Spookiest 5: India's most haunted places!
Co-host of a brand new television show that takes you to India's most haunted places, Rocky lists five that scared the living daylights out of him.
Rocky and Mayur -- better known for their show Highway on my Plate are back. Only this time they're not looking for food but rather for ghosts.
The new show -- India's Most Haunted -- premiered on NDTV Good Times recently and takes its viewers to the country's most haunted places in the country -- from Bhangar and Mussoorie to Shimla and Jamali Kamali -- and attempts to prove the presence of the supernatural in these places.
Rocky spoke with us and told us the five most haunted places they visited during the making of this show.
Image: India's most haunted places
Champawat is the famous place where Jim Corbett shot a man-eating tiger.
Lohaghat is a small town in the Champawat district. In Lohaghat is a very old bungalow called The Abbey. It belonged to the person who founded this place.
The Abbey was converted into a hospital which saw some strange goings-on like that of a doctor who would predict people's death accurately.
He would move them to this place called Mukti Kothri and the next morning they would be found dead.
There was a quandary about whether he was killing them or they were dying naturally.
No one knows. What they do know is that the Abbey was first house in the entire region and that disturbed the shrines of the devtas on that hilltop.
So the place never really flourished. There are a lot of stories of spirits and a trail of ghosts that is called bhooth ki daang where there are two spirits that walk here at night.
Interestingly the area also falls under the travel zones of two leopards and as we were to discover a huge tiger that had killed a full-grown cow about five days before we went there.
So ghost or no ghost the idea of walking down these trails is very scary.
Photographs: Official homepage of Champawat district
Tunnel no 103, Shimla-Kalka railway line
Shimla has a lot of ghost stories associated with it. There's one about tunnel number 103 on the Shimla-Kalka railway line that has the ghost of a British sahib.
The ghost in tunnel 103 is said to be one that talks back in full context with the humans he comes in contact with.
The tunnel itself is wet, damp, dingy and about 140 yards long and is quite a scary place.
It is also unique in that the spirit of the Englishman responds to humans.
There are different kinds of spirits. Most of them don't acknowledge your presence. They just appear on a particular day at a particular time and play out their part as if on a video tape -- for instance if a woman who walks in from one direction and ends up jumping in the well will do so even if you try to stop it.
If you come in her way, she will walk right through you. If there is a house built in her path, she will pass through the walls. There is nothing you can do to stop her or even if you try to talk to her, she won't respond.
But besides the tunnel itself Shimla has a lot of villages around it and the only way is to get there is by walking. There are a lot of stories about witches in the area and walking down those was quite terrifying. These trails are very, very scary. As you walk, things move around you and you can hear them. It can be frightening to walk down these trails in the nights.
Image: Shimla-Kalka railway line
Photographs: AM Hurrell / Wikimedia Commons
Jamali Kamali is an archaeological village complex in Mehrauli. It has a mosque and a tomb of two people -- Jamali and Kamali. Jamali was one of the names of a sufi saint who lived there during the rule of the Lodhis. The history of 'Kamali' is unknown but was associated with the sufi saint.
Jamali Kamali is the one place where we caught an apparition on camera. After shooting, when we went back to the editing table we discovered that there was a faint but distinct image of a woman who walked past us on the screen.
We've did not enhance it and neither did we touch it artificially because the idea of the show is to keep it as real as possible.
But before this, almost 20 years ago we had an experience that we couldn't forget. We'd gone there as boys and suddenly we heard a thud on our car. A friend looked out of the window and froze instantly. He simply couldn't react. We pulled him back in the car and we remember him being slapped by some invisible force. He was dragged in the back of the car and one of us had to pull him out.
For almost two days we could see prints of a hand on his face, that was far smaller than any of ours.
We never went back there till that day when we were shooting this episode.
Image: Jamali Kamali
Photographs: Varun Shiv Kapur / Wikimedia Commons
The Lambi Dehar Mines, Mussoorie
The Lambi Dehar mines are situated on the outskirts of Mussoorie. These used to be strip mines, lime quarries that have been shut.
In the early 1990s there were about 50,000 workers working in these mines and a lot of these people were dying of diseases.
Lime turns your lungs into stone and you die a very painful death, coughing blood etc.
The mines were shut because a lot of safety rules were being flouted and there were a lot of accidents like trucks falling off the mountains etc?
Today there is an entire city of 1500 people that has been deserted for 20 years.
Trees have grown in the houses and you can hear sounds of people hear at night. It is also very scary perhaps because it is remote, far from civilisation and has its history of haunting.
When you're driving there, cars go off the road, trucks go off the road, and there's been a mysterious helicopter crash there. So there's definitely a presence in that place.
Legend has it that there's also a witch that walks down the mountains screaming.
Photographs: Michael Scalet / Wikimedia Commons
The ruins of Bhangarh
Bhangarh, which is situated at the edge of the Sariska Tiger Reserve has a curse attached to it. There are a few versions of the story but the most popular one is that of a tantrik and the Queen Ranavati of Bhangarh who he was attracted to.
According to legends, the tantrik mixed some potion into the princess' perfume that would make her attracted to him.
As luck would have it, the princess learnt about the plan and poured the perfume on a stone.
The stone then flew and landed on the tantrik and crushed him to death
Just as he was dying, the tantrik cursed the city and said that there would be no roof standing in Bhangarh.
Soon after, the kingdom of Bhangarh went to battle with its neighbouring state of Asafgarh that caused the ruin of the two cities.
Today, even though there are a few temples left in Bhangarh there are no roofs on houses. The houses in the surrounding areas have roofs of straw to this day.
When we went there we could feel a great sense of unease in the area. Besides, there were three inexplicable things that happened.
The first was the sound of footsteps that I most positively heard behind me. When I turned around, I there was no one behind me.
Then there were eerie sounds like screams coming from the hills that we picked on audio sensors.
Finally, there was this incident where we discovered that some invisible force was pelting stones at us. We were in an open field and there was no one for over 70-80 yards that we could see. And yet from the trajectory and the size of the stones, we realised they couldn't have been coming from further than 20 yards.
These three incidents pretty much sealed it for us. Bhangarh was inarguably the scariest place we visited.
Image: The ruins of Bhangarh
Photographs: Dan Lundberg