Do you love horror movies and believe in ghosts? If yes, then we have this list of 10 places in India you should visit.
Whether there are real ghosts or any other paranormal activities at these places is anyone’s guess.
However, people from India and abroad claim to have seen ghosts- or rather- spirits of people long dead, haunt some of the most commonly known places in India.
List of 10 Most Haunted Places in India and Their Stories
1. Bhangarh Fort (Alwar, Rajasthan)
Bhangarh Fort has a long reputation of being the most haunted places in India. This 17th century fort was built by ruler Bhagwant Singh for his son Madho Singh. Located near Alwar, Rajasthan, there are several eerie tales about this fort.
Legend says a hermit named Baba Balak Nath lived in the area around the fort. The hermit issued a diktat that no house that is taller than the fort should be built in the vicinity.
He claimed, should the shadow of this house fall upon the fort, the entire town of Bhangarh would be cursed and destroyed.
A black magic practitioner in the town fell in love with one of the princesses of Bhangarh named Ratnavati. Knowing that it would be impossible to marry her, the wizard enticed her to the weekly Bhangarh market. There, he gave her a love potion.
Ratnavati suspected the man and refused to consume the love potion. She threw the metal cup on a nearby boulder in anger.
The boulder is claimed to have rolled, crushed and killed the wizard. While in death throes, the wizard cursed the princess and Bhangarh.
Shortly after that, Bhangarh was captured by Mughal forces. The entire town was pillaged and plundered. Most residents died in the siege, including the royal family residing inside the fort. Princess Ratnavati was also killed in the siege.
Legend states the spirits of Ratnavati and the wizard haunt the town and the adjoining fort. Locals have reported seeing apparitions of the two even during daylight hours.
One legend states, the princess committed suicide rather than fall into hands of Mughal soldiers.
Her ghost can be heard wailing in pain inside the fort. Various attempts at exorcism of Bhangarh and its surrounding areas that are haunted have reportedly failed. The haunting continues. Few people live in the area surrounding the fort.
2. Shaniwar Wada (Pune)
Shaniwar Wada or Shanivar Wada is perhaps the most famous historical monuments of Pune, the seat of ancient Maratha Empire and Peshwa rulers.
This Wada is also one of the most haunted places in India which are located within Pune city, in densely populated areas including Kasba Peth.
This grand monument was built in the year 1730 as a residence for Bajirao Peshwa and is located on banks of River Mutha.
Shaniwar Wada was the residence and administrative seat of the Peshwas till they lost power to British invaders of the Indian subcontinent.
Despite its grandeur and historical importance, Peshwas residing at Shaniwar Wada were victims of various tragedies.
Shortly after occupying Shaniwar Wada, ruler Bajirao Peshwa-I died of prolonged illness.
His son, Nanasaheb Peshwa claimed power. Several children born to Nanasaheb Peshwa died in infancy under mysterious circumstances.
Three of his children- Vishwasrao, Madhavrao and Narayanrao survived infantile death.
After Nanasaheb Peshwa passed away, Vishwasrao became the ruler, angering his brother Raghunathrao and his wife, Anandibai.
However, they were forced to put aside their differences to face a more significant threat posed by an alliance of Afghan invaders and their Indian vassals.
Vishwasrao was martyred in one of the battles while Madhavrao, who made war strategies blamed himself for his brother’s death and rout and later, succumbed to depression.
Anandibai, wanting her husband to be the next ruler, decided to eliminate Vishwasrao’s heir, Narayanrao.
Consequently, she altered a command to arrest Narayanrao to read like an execution order.
When soldiers came to execute Narayanrao, he ran to his uncle, begging for his life.
The words “Kaka mala vachwa” (Save me uncle) in Marathi can be heard reverberating through Shaniwar Wada at various times of the day, till date.
However, there are doubts over this claim too. For several years, Shaniwar Wada was given a wide berth by superstitious residents of Pune.
Consequently, its halls and alleys became a den for criminals, alcoholics and drug addicts.
It is suspected, these persons fuelled the myth and would shout the phrase “Kaka mala vachwa,” to prevent police and other people from entering the monument.
3. Three Kings Church (Cansaulim, Goa)
Three Kings Church is a haunted place located near the famous Cansaulim beach of South Goa. It was built in 17th Century by inquisitionists from Portugal.
The church itself was made in an austere manner since Portuguese rulers of Goa did not have several natural resources such as marble and high-quality stone.
Flanked by Marathas on one side, Tipu Sultan and other Indian rulers on all sides, the Portuguese could not source material from outside Goa.
