The Palliwal Brahmins

Another story from India’s rural ghost graveyard, the Paliwal Brahmins, residing in the village of Kuldhara was a prosperous society 18 kilometres from the city of Jaisalmer, although they lived in the middle of the Thar, they had adequate water and food supplies for sustaining a decent standard of living and maintaining good working conditions. However, the village was abandoned overnight, the reason remains unknown to date. Theorists and locals have come up varying stories and accounts, each of which contradicts the other. The scariest, intriguing and perhaps attractive aspect of this story is that the village is now associated with fiendish spirits and the paranormal. There are tales of hidden treasure in abandoned tunnels below the village, none who have wandered down into those tunnels have ever returned.

The village of Kuldhara was taken under its wing by the government of Rajasthan in 2010, since then, it has escalated as a tourist destination. All stories about the brahmins are different, but one thing is the same, the villagers used secret tunnels to abandon the villages and they cursed the village, restricting anyone to ever prosper in it. Since 2000, many people have tried to reside in the village but then have fallen prey to gruesome events. The first account, popular amongst locals relates to a harsh ruler or samrath. Salim Singh, the samrath of Jaisalmer, a harsh and wanton ruler wanted the daughter of the village chief. Kuldhara village decided not to give him the chief’s daughter. In response, the samrath levied harsh taxes and laws on the village, forcing the villagers to live at a lower standard of living. Then, he sent two guards to the village, they asked the villagers to hand over their daughter and the villagers told the guards that they will do so in the morning. Then, locals claim that the entire population of the village abandoned Kuldhara during the night using secret tunnels below the village surface. Locals also say that the Paliwals had vast quantities of gold coins, but they weighed a lot so the villagers hid them in the secret tunnels, inspiring many people to search for them decades later, people who never returned.

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However, the more urban and rational part of the Indian society thinks that the village was abandoned due to earthquakes. This might be true and would be in my favour too, my recent trip to the abandoned village was enough to convince me of the earthquake theory, despite the number of complete and habitable buildings, most had clusters of rock at their bases and missing columns and roofs. Geologists also confirmed that the approximated date of the village being abandoned was in accordance with seismologic activity around the area. An earthquake would’ve destroyed crucial infrastructure such as water canals and irrigation channels, hampering their trade, leading them to abandon the village.

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The abandoned village of Kuldhara has a strong link with the paranormal too. People who have gone there during nighttime see moving shadows, hear children wailing and often see eyes glaring at them out of the darkness. In response to these rumours, spurred on by locals, the government decided to send and commission the Indian Paranormal society in order to check out the village. The society confirmed that there was a presence of the supernatural in the village. One society member denied any claims that the village was haunted by ghosts, he died a month later. At the end of their trip, the society was flying a drone during nighttime in order to take photos of the village, when the drone entered the airspace above the village, it crashed due to unknown reasons. Locals say that the spirits in the village didn’t want the drone to take photographs.

However, it is possible that these are just rumours that have been spurred on by the locals and the government in order to attract more tourists and earn more money.

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