A Visit to Bhangarh

The only ghost that remains in Bhangarh is the ghost of the city itself. Like a lost and forgotten spirit it lies quietly at the foot of arid hills, trapped by a lifeless, crumbling body. India's most haunted place is indeed haunted, not by sinister spectres or murderous ghouls but by the terrible and constant authority of time. This abstract oppressor hangs over the broken city, a ruthless dictator that cannot be defeated. 
And besides the eternal pressure of time, Bhangarh is a reminded of another great tormentor of life and freedom: superstition. 
It is not clear how the stories of Bhangarh began. But now the powdered fort is a self-serving myth and every Ram, Shyam and Mary who visits has a strange story to tell, aided undoubtedly by confirmation bias. The scratching of a starving rodent searching for food in the garbage becomes a hollow, soft whisper of a bitter spirit, once a princess of breathless beauty (as princesses generally are) who was murdered in her sleep by a tainted lover. Once a lamp was lit and forgotten: overnight, the carelessness of a plump priest became a sign of the presence of the ghost of the temple. This ghost appears only after sunset (presumably using the day to catch up on some light reading) and freezes people in the their tracks for a few seconds, before letting them carry on and spread the story on Wikipedia. 
It is perhaps a harmless phenomenon, providing excitement and adventure for people for whom the stark, stony beauty of a crumbled civilisation isn't enough to satisfy their thirsty minds (quenched only by the easy excitement of supernatural intoxicants). For these credulous creatures, the abstract notions of the acidic power of time, the dissolvable flesh of men and the impermanence of granite and stone are not exciting enough by themselves but have to be cloaked in the forced and false mysteries of ghosts and spirits to provide some entertainment. 
Most people are happy enough to casually consider these stories and move on. But when real mysteries are replaced by easy and false sound-bytes it tends to take away from the value of a place, especially when the place is an archeological treasure. There are real mysteries in Bhangarh, and real beauty to be found in the halved buildings and fallen walls. The answers to these questions contain far greater rewards than the cheap thrills of made up ghost stories. 

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