Phew! Nothing like December for new launches and such has been the launch of the latest "haunted" destination in New Delhi, Bhuli Bhatiyari ka Mahal in the Northern Ridge at Jhandewalan. Drum rolls!
I have not been able to confirm it from any historian as yet but the structure clearly seems older than the time of Bu Ali Bakhtiyari, after whom this structure is rumoured to have been named. Another rumour claims it was named after a queen, Bhatiyari. But the essence is that the structure was used as a hunting lodge by Feroz Shah Tughlaq. It has clear references to Rajputana architecture, although even Mughal and Slave dynasty rulers had hunting lodges similar to the Rajputs.
The fame of the place seems to have preceded the long line of visitors to follow as a signboard clearly instructs visitors to leave by 4 pm (not wanting to wait till sunset!). The same seems to have been the thought behind any visitor who strays into the grounds. An overgrowth, brown and rotting when we arrived, added the element of morbid to the surroundings. The ruins are very exciting to explore with some of th walls and pillars still standing. Some efforts of renovation show in places like the little outback on the elevated level inside the Palace. Although scribbled on by some hooligan with a sense of humour, "I AM WAITING", there is clear evidence of more than fair share of visitors to the structure.
Much of the spread lies covered by the overgrowth and is quite distracting to a curious eye. I was more concerned by the presence of snakes than spirits at the Mahal. In fact, I believe I could have enjoyed the ambience a lot more had the place just been cleaned up a bit. Haunted or not, this is a new playzone for Delhi's adventure seekers. Do make time for a visit to the Mahal.
How to get there: Exit from Delhi Metro Jhandewalan Station Gate number 2. Cross the iconic Hanuman Statue and take a left. First cut into Bhuli Bhatiyari Park. Landmark for the cut: Bagga Auto Link. There is no entry fee but I would recommend people gullible to ghost stories and those with a weak heart to kindly keep away.