TBI Photo Essay: Kuldhara – The Deserted Enigma
Today, join us as we explore a mysterious ruins, and try to unravel the baffling secret that forced people living for five centuries in 82 villages to just pack up and leave overnight! Enter the world of the unknown at Kuldhara in Rajasthan. Shrouded in enigma, surrounded by myths, believed to be haunted and cursed, this is a place that lights up the darkest recesses of our imagination. A must-see!
Kuldhara in Rajasthan is probably the only place in the world where an entire population of over 17,000 people vacated en masse, of their own accord, and disappeared into the thick of a misty night never to return.
It was with a great sense of mystery that I visited the twin-villages of Kuldhara and Khaba, 30 kms to the west of Jaisalmer. These two, and 82 other villages, were deserted overnight by the Paliwal Brahmins after living there for over 5 centuries: from 1291 AD to 1825 AD.
As a Rajasthani folk song about this mass migration goes, ‘Let’s leave the calves in the stables, let’s leave the cradles, let’s leave the milk boiling on the cooking fire; let’s leave all that we have here, never to come back again.’
The Paliwals were astute businessmen who controlled the trade on the Silk Route to Iran and the Arab lands. They were also visionary farmers who knew a lot about water conservation and rain harvesting, and miraculously cultivated wheat and gram in these harsh deserts.
Then what made them make the supreme sacrifice of deserting their homeland, leaving behind the colossal wealth they had created over five centuries? Continue on to Page 2 to find out more!