kuldhara

The village of Kuldhara is popularly known to be a deserted ghost village that has been abandoned since 1800s. It is said to carry a curse of the villagers who vanished from there overnight, after having lived there for over 7 centuries.
The village lies in ruins, established in 1291 by the Paliwal Brahmins, who were a very prosperous clan and were known for their business acumen and agricultural knowledge. It has been said that one night in 1825 all the people in Kuldhara and nearby 83 villages vanished in dark. All of a sudden and without any warning.
Tales about this mystery include the fact that Salim Singh, the minister of the state, once visited this village and fell in love with the beautiful daughter of chieftain wanting to marry her. The minister threatened the villagers by saying that if they did not marry the girl to him, he would levy huge taxes. The chief of the village along with those of adjoining villages decided to abandon and migrate elsewhere to protect the girl’s honour. Nobody saw them leave nor did anyone figure where they went, they simply vanished. It is said that the villagers also cast a spell on the village as they left, cursing anyone who tried to inhabit the land.

Kuldhara story is one of the weirdest and inspiring stories I’ve ever heard. About 15 Km. west of Jaisalmer a city in western Rajasthan lies the ruins of a village which was called Kuldhara. The first sight of Kuldhara village, more a town actually, sends one imagination running to the time it may have been inhabited. A well planned settlement, the straight and wide streets ran in grids with houses opening into them. All design elements kept both aesthetics and utility in mind. A kind of a garage opened into the streets to park carts in. Temples, step wells and other structures were all signs of sound development over the centuries.

Kuldhara was the name of the largest village in this community consisting of 84 villages.  The village was established in 1291 by the Paliwal Brahmins and was a rather prosperous community due to their ability to grow bumper crops in the rather arid desert.  Paliwal bhramins were a very prosperous clan and were known for their business acumen and agricultural knowledge. But one night in 1825 all the people in Kuldhara and nearby 83 villages vanished in dark. Why did the villagers decide to leave their settlement after having lived there for more that 7 centuries.

The evil dewan or the minister in the ruling kingdom saw the young daughter of the village chief. He wanted to marry her and forced the village chief for marrying his daughter. He gave them a deadline for the marriage after which he would forcefully enter the village and take their daughter. All the chiefs of 84 villages met one night and for pride and honor decided to leave the villages in the dark of the night.

Nobody knows where they went but it is believed that they settled near Jodhpur another city in western Rajasthan. Though nobody knows exactly how they did it, everybody in all of the 84 villages completely disappeared that very night. Nobody saw them leave or figured out where they went – they simply vanished. It is believed that they cast a curse over the village as they departed that would bring death to anyone who tried to inhabit the land. It is likely that this is the reason why so much of the ancient village still remains (though mostly in rubble, but not stripped for materials). The crumbling brick structures span out towards all directions and a ghostly silence is all that lives on there. There are still some double storeyed houses that are intact and the awestruck tourist can well visualise how life went on in Kuldhara, ages ago.
Today the ruins of these villages can still be seen in western Rajasthan and are now tourist sites. The government today maintains the ruins as a heritage site. A walk through the village is akin to wandering onto the sets of a ghost movie. Only, this one is for real. Any one who is planning a visit to Jaisalmer should keep aside a few hours to catch this haunted setting in the eerie desert backdrop. Recently, Saif Ali Khan’s “Agent Vinod” was shot in this ancient village.