Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Haunted House... Bhuli Bhatiyari Mandal

Apparently Bhuli (or Bhooli) Bhatiyari Mandal is considered one of the most haunted places in Delhi, if you believe in such things. I first became aware of this hidden piece of Delhis history purely by accident, whilst looking for another building which I mistyped and this popped curiosity was piqued!

Sitting West of Delhis Connaught Place, on the corner of the Southern Ridge of Delhi, close to Karol Bagh, Bhuli Bhatiyari was built as a 14th century hunting lodge by Feroz Shah Tuglaq, a name you may recognize from a previous post who was the muslim ruler of the Tughlaq dynasty ruling over the sultanate of Delhi from 1351-1388. It is believed he built 3 hunting lodges within this short time, Bhuli Bhatiyari, Pir Ghaib and Malcha Mahal.
Malcha Mahal has some very interesting history in itself and I would love to explore but I doubt I will get the opportunity. To find out more about the history and eccentric royal inhabitants you can read the following
Pir Ghaib is now found within the grounds of Hindu Rao Hospital with apparently a baoli (step well) adjacent to it. Pir Ghaib is also thought to contain an observatory as well as being hunting lodge. Something else to discover. It never ceases to amaze me when look for information how you come away with a long list of the other places to explore, life is never dull and boring, but my notepad is filling up fast!

Anyway back to todays hunting lodge, Bhuli Bhatiyari. It is built of rubble masonry, as much was of this era, with large surrounding walls surrounding the complex and rounded bastions along the outer walls. To enter you ascend a few steps through an arched gateway, into a small inner courtyard, before passing through a smaller, plainer gateway into the large open courtyard. This is now overgrown and home only to wildlife and those brave enough to spend a few hours or even a night here! Surrounding the walls are a few small, dark rooms. Remains of more substantial buildings within the courtyard can be found, although only the footings remain, you can step up onto the old floors and look over the encompassing, protective walls to the woodland and reservoir that now surround the mandal.

inner courtyard of the mandal

Bhuli Bhatiyari according to an Indian friend means someone who is lost and wandering, she thought it was appropriate for me!! However according to research there is some confusion over why the lodge was named such. One such suggestion was that is was named after a sufi saint Bu Ali Bakhtiyari and another was that is was named after a Rajasthani women who looked after the lodge called Bhatiyari. I have also heard the sufi saint theory used for Malcha Mandal, where is was said the saint went missing and as he vanished so the ghost/djinns moved in, so who knows!

Whatever the story behind this place, however haunted the building is reported to be and however unsafe I've been told it was for me to visit, I came across nothing but wildlife, birds, chipmunks and skinks. The only disconcerting presence I felt came from the literally hundreds of resident kites, who circled above and dive bombed, calling out for me to leave their home. These I felt were the true guardians of the most haunted house in Delhi...............

gateway into the building

second gateway from the small inner courtyard/hall

inside looking out through the inner gateway

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