The Three Kings Church was named in honour of the three rulers that travelled to Bethlehem to see Jesus Christ when he was born and shower him with gifts.
According to a legend surrounding the Three Kings Church, the shrine was witness to a heinous crime committed by three Portuguese generals.
Each of these three Portuguese generals wanted to rule Cansaulim and nearby areas. Hence, they went to the church to find an amicable solution.
However, one of these generals was avaricious and murdered his counterpart with poisoned food and drink.
The other general got suspicious and tried to escape unsuccessfully.
The surviving general, who had committed the murders, was overwhelmed by fear and guilt. He committed suicide at the shrine.
According to local residents, spirits of these three generals who wanted to be kings continues to haunt the shrine and sometimes, wander into the village.
The bodies of these Portuguese soldiers are said to be interred beneath the church floor.
People report seeing these apparitions, particularly after sunset and shun going near the church. This story is most likely a myth too.
The Roman Catholic faith has well-defined exorcism rituals to rid any person or place suspected to be possessed or haunted.
Secondly, the location of this shrine and its surrounding rainforest lend the area a spooky look. No tourist has ever seen these ghosts.
4. Hadalicha Palna (Boisar, near Mumbai)
Ask any resident of Boisar, a bustling and upcoming industrial township near Mumbai about this horror place in India, and you will be immediately shunned.
Nobody in and around Boisar wants to talk of this place because of its notoriety for being haunted.
According to legend, backwaters of the Arabian Sea once flowed into the area where a small plantation of trees and paddy fields now stand. Infants that died prematurely were buried near these backwaters.
Additionally, young children that strayed into the water would drown. Some residents also claim this deserted area was used by parents to dump an unwanted female child.
Hadalica Palna (Cradle of a Female Ghost) is actually a dense banyan tree that stands amidst paddy fields and marshy land, about 10km from Boisar railway station.
Its vines and leaves are twisted in the form of a cradle. During strong winds, these vines sway, making the sound of a rusty metal cradle.
There were some efforts by various Ghostbusters and organisations opposed to superstition to prove that Hadalicha Palna is nothing more than a natural phenomenon.
However, some local residents claim, researchers from this organisation fled at full speed when they went near tree trunk and looked upwards.
Nobody has documented what they saw. Locals of the area continue to shun Hadalicha Palna and its surrounding area even in daylight; thus making it an abandoned place in India.
5. D’Souza Chawl (Mumbai)
This is most likely an urban legend. D’Souza Chawl is an old residential complex located in Mahim suburb of Mumbai and considered to be a haunted place in Mumbai.
A familiar story about this building is the ghost of a middle-aged woman that can be seen during all parts of the day and appears suddenly to unsuspecting visitors.
The story claims, this woman was a resident of the building. She fell into a well while drawing water and drowned. The body lay in the well for several hours, still being spotted by other residents.
According to the story, an image of this woman can be seen moving around the building during the day and night hours.
This ghost is supposed to be harmless. The woman’s spirit does not harass or scare anyone away. However, people have claimed it can pass through walls and doors and vanish suddenly.
It is highly unlikely that D’Souza Chawl is haunted. However, being an ancient construction and its unique architecture, the place can have a gloomy look during twilight hours and cloudy days.
The premises is bustling with activity almost 24/7, and hence, any spook has apparently failed to scare its inmates.
6. Fort Williams (Kolkata)
Fort Williams located in Kolkata was witness to a very unfortunate event in the war between Nawab Siraj Ud Daulah of Bengal and soldiers of the British East India Company.
Following a battle on June 20, 1756, Bengali troops imprisoned some 164 captured soldiers in a dungeon left by retreating British forces, later named Black Hole of Kolkata.
The Nawab had also assured the British commanders that he and the soldiers would not come to any harm.
However, Bengali guards at the fort neglected these soldiers.
Overwhelmed by heat, humidity and dehydration caused because of failure to provide drinking water; some 143 soldiers died in the dungeon overnight.
Their screams and pleas to be let out into a bigger room or be supplied with drinking water fell on deaf ears. Their bodies were discovered the following day and thrown into a ditch.
Though nobody visits Fort Williams at night, it is claimed that shrieks and pleas, supposedly of these dead soldiers can be heard every night.
The Black Hole of Kolkata is suspected to be a haunted place in India.
Though the event is well documented in Indian and British history, there is an excellent ambiguity over the actual number of soldiers that were incarcerated in the dungeon.
Therefore, there is no way to know how many perished or survived.
History also documents that efforts were made to bribe the Nawab’s guards to move these prisoners to more liveable premises.
