Do you believe in ghosts? Do ghosts exist? These questions were uppermost in my mind when I set out for the haunted fort of Feroz Shah in Delhi.
I do not know whether there are spirits of dead people around us but I don’t disbelieve that idea either. Who am I to decide what is true and what is not?
So here I was, once again in the haunted fort of Feroz Shah.
Who was Feroz Shah?
He was the Sultan of Delhi in the 14th-century.
Have you heard about that crazy Sultan who decided to shift his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad? Feroz was that that crazy Sultan’s cousin. He was in his fifties when he became the king of Delhi after the death of his cousin, Mohammad.
Historians say that Feroz built many buildings in Delhi and one of them is the Feroz Shah Kotla complex. This complex is just next to the cricket stadium in Central Delhi.
Inside the haunted fort of Feroz Shah
So as I said, there were two reasons why I wanted to visit this haunted building.
One was to interview people who believed in ghosts.
The other was to photograph those spots which are inhabited by the spirits of dead people.
Did I succeed?
Yes. I met two people, a man and a woman, who told me about their experiences with the ghosts.
Meet Mohammad Imran from Daryaganj first.
Down in the dumps
Imran was just emerging from a dark room in the haunted fort after meeting a maulvi. The maulvi, a bearded man, had just given him some hymns to recite.
When Imran came out of that spooky room, I asked him about ghosts and djinns.
To be honest, I had half expected to answer me, a stranger.
But he surprised me with his outpourings. Profoundly.
Imran had never thought about ghosts previously. He was happily going about his business when one fine day it crashed. Imran was now on the streets looking for daily jobs that could support him and his family.
After struggling for many months, Imran heard about the djinns of Delhi’s haunted fort. He thought to himself- why not give one last try.
Imran told me he wasn’t disappointed by his decision. He came to this lonely place, met a baba and did the required rituals. When I asked him about the rituals, Imran became cagey about it. But those rituals did help him and he was once again back in the game of life.
But have you seen the djinns, I asked Imran.
No, I haven’t but I can sense their powerful presence, Imran confided in me.
After meeting Imran, I was determined to meet the baba who called the ghosts. But before that, I had to meet one other person who believed in dead spirits.
Sakina from Mumbai
Sakina was busy playing with her two young kids in the haunted building of Feroz, when I approached her.
She was a pretty woman in her 30s and was quite open and frank about the discussion.
Have you ever seen the djinns that you believe in?
No I haven’t, she told me, but I can sense them that they are here right now! And by the way, she told me, ghosts and djinns come to me in my dreams.
She continued to tell me amazing things about the dead spirits. One of them appeared before her in the form of an old man in her dreams. He instructed Sakina to wake up and gather raw laung, an Indian spice, that was spread all over in her courtyard.
When Sakina got up in the dead of the night, she indeed saw that
But as Sakina bent down to gather the leaves of
All the while, I was listening to her story not moving an inch! It was so fascinating.
The Master of the Djinns
It was time now to visit the baba who sat in one of the dark rooms of the haunted fort. He was the master of the djinns in this mysterious palace- he could order any djinn to appear before him, I was told.
Locating him wasn’t a problem
Have you seen a djinn, babaji I asked?
No I haven’t but my djinn is somewhere here in this room, he replied.
How do you know, I persisted.
Well, I can feel his presence. Earlier his spirit was living in the body buried here, he told me.
But there isn’t any grave here, babaji..
There used to be one but that grave is now gone and now the spirit of that dead peer lives here.
We talked about his experiences with ghosts and spirits and other supernatural powers but honestly, I wasn’t impressed. Nevertheless, I kept on listening. His eyes shone like small sparks of fire even as he talked. Sometimes he shivered uncontrollably.
Or maybe I don’t have the required sixth sense to feel the energy of the ghosts.
We continued talking in that small and dark room for nearly an hour. In between, he would stop suddenly, mutter to himself and resume talking. It was an enchanting conversation.
Time to go
Meanwhile, somewhere, a dog howled in pain. It was 7 pm in the evening and was too dark to be there. I decided to leave the haunted fort of Feroz Shah .
Would you like to tour this haunted building? You can write back to me if you are interested.