About 15 Kms west of Jaisalmer a city in western Rajasthan lies the ruins of a village which was called Kuldhara. The first sight of Kuldhara village, more a town actually, sends one imagination running to the time it may have been inhabited. A well planned and wide streets ran in grids with houses opening into them. All design elements kept both aesthetics and utility in mind. A kind of a garage opened into the streets to park carts in. Temples, step wells and other structures were all signs of sound development over the centuries. The village was established in 1291 by the Paliwal Brahmins, who were a very prosperous clan and were known for their business acumen and agricultural knowledge.
For over 500 years, the village of Kuldhara was populated by about 1,500 residents. One night, they all disappeared. They didn’t die or get abducted or anything—they just left. The reason for their sudden evacuation is lost in time. According to legend, Salim Singh, the minister of the state, once visiting this village fell for the beautiful daughter of chieftain (Paliwal Brahmin) and wanted to marry her. The minister threatened the villagers that if they did not marry the girl to him, he would levy huge taxes. The chief of the village with those of other 83 adjoining villages decided to abandon and migrate elsewhere as against marrying the girl to Salim Singh. Nobody saw them leave nor did anyone figure where they went, they simply vanished.
Many stories floated around. Some say the “chudails” or ghosts walked around in the night, haunting the place. Others say that no body lived here anymore as mysterious deaths have occurred.
Any one who is planning a visit to Jaisalmer should keep aside a few hours to catch this haunted setting in the eerie desert backdrop. Recently, Saif Ali Khan’s “Agent Vinod” was shot in this ancient village.
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