by Ekta Bhatnagar
Kuldhara, a village in Rajasthan, India, is believed to have been abandoned in a single night by the local Paliwal Brahmins. Excited as I was on hearing this, my next destination, before exploring the sand dunes of Jaisalmer, was the village of Kuldhara, which people believe is haunted. The Kuldhara village is on the way to the beautiful golden sand dunes of Jaisalmer. We hired a cab from our hotel, The Gateway, Jaisalmer. Our friendly driver updated us on all information that one needs to know about Kuldhara.
The story behind the village is intriguing. Our driver told us that long time back the village was full of Paliwal Brahmins. Their community can now be found in the entire state of Rajasthan. But around 500 years ago, no one knew where they vanished.
One night, the entire village of Kuldhara, and the nearby 83 villages were left abandoned. The people completely vanished, no one knew where. It is said that the Minister of the then ruling King was an evil man who had come to Kuldhara and had seen the daughter of the village chief. He fell in love with her instantly and said that the he would come to the village the next day and get married to her. He asked the villagers to make all preparations for the wedding and left. This evil minister was said to be of a huge built and coming from a low caste. No one wanted to get their children married to someone from a lower caste, that too to a person who looked like a devil! The Brahmins then decided to abandon the village. In one night, the Brahmins carried this message to the nearby villages as well. The chief of the village knew that if he refuses to give his daughters hand to the evil minister and flees away with only his family, the minister would kill every Paliwal Brahmin in Kuldhara as well as the nearby villages. Thus, they decided to abandon all the villages in one night. No one knew where so many people disappeared. The next day when the minister came for his marriage and saw the abandoned village, he tried hard to look for everyone, but in vain. It is said that he then cursed the land and thus no one can stay in the village after sunset.
When you look at Kuldhara now, you see the well planned settlements, the drainage systems, the abandoned carts, the wide streets, temples, the vacant homes, the stairs leading to the terrace, and your imagination takes you to the time when the village must have flourished with people and activities. One can imagine the hustle bustle of the once populated town and how trade used to take place in a village with narrow streets. The well planned village would have still been inhabited had it not been for the evil eyes of the minister.
An interesting part about the story is that the locals still believe the village to be haunted. There have been stories of people trying to stay behind after sunset and getting in trouble. One of which is of two Germans who had stayed back in the village after dark. They had heard stories about gold lying beneath the walls of the Kuldhara homes. Around midnight they started digging and to their luck, they did find the good old gold. But unfortunately, something happened, and they could not carry the gold with them. One of them died while the other was arrested.
How 83 villages were isolated and the people vanished in one night is still a mystery. Today the Government maintains the village of Kuldhara as a tourist site.
Author Bio: My love for travel was ignited by my father who used to take us to different places every year during school holidays. Since then I have tried to capture the places I have travelled to with my camera and the pen. I am a dreamer, a writer, a travel enthusiast, and a foodie.