The 'ghosts' of Bhuli Bhatiyari

Type the words Bhuli Bhatiyari ka Mahal on popular search engines and the one word that recurs in all the references to this abandoned lodge is ‘haunted’. A considerably new entrant into the list of the haunted places of Delhi, the claims of paranormal activity within its precincts range from unexplained noises to shuffling activity at night, as experienced and reported by the locals.

Located behind the Hanuman Mandir near the Jhandewalan Metro Station, there are numerous reports dictating the history of this place. One part common to all of them is that this place was built as a hunting lodge in the 14th century by Feroz
Shah Tughlaq.

So, how did the place actually get its name and why is it said to be spooked? The different claims range from the monument being named after Bu Ali Bakhtiyari, who was a saint that resided in the inbuilt quarters of the lodge.

However, one day, the saint mysteriously disappeared and that is when the ghosts invaded the place. Another claim says that it was named after a neglected queen, Bhatiyari, who resided in the quarters too. It is also said that the place has been cursed by a faqir. A lot of other spooky stories have added to the ghostly mystique of this place.
For the young adventurers, such places are like honey to the bees. Looking to experience some real and credible spook, youngsters flock to such places during odd hours with friends, or even alone. Metrolife too took a detour from the usual hullabaloo of the metropolitan to check out the various eerie claims of the place.

While asking for the directions to the Mahal, one man came up and advised us against venturing to the place. Despite being pestered, he did not reveal the reasons merely warning us that it wasn’t safe for people to go in there and walked off.

Undeterred, we sought directions and made our way to the haunted Mahal. The path to the place is surrounded by forest on both sides. It is a desolate and lonely place, and not many people could be seen apart from some young boys. There is a car sales centre and we stopped to ask the guard about the haunting.

“Yes, there have been claims about weird things happening to the visitors. However, I myself have never really experienced anything, even at night. People come here, youngsters especially, to experience the haunting first hand. However, you tell me, when you go to a quiet, abandoned and ruined place at lonely hours you get spooked yourself. It is all in the mind,” he sagely tells Metrolife.

The owner of the car sales centre, Sandeep also chirps in and says “I, too, haven’t
experienced anything myself. Yes, people who come here do claim...”

“It’s all psychological!” the guard interrupts him.

Still, we could not leave the place without visiting after coming this far. We continued our journey, and the place was so quiet that the silence was deafening. The place was in
a shambles.

Walking ahead we encountered Chhannu, the ex-guard of the place who’d been there since 34 years. He tried to stop us from going ahead saying, “There is nothing in here... except the dilapidated monument which is not haunted at all! Some fools uploaded false information on the internet about the place being haunted which has attracted a lot of visitors to this place. People usually go back disappointed. I’ve spent countless nights alone and my little girls have grown up playing at the Mahal. Nothing ever happened to them or me,” he tells Metrolife.

The structure is in total ruins overwhelmed by weeds and plants all around. It has gates, which might have been grand at one time, and they lead to small rectangular  rooms referred to as sarai.  These served as lodgings for the hunters. It also had a
well which is dried up and has been covered by the authorities now.

Although myths and stories, real or imagined, continue to circulate on the web, the locals we met denied any spooky occurrences, saying that it was “all a hoax to attract more tourists.” The atmosphere was no doubt eerie, but apart from that, no ghost or spirits hovered anywhere around us. Maybe it is all in the psyche, but curiosity can never be sated. You can also make a trip, the place is free of both ghosts and entry fee!

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