The reason that Black Hole of Kolkata hauntings could be a myth is credible because of nobody ventures near the place for any reason after dark.
The area is closed to the public, and hence, it is impossible anyone could have actually heard cries for help and water.
7. Jagatpura (Rajasthan)
This small residential township in Rajasthan has the unique distinction of being the scariest place in India. Being away from the tourist circuit, it does not get many visitors.
Nor are there any monuments worth visit or bazaars that attract shoppers.
However, there are ghost stories of various types, including women attired like ancient queens and princesses, witches and white clad spooks making rounds of the town after dark.
Most locals in this township will swear to have witnessed at least one apparition of a woman attired in dresses that existed several centuries ago.
This may sound very attractive for a ghost hunter or myth buster. But overall, the township has a sleepy and laidback ambience.
Dimly lit houses, wide empty spaces and sounds of crickets and other nocturnal insects lends this place a spooky ambience.
8. Kempegowda International Airport (Bangalore)
Nobody would expect ghosts at a bustling international airport in India which is located in an ultramodern city like Bangalore, the hub of India’s IT industry.
However, Kempegowda International Airport of Bangalore, that has won several accolades is claimed to be a haunted place in India.
Surprisingly, this ghost does not loiter in the passenger area, waiting for halls, smoking zones or other locations of the airport. Instead, it is seen by passengers that are taking off from the airport.
Pilots and crew of several airlines claim to have seen a woman clad in white standing on the runway. This apparition vanishes as the aircraft approaches.
There are no credible reasons why a dead woman’s spirit should come to haunt an airport.
Some locals residing near the airport claim, a woman was run over by an aircraft when she went to drive away her cow that had strayed on the runway.
Others claim it could be the spirit of some woman who died on board an aircraft arriving or taking off from Bangalore.
Yet others believe, it is the ghost of a woman who wanted to travel abroad, after being left behind by her family for some reason.
An interesting fact is that there are similar reports in the US and elsewhere about apparitions on or along the runway.
According to psychiatrists, this phenomenon is actually an optical illusion caused by high speeds of an aircraft preparing to take off: it makes ordinary airport installations, and paint appear like ghosts.
9. Delhi Cantonment (New Delhi)
There are various ghost stories in India surrounding the Delhi Cantonment area. While some claim to have seen a woman attired in white that vanishes as you approach.
Others say they have witnessed soldiers clad in uniforms of yesteryears stroll on the streets past midnight.
Motorists say they have been stopped by unknown hitchhikers that disappear when the car slows down while passing through the area.
Regardless of the veracity of these reports, the Delhi Cantonment area is just the right place for ghost stories to run rife. This sprawling area has several open spaces and old buildings.
During nights, there are not many people on the streets. Hence, such stories get credence, though paranormal activity would be missing.
10. Taj Mahal Palace Hotel (Mumbai)
The last one to showcase as a haunted place in India is the legendary Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.
Speaking of the incredible, this five-star hotel in India which was targeted by Pakistan trained and sponsored terrorists on November 26, 2008, has its own ghost story.
According to legend, the chief architect of this historic hotel, an Englishman named WA Chambers went missing on its premises in 1903.
Despite police inquiries and thorough investigation, mortal remains of Chambers were never found nor was it known where he had gone.
Former employees of Taj Mahal Palace hotel claim having seen the ghost of Chambers walking through the hotel’s passages and lobbies.
They claim the apparition is Chamber’s ghost based on contemporary clothing. Incidentally, the hotel was briefly converted into a military hospital during World War-I.
Thousands of Indian and foreign guests have stayed at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Scores of these were eminent personalities.
However, none have ever mentioned any spooky incidences or occurrences at the hotel.
As we mentioned earlier, it is purely your belief whether ghosts or anything paranormal exists and their effect on human life.
While millions of Indians and foreigners swear having seen paranormal activities in India, others vehemently deny their existence.
Some take a balanced view and neither deny or confirm their presence.
Generally, rumours and gloomy ambience of a place tend to fuel ghost stories in India.
There are ghost hunters and Ghostbusters around the world. Neither party has proved the other right or wrong.
However, stories of ghosts and hauntings add thrill to our otherwise mundane lives. Hence, you can visit some of these places to get the first-hand experience.
But a word of caution before we conclude. Several times, ghost stories are spread by people with ulterior motives.
They create such stories and scenarios for criminal purposes like land grabbing, unfair competition with business rivals, committing robberies in desolate places or to keep people away from a particular area.
Regardless of what you believe, exercise caution while visiting some of these haunted places in India for your personal safety.