Out of the 200 million blogs online, you will never find a story such as this-the story of the haunted palace of Ranthambore. Want to lay a bet?Then, read on…
The year was 1992 and I was offered a trip by my father , who headed a department of the Central Government of India , to Ranthambore.I agreed and as it turned out, this trip proved to be one of a lifetime.
About Haunted Ranthambore
Ranthambore is best known for its tiger sanctuary. Located in the south eastern part of Rajasthan, the sanctuary derives its name from the towering fort that overlooks the jungle. This fort, Ranthambore , is one of the strongest and oldest forts of India and for a long time it evaded conquest by invaders who eyed it because of its strategic location.
Ranthambore is located a few kilometres away from the railhead of Sawai Madhopur which is an important railway junction on the Delhi-Bombay route.
This place is actually a part of the Vindhyas, one of the oldest mountains in India, if not the world. Several years ago, the valley of Ranthambore was teeming with wildlife comprising species of tigers, leopards, hyenas, bear, deer, crocodiles and birds. Incessant hunting by the British and the Indian Maharajahs led to a drastic fall in the numbers of tigers and leopards till the time when the Indian Government realised the problem.Now, after new measures regarding conservation of wild life have been started, the wild life figures have improved, significantly.
The Haunted Fort of Ranthambore
Yes, this fort is haunted.It gives a sense of weirdness when you walk around its walls. And, there is a reason to why it generates such a feeling.
Nearly 800 years ago, the fort was ruled by an Indian king, Hammir or Hamir.He was a brave and gallant ruler who had a big heart towards all who came and sought refuge under him.Hamir would never say no to such people.
During that time, Delhi was under Sultan Alauddin Khilji and he was a cruel man.One of his officials drew the ire of the Sultan and had to flee from Delhi. The official escaped to Ranthambore and was promptly given refuge by the large hearted Hamir.
The ire of Sultan
When Khilji came to know about this, he asked Hamir to return the official.The demand was promptly rejected by the proud Rajput king. Khilji persisted with his demand, Hamir again said a firm NO! War was imminent…
..and finally declared by the Sultan of Delhi.
A large army from Delhi came down to Ranthambore and surrounded it on all sides.
Now, Ranthambore was not a picnic spot for Khilji.It was a vast fort, located on a hill and surrounded by jungles and valleys.Hamir was safe and comfortable and had a lot of food and supplies to fall back upon, so he did not have to worry.Days passed.One month led to another.There were no signs of Khilji going away and Hamir was dead set against giving away the fugitive official to Khilji.
Signs of Desperation
As time passed by, Hamir realized that the siege had to be broken. He was running out of supplies. A quick decision had to be taken so, Hamir called for a meeting with his ministers and asked for their opinion. Everyone agreed that a surprise attack on the Sultan was the need of the hour and it had to be done in secrecy.
So, one dark night, when the world was sleeping soundly , Hamir led a crack team of his commandos and launched a guerilla attack on the Sultan’s men.The enemy was surprised and was quickly routed away. Some members of Hamir’s commando force were also killed but ultimately, it was the Rajput who prevailed. But, as Hamir was preparing to return to his fort, an unexpected event happened that turned the tide against him.
The treacherous minister
Hamir had a minister who was a turncoat. He was a spy for Khilji and lived a life of secrecy and stealth in Ranthambore.
When the turncoat heard of Hamir’s return to the fort, he plotted a deadly conspiracy. The minister went to Hamir’s family and told it of the “death of their King”.Now, the family did not suspect that the minister was a spy and that he was lying! Grief quickly swept over the members of the family and they took a horrendous decision. Since, there was no King now, the grieving mother and daughter jumped over the walls of their palace into the adjoining lake and committed suicide!
This lake is called “Padam Talao” and you can still see when you visit the Ranthambore fort.
When, the victorious King returned to his palace , he was met with a crowd of wailing relatives.Now, they were surprised at seeing his “ghost” and he in turn could not comprehend the sorrow all around.
When , the matter were clarified to him, Hamir was overcome with a sense of desperation.”Who should I live for?”., he wondered aloud. He had no family now, even though he was the winner in the battle.Should I rejoin my family in their after life, he wondered, and leapt down from the balcony of his palace to the valley below, to his death.
Another version of the story says that Hamir, upon learning the death of his daughter and wife decided to fight the final battle against Alauddin Khilji.He fought until his death in that battle.
The traitor is still remembered by the residents of the fort. His image in stone is spat and kicked upon by the locals for his cowardly act. The name of the ungrateful and coward spy was Ratipal and he was bribed by Khilji with the offer of the kingdom of Ranthambore.
The Haunted Palace of Hamir
When, I visited this palace in 1992, the guard would not let us in. He told us that the palace has been locked for several years now because it is a haunted place. People have heard sobs and screams and whispers come from inside the palace. Nobody has seen the “ghosts” but, sure it is one eerie place to be in..A few years ago, someone had lost his mental balance in the palace so, the government was clear that it was not allowing anyone enter this haunted palace of Ranthambore.
If you go to this fort, you will agree with me that this place is indeed a strange place.With so much devastation, murders and killings in this fort, it is not surprising that Ranthambore does have an eerie surrounding.
Interested in visiting the haunted places in India?You may write to me and I can guide you around.