Kuldhara: A Cursed Village

Kuldhara Village is one of the most haunted places in India. It is said that it is a cursed village. It is about 18 kilometres south-west of Jaisalmer. Three hundred years ago, this village thrived, bustling with prosperity and life. However, today, it stands as a deserted enclave, enveloped in enigmatic tales and unanswered questions.

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Geography:

The village occupied a rectangular area measuring 861m * 261m, oriented in a north-south direction. It had three longitudinal roads, intersected by several narrow lanes stretching across city wall remnants stand to the north and south, while the east side borders the dry Kakni Riverbed. Man-made structures formed the western wall.

History:

Kuldhara: A Cursed Village

Kuldhara village was initially inhabited by Brahmins who migrated from Pali to the Jaisalmer region. These migrants, known as Paliwals, hailed from Pali. References in various inscriptions indicate the residents’ caste as “Kuldhar” or “Kaldhar.” It seems Kuldhara was a sub-group among Paliwal Brahmins, with the village deriving its name from this caste.

According to the Tawarikh-i-Jaisalmer, an 1899 history book authored by Lakshmi Chand, the first settler in Kuldhara village was Kadhan (a Paliwal Brahmin).

Culture:

The villagers of Kuldhara were followers of Vaishnavism. Their main temple featured sculptures of Vishnu and Mahishasura Mardini. Sculptures suggest men wore Mughal-style turbans, tunics, etc. and carried daggers, while women wore tunics or lehengas.

Decline:

It is said that Kuldhara was deserted overnight due to the actions of the lecherous minister Salim Singh (or Zalim Singh). He desired a beautiful girl from the village and sent his guards to forcefully take her. The villagers requested the guards to return the next morning but instead, they abandoned the village overnight. Another version claims that 83 other villages were also abandoned overnight.

There are some other reasons also given for the village becoming deserted such as lack of water or earthquake.

Tourism:

The government of Rajasthan decided to develop the village as a tourist spot in the 2010s. Since then it gradually gained the reputation as a haunted place and started attracting tourists.

Over the years, a lot of movies were shot at the site like-

  • Kaalo-The Desert Witch
  • Agent Vinod
  • Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru
  • The Eken: Ruddhaswas Rajasthan