The haunted village Kuldhara near Jaisalmer

There are many haunted places in different parts of India, places where spirits are believed to be residing and roaming freely. And many of the prominent ones are in Rajasthan itself. Including Bhangarh, Bullet Baba Temple and Kuldhara to name a few. These places always intrigue us all. Last year, when we visited Jaipur and Udaipur, we wanted to go to Bhangarh. But somehow, that didn’t happen. So, this time around, when we made plans to visit Jaisalmer, we couldn’t help but put Kuldhara on the top of our itinerary.

The haunted village Kuldhara
The ruins of the haunted village of Kuldhara

Jaisalmer to the haunted village Kuldhara

Kuldhara is around 20km from the main city of Jaisalmer. And it takes around 45 minutes by taxi to reach here. It is located at a slight diversion from the Jaisalmer – Sam – Dhanana Road which leads to the deserts. We anyways had plans to stay in a desert camp during the first day of our visit to Jaisalmer (PS: Things to do in Thar Desert Rajasthan). So, upon reaching Jaisalmer in the morning, we headed straight to the desert. And, on our way to the desert camp, we decided to visit the haunted village of Kuldhara. The highway is in a very good condition. And the narrow road stretch that leads to Kuldhara is also well maintained for most part of it. There are signboards for guidance. In short, you can conveniently reach Kuldhara even if you are driving on your own.

The legend of the haunted village Kuldhara

The proposal of Salim Singh

As per history, Kuldhara was once upon a time a very prosperous and happy settlement of Paliwal Brahmins. But one day it so happened that a Dewan of the king of Jaisalmer, whose name was Salim Singh, set his eye on one of the girls in the village. He immediately got adamant about marrying the girl, even if it meant use of force. The Paliwal Bhramin community was not so found of him. But they didn’t have the armours nor the capacity to fight him, if he tried to force them to accept the marriage proposal. So, basically, they were left with no choice. Thus, they abandoned the village overnight, with bitter hearts. And left a curse behind as per which no one will be able to settle here ever. Since that day the village lies abandoned. And over the years it has slowly turned into ruins.

The haunted village Kuldhara
The restored temple at Kuldhara site

Also, it is strongly believed that no one is able to spend one whole night in this haunted village Kuldhara. Be it the fear of the ghosts coming live at night. Or really an encounter with them. For some reason or the other, no one is able to stay here for the whole night.

Wealth Protection

Although the story of Salim Singh and the Paliwal Brahmins is highly famous . Yet, there are other legends around how the village of Kuldhara was abandoned and it became haunted. Another popular legend says that the king extracted a hefty tax from the Paliwal Brahmins. And fearing for their wealth, they decided to flee overnight one fine night. But they buried their wealth in the village, planning to return some day and take the money with them. However, they never could return, for some reason or the other. And slowly, after having lived their lives as nomads, they passed away, far from their home and their wealth. So, in their afterlife, their spirits returned to their home, sweet home. This way, they are living in their home which they loved, but couldn’t live in while they were alive. And they are also protecting their wealth as no one could ever settle in that village and no one dares to try to find their wealth.

Other theories behind the haunted village Kuldhara

Scarcity of water

Although the above legends are very popular with the locals, some historians believe that it was the increasing scarcity of water that led to the abandonment of the village. And it actually happened slowly, not overnight. As per the logic they put forward, in ancient times, all villages were located near some source of water. So was Kuldhara. There was a river that flowed from near the village. But over the due course of years, it slowly started drying up. And the ground water levels also receded significantly. This forced the inhabitants to look for alternate establishment for themselves. Since it was not possible for them to survive without a proper source of water near their home. Thus, the haunted village Kuldhara is not really haunted, rather a place that slowly turned into an abandoned village due to lack of water.


The haunted village Kuldhara
There are no roofs on any of the houses in Kuldhara

Some scientists who did some research on the haunted village of Kuldhara put forward a theory. According to them it was a massive earthquake that forced the villagers to move elsewhere. They say that the way the houses collapsed and the roofs went off all the homes strongly suggest that it was the act of a massive earthquake and nothing else. The destruction caused by the earthquake was heavy and hence it was easier for the villagers to take shelter elsewhere and start a new life than to reconstruct everything from the scratch.The rational minds who don’t believe in the stories of ghosts or supernatural forces can better relate to the theories put forward by scientists and historians.

Our experience at the haunted village Kuldhara

We arrived at the haunted village Kuldhara around 2:00pm. There were many other tourists around at this point of time. And it seems like a lot of renovation work is going on in the village which is really interesting. A major portion of the old temple from the time of the Paliwal Brahmins has been renovated. A nice set of stairs lead to the temple premises. And from inside the temple, one can see far and wide across the ruins of the once prosperous village of Kuldhara. Did we feel anything out of the place, any supernatural vibes? Not really. If anything, I felt sad looking at the ruins of so many houses all around.

I couldn’t help but think how once life must have thrived here, children were born and they played around, laughed and ran in those courtyards. And people went through their usual daily chores, happy and contained. And all this also reminded me that how time keeps changing. How, once a prosperous thriving village comes to this state of ruins and how again from the ruins something else is reconstructed. Anyways, on the lighter side, there are a lot of Instagram worthy spots in Kuldhara that we loved to capture.

There are literally queues of people at some of these spots to get that perfect profile picture. Before we could realize, we had spent a good one hour here. This is definitely a good historical spot for a one time visit when you are headed to Jaisalmer. Whether haunted or not, it is a beautiful place with many stories from the past buried inside it. Now, it is a protected heritage under ASI (Archeological Survey of India).

The haunted village Kuldhara
One of the perfect instagram spots in Kuldhara

Things to know for visiting the haunted village Kuldhara

  • The village of Kuldhara is located around 15-20km from the main city of Jaisalmer.
  • It can be visited either on a day trip from Jaisalmer town along with Khaba fort, Amar Sagar Jain Temple and Bada Bagh. Alternatively, it can also be visited while on way to the sand dunes or desert camps.
  • The village is in complete ruins, with none of the houses having a roof. So, be prepared for a hot encounter with the sun.
  • Carry plenty of drinking water bottles with you as there is no shop around selling water bottles. Same applies for snacks and food as well.There are some mobile carts around, but they run out of supply if the crowd is more.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. There is lot of walking involved. And the terrains are not all smooth, particularly when you walk amongst the ruins.
  • The stairs in the temple are pretty high. It might be difficult for someone with knee pain or old age to climb.
  • Around 2 hours will be enough to go to Kuldhara and explore around.
  • You will see guides with tourist groups in Kuldhara, showing the visitors around, you can hire one on the spot as per your liking.
  • Be careful when on the terrace of the temple. One portion of the terrace is collapsed. You can see through it to the room below. So, don’t walk around this portion.
  • You can self-drive or hire a taxi from Jaisalmer for visiting the haunted village of Kuldhara.
  • If you decided to drive yourself, keep an eye for the sign board that indicated a left turn from the main road towards Kuldhara and another one inside which is near the main gates.
  • There is an entry ticket applicable per person which can be purchased at the main entrance door.

The haunted village Kuldhara near Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, India | Haunted places to visit in Rajasthan, India



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48 Responses

  1. Yukti

    I am scared of haunted stuff, but the village looks beautiful with those ancient ruins and I would try to visit this atleast once. Those ancient ruined houses has beautiful arched doors. Loved to read the whole story of Paliwal Brahmins and Salim singh ruler. Sometimes, I believe on these supernatural stuff.

    • Neha

      Yes Yukti, sometimes we do believe in the supernatural and the unexplained phenomenons. That’s what has created an undying interest in this village

  2. Nathan

    What an interesting place you have found in Rajasthan! I especially loved the legends which the locals believed in, as they certainly shed light on the culture and traditions endeared by the local people. It’s sad to see this village go uninhabited and somewhat extinct though.

    • Neha

      Thats so true Nathan. It is sad that the village had to be abandoned, whatever be the reasons

  3. Shaily

    I love exploring ruins as well as the spooky places and Kuldhara offers both the experiences. The stories associated with it are quite interesting, especially the one where the spirits are believed to be guarding their wealth. I’ve heard of Kuldhara a lot of times as one of the most haunted places in India. Your post has fuelled my desire to visit the place. Thanks for sharing this fascinating article! 🙂

    • Neha

      Thank you Shaily. As you see, we couldn’t decide if Kuldhara is really haunted. We would love to hear from you when you get to visit here, as in what did you get to experience here.

  4. Johna

    Mmmm okay I will never go here because Id be so scared! Looks so interesting but Im so weak and paranoid about this sort of stuff hehehe great to read about it though.

    • Neha

      Can understand. You can try visiting in the day when it’s no different from any other place that you visit

  5. sumit

    i think local tales are woven around unexplained events and as days go by they become more and more intriguing . what are the evening timings for this place , i think the sunset over the abandoned buildings would be a nice setting to click

    • Neha

      Since you can drive here on your own, you can very much enjoy a sunset here. And then return back. No one stops you from trying to stay overnight also.

  6. kopikang

    i can really make use of my hat in this place! would not mind a day tour (would actually love it) albeit the haunted stories from travellers and from you.. it makes me wonder how it feels to be in those ruins.. hmmm but propbably not a good idea to be alone..

    • Neha

      Definitely not a good idea to be alone in such a deserted place. But the good news is that throughout the day there are plenty of tourists visiting Kuldhara, so, don’t worry

  7. Kris

    This is one of the reasons why I read posts — to check the story behind every attraction. India has always been rich in all aspects including stories. This reminds me of some legends from the Philippines. Continue sharing these type of posts — aside from the things to learn, Dos and Donts, there’s a little background of everything.

    • Neha

      Totally agree with you Kris. Have said before also that there is a story behind every destination. And it is so much more fun to know that story and learn more about the destination

  8. pujarinimitra

    Kuldhara has always been in my bucketlist just like Bhangarh but somehow have always missed visiting them when in Rajasthan. Your post has inspired me to definitely plan a trip back to Rajasthan to explore Kuldhara.

    • Neha

      Definitely you should. These are the kind of places that we must not miss.

  9. Seeking the Spanish Sun

    Thanks for sharing all this awesome information, it sounds like a really interesting place!

    • Neha

      Believe me, it is one of the most interesting places to visit in India

  10. Claire

    Very interesting post, especially all the different stories about how the haunted village came about. Thanks for sharing!

  11. lee

    these are the places I wanna visit. if its really haunted or not. i would know for sure

    • Neha

      is it? in that case we will wait to hear your account post visiting Kuldhara

  12. shreyasaha1987

    Reminds me of the Bhangarh Fort, but every place has interesting history. Loved to read Salim’s story related to Kuldhara. Nice pictures and thanks for the share. Hope you had a great time exploring Rajasthan!

    • Neha

      We definitely had a blast exploring Rajasthan. And Kuldhara was on our bucket list since long. Happy to have seen this unique place.

  13. ryetalkstotheworld

    I really love the stories and legends behind sacred/holy architectures – especially Buddhist and Hindu ones. I also love the fact that this village, albeit haunted, had been preserved. I’d go there as early as 6 AM so I get to explore the place without being scorched by the sun.

    • Neha

      Thats a really good idea since the sun definitely gets strong as the day progresses

  14. Doreen Pendgracs

    The village of Kuldhara looks like a fascinating destination to explore. thx so much for the great post. I hope I get there some day.

  15. The Girl Next Door

    Rajasthan has always been on my list of must-visit destinations. While there, we would definitely be including Kuldhara in our itinerary! The history of the village is so very fascinating!

  16. Marge Gavan

    A hatred for a single man forced an entire village to leave this place? Wow, that’s pretty hardcore. Stories like this really make me wonder how the people think in the past, what do they value, and what drive them to do what they do. I can relate with how you thoughts while being there, that’s how I imagine things too. I always wonder about how the ancient people used to live. I know you didn’t experience anything supernatural and that you felt sad, but did you get that heavy feeling while roaming around?

    • Neha

      Yes Marge, it was a feeling of sadness because what