Dark tourism: When things get shadowy and murky in travel

Okay, the winters have almost arrived and stillness is engulfing the environment slowly. Dark tourism welcomes you with all the more mysteries in the air.

Traveling to any such place that involves tragedy, bloodshed and the supernatural is what Dark tourism has in store for you.

Chills await you in all the ‘dark tourist spots’ in India.

Any magic wand out there to list all those places?! Well, you don’t need to go all Harry Potter but need a wise plan instead.

And that involves ghosts, hobgoblins, jinns and spirits and anything preternatural. Right?

Wrong! Get your cheap flights to India ready because you might get late.

Let’s explore dark tourism destinations in India

Dark tourism Punjab: Revisiting the bloody past

Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar district is the place if you want to witness brutal British atrocities. The garden area houses the ashes of Udham Singh (the freedom fighter and revolutionary who killed General O Dyre). You can also witness the bullet imprints of the firings ordered by the General on the innocent people here.

Jallianwala bagh premises in Amritsar

Sadness and massacre is the surrounding element of Jallianwala Bagh. You can also visit the Golden Temple nearby which is within a walking distance from here.

But once you roam the area you feel a renewed sense of starting afresh and compassion.   

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Bullet marks on the wall in Jallianwala bagh

Delhi: The Land of Djinns and British Ghosts

Often the tourists who come here travel for the Golden Triangle Tour. And why shouldn’t they! They get to know three cities with the best of North India on display.

But that’s not all there are a lot more places that are just hiding in plain sight.

Malcha Mahal: This one has a very sad history behind it. The Tughlaq era building was built in 1325. And the woman who resided here was supposedly the great-granddaughter, Begum Wilayat of Wajid Ali Shah(Nawab of Awadh). When she finally got the right to live there, she committed suicide after 8 years after living here.

Malcha Mahal in Delhi of Wajid Ali Shah

Even her children too died mysteriously after her death. After her death, the authorities sealed the house. To date, the house is said to be haunted. The nights turn the Malcha Mahal into a living horror story.

You won’t be allowed to enter the house. But you can surely get a glimpse of it from outside.

Get spooked and who knows your camera or phone might click a ghost lurking somewhere.

Feroz Shah Kotla Fort: Known for its good Djinns as wish-fulfilling entities, this fort is quite popular. Many people come here on a daily basis. The fort remains closed on Thursdays and is closed to the general public after sunset. The Djinns residing here do not like people strolling here at night.

Feroz Shah Kotla fort in Delhi with stairs

Train your senses here to get accustomed to things you might find confusing.

Khooni Darwaza: Perhaps the most neglected of all the spots is this gate. Located in Hauz Khas near the Delhi Gate, this monument is one of the thirteen surviving gates of Delhi that once protected the city.

Built by Sher Shah Suri, this is the place where Bahadur Shah Zafar’s (the last Mughal Emperor) sons were killed.

Interior of the Khooni Darwaza in Delhi

The gate is also called Lal Darwaza and is closed to the general public now. Originally an archway, it also has the notoriety for having seen a lot of bloodsheds. Nothing good ever happened with the people associated with it.

Lothian Cemetery and Mutiny Memorial: Welcome to the graveyard of the Headless Spectre. Yes, a British official holding his head is found roaming here at night.

Lothian cemetery with graves and spooks in daytime

Located near Kashmiri Gate, the cemetery is now locked for the general public. Sir Nicholas (not the one in Harry Potter!) of the British era can be seen strolling in the cemetery on a certain lucky night.

Mutiny Memorial is another such place (near Kashmiri Gate) where you might encounter a ghost. Be prepared for a British officer asking for a cigarette. You might want to carry a spare cigar for him. Who knows you might get lucky (or unlucky).

Mutiny Memorial near Kashmiri Gate in Delhi known for a dead British officer's ghost

Jamali Kamali Tomb and Mosque: If you are fascinated by Djinns and want to experience the eerie air, head for the Jamali Kamali Tomb and Mosque. What’s exciting and downright creepy is that you might get slapped if you visit it after dark. The place is closed to visitors for the very reason after sunset.

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Jamali Kamali tomb and mosque in Delhi known for dark tourism

Dark Tourism Varanasi: Ghats and Aghoris

Varanasi is a place that attracts a lot of people. Known as the spiritual capital of India, Varanasi is a place that leaves you spell-bound. Amidst all the scents of the ashes and dead bodies being burnt at the ghats, the atmosphere is really mystifying and scary at times.

Varanasi is one of the top dark tourist destinations in India

Travelers in huge numbers (up to 40 thousand) come here every year. Walking through the alleys of the leaky cauldrons and dark of the night gives you enough chills.

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It is believed that time started from this very place itself. People come in large numbers to witness the Ganga Ghat Arti too.

Priest performing a Ganga Arti

It is also the home of Aghoris (sages who smear ash and follow Vampanthi Tantra). The followers of this path live like nomads. They are also cannibalistic and eat dead human flesh (if available). Don’t worry they are not allowed to kill a human being and then eat them.

Canoeing through the Ganga in the evening is altogether a spooky experience as well. The floating dead bodies that get dumped into the river because of lack of cremation fees are a thing you might come across here.

Varanasi Ghats in evening with boats rowed by people

Remember the fact that the ethical question behind it is always blurred. And you just need to be careful enough to not get into any kind of problem.

Don’t let time fly away just like that. Winter and chills are bonded with each other for a reason.

Happy traveling!

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