasthan offbeat destination- Mesmerizing Menal awaits you

Rajasthan offbeat destination
                                                             Magnificent Menal

This  Rajasthan offbeat destination at Menal will simply floor you with its delights.

Dear readers, I have written  about another Rajasthan offbeat destination in one of my earlier posts as well but Menal is simply out of the world.

Menal is located roughly 90 kilometers from Chittorgarh  on the road to Bundi. It is also known as ‘Khajuraho of Rajasthan’. There is another great  Rajasthan  destination that has the same title- Jagat. When you reach Menal you will understand why this place makes you remember Khajuraho, this place is astoundingly beautiful.

Rajasthan offbeat destination

 

Menal is the corrupted form of ‘Mahanal’ or the ‘Great Gorge’. As you drive on the road from Kota towards the temple complex at Menal, you can hear the sound of a river rushing alongside. You simply cannot escape its roar. The river follows you as an invisible friend , hidden in the jungle that lines the road.

At Menal, the river descends 100 meters down with a deafening roar.After the descent, the water splits into a number of small streams that run over the granitic floor.

Rajasthan Offbeat Destination

At this Menal be prepared for a visual feast of verdant hills, water and a temple complex that is more than 1000 years old!The temple is devoted to Lord Shiva.

Rajasthan offbeat Destination
Nandi, the loyal secretary of Lor Dhiva

Experts say that this temple complex was built by the Chahmans or Chauhans. This was a dynasty that ruled large parts of Central and Western India. The king who made this temple was Someshwar. The main part of this temple complex is on the left bank of the gorge and was built by the king. His wife had a monastery built for the monks on the other side of the river. Her name was Suhavadevi and she belonged to the Shakambhari dynasty.

Rajasthan offbeat destination

 

The Menal complex has some amazing images of young ladies such as this one.

Rajasthan offbeat destination

The Khajuraho connect can be seen here

Rajastha offbeat destination
Carvings at the Mahanal Temple in Menal, Rajasthan, India, Asia

The Chauhans were ferocious fighters and were most of the times engaged in fratricide with fellow rulers. The most famous Chauhan was Prithviraj Chauhan who is considered by many as the king of Delhi and Ajmer. I have written a post on his fights with the king of Bundelkhand. Read it, you will like it.

What is the story of the ageless warrior of India

Menal is not known as a popular destination on the Rajasthan travel circuit. But I am sure that this quaint and pretty place gets its due attention from the travellers.

Rajasthan offbeat destination
The facade of the temple

How to reach Menal

Menal can be reached only through road. When you drive from Udaipur to Jaipur, take a detour to Kota from Chittorgarh. 10 kilometres from Chittorgarh, you will encounter another offbeat Rajasthan destination. Click here to know more about it. 

If you want to book hotels on the way, click on this Rajasthan Tourism website http://tourism.rajasthan.gov.in/ .

 

Delhi this December

Delhi this December- Discover the artist in you

Delhi this December
Can you see yourself here?

Delhi this December and for the rest of the winter season throws open its creative aspect to the numerous travelers coming to the city. If you are planning to visit India and stay in Delhi for a few days, this post will help you in exploring the unknown facets of Delhi.

While you can visit several bazaars, palaces and tombs in Delhi this December, you will be pleasantly surprised to know about the several gigs that help the artiste in you to surface. I was myself unaware of these literary ‘watering holes’ in Delhi till last year. To discover these places all you have to do is keep an eye on the events calendar- it is that simple.

1.Caferati at Antisocial- Budding poets and writers converge here every month’s last Wednesday and lay bare their souls and emotions to the assembled crowd. Participation is free but every participant must wrap up her gig in 2 minutes. For the literary inclined , it is a ‘must visit place ‘ in Delhi this December.

Delhi this December
Antisocial, Hauz Khas Village

Most of the guys here are novices and this gig in Delhi provides a platform to budding poets and writers to demonstrate their craft to Delhi. Antisocial is located on the second floor of the Hauz Khas Social restaurant in the HKV.

By the way guys and gals, this place gives an awesome view of the Hauz Khas lake.

  1. Chai Aur Chakallas- We went to this event last November and are longing to go there again. Chai aur Chakallas is definitely on our radar in Delhi this December  as well and we are just waiting for the dates to be announced . Last time the gig was hosted by Kunzum cafe and it saw more than 60 people turn up. Again, the time allotted was 2 minutes and the list of speakers was limited to just 20.
Delhi this December
Chat, sing, make friends- Kunzum Cafe

One of the travel poets is in full form here;

  1. Delhi Literary Festival- Last year, this event was hosted at the eponymous Dilli Haat. It saw several interesting speakers , publishers and even diplomats share their experiences, writings and other creative aspects. Publishing company representatives spoke about the opportunities for newbie  writers and novelists in an age of self publishing. Let us see what is the venue of this event in Delhi this December.

Watch this participant share her perspective of life in this presentation.

 

  1. The Great Indian Film and Literature Festival- This one promises to be an exciting event this December.Please note it is not being organised in Delhi. The venue is DLF Cyberhub. I hope to be here on December 3 this year. Are you planning to head here? Let me know.

 

Delhi this December
Poetry on Wheels

 

Do you know some other places where you can exploit your talent? Let me know. I shall feature those places in my next post.