The Haunted Nights of DelhiIf you think Delhi is only for the living you are wrong. With so many years of history behind it, Delhi is also home to many departed souls. They may have left their gross body, but their love for this wonderful city did not allow them to leave Delhi.
They are still here, in the nooks and corners of the town. Rubbish you think? Indeed even I never believed in these stories until the night I came face to face with one of them.
My First Encounter with the Departed SoulsIf you are a resident of Delhi or even a visitor here, you must have been to Mehrauli. It is one of the seven ancient cities that make up today’s Delhi. Qutub Complex, which houses the famous Qutub Minar is one of the most important places of tourist interest in this region. Apart from the world famous Qutub Minar, the complex also houses quite a few ancient mosques, mausoleums and tombs. Unfortunately, visitors do not generally venture beyond Qutub Minar. Neither did I; at least not until that fateful night.
We did not know that it was a New Moon night. Frankly speaking, we would not have bothered even if we did; amavasya, spooks and all such things did not mean anything to us. Anyway, it was late in the afternoon, when we reached the complex. As we loitered around inspecting the tombs belonging to the different emperors of India we were filled with a queer feeling. At least I felt that I had taken a ride in the time machine and gone several centuries back into the world of Iltutmish and other Sultans of Delhi.
The sun soon reached the horizon and my friends decided it was time to go back. Yet, there was lot more to see and I could not really make myself to leave that place. I took permission from the office of the Archeological Department. Although they advised me not to, I was determined to stay back. I bid my friends farewell and ventured on. When I reached Jamali Kamali Mosque it was pitch dark.
Adjacent to the Jamali Kamali Mosque are the twin tombs of Sufi saint Shaikh Hamid bin Fazlullah, also known as Shaikh Jamali Kamboh and his disciple Kamali. I sat down near the tomb thinking about the Sufi movement in India when all of a sudden I noticed a red triangle glowing above the tomb. Red Triangle? Suddenly I felt a chill in my spine! Red Triangle? I remembered, in Tantrik cult red triangles play a very significant role. But what is it doing in tomb of a Sufi Saint?
Suddenly I heard animals growling ferociously as if telling me to get lost; that I have intruded in a very private world. I wanted to run away; but believe me, I could not even move! I sat there shivering… when all of a sudden somebody slapped me real hard and pushed me out in the open. Then everything became quite. I sat there stupefied. I could not believe what had happened was really true, that I have not imagined them; but neither did I have the courage to go back and check.
My Second Encounter with the Departed
Back home my rational mind could not accept that I had been slapped and pushed in a place where no other living being was present. However, my experience seemed too real to doubt. Was there really anything called ghost? I began to enquire about different haunted places in Delhi. My inquiries revealed startling factors. To my surprise I found that I was not alone; many people have had similar experience at Jamali Kamali! Moreover, there are quite a few haunted places in Delhi. I chose Lothian Cemetery for my next adventure.
Lothian Cemetery is located at a distance of half a kilometer from Kashmiri Gate on Lothian Road. It is said to be city’s oldest cemetery and many Britishers who had died in India’s First War of Independence have been buried here. If you are interested in century old graves, this is the place to go during the day time; but I chose night time because I was interested in ghosts, not in their graves.
I had deliberately chosen a moonless night. Even in the darkness I could make out graves and crosses all around. I was trying to find about the ancient Celtic cross that I had read about when I suddenly saw a rider riding towards me. I was stunned. However, this time I was prepared and immediately knew that this was the ghost of General Nicholson, who rises from his grave at night time riding around in the cemetery. He however, did not even look at me and frankly speaking I was quite relieved.
Yet, I loitered around hoping to meet another ghost who frequently comes out of his grave. I have read so much about this headless ghost. He was actually a British soldier who shot himself because his ladylove left him for somebody else. I had heard that he comes out of his grave at night and loiters around Kashmiri Gate for some time before disappearing into his grave. I do not know if I was relieved or disappointed when he failed to turn up that night. Nonetheless, I resolved never to visit graveyards at night. It was truly scary.
Some Other Firsthand Encounters I heard about
Nonetheless, my curiosity about life-after increased manifold and I started making in-depth inquiry. I learnt about Sanjay Van located between Vasant Kunj and Mehrauli. An ornithologist I know went there for bird watching. Why he spent the night there I do not exactly know; but he swears that he had really seen a woman in white saree swinging from an old pupil tree.
Khooni Darwaza, located near Delhi Gate on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg is another place to search for ghosts. This is the place where the three sons of Bahadur Shah Zafar were shot dead by one William Hodson. People have indeed seen blood dripping from its ceiling and heard the cry of the princes at night. However, further inquiry revealed that such blood drips only in the monsoon, but the cries are genuine.
My inquiries also revealed another interesting story about another woman in white. It is believed she was a hitch hiker who got lost in the bushes in the Cantonment area and subsequently died. Many motorists have seen her; she comes out of the bushes asking for a lift. Since nobody gives her the lift, she chases them, often picking up the speed of the vehicle. Otherwise she is quite harmless.
An abandoned house in the Greater Kailash area is another of the eerie joints. My friends residing nearby have told me that an elderly couple has been murdered and left rotting in that house. They say that they have heard sounds of sobbing coming out of the house in the middle of the night. However, they never mastered the courage to investigate any further.
(Fullara Nag, a resident of West Bengal, who visited Delhi, describes her experience here.)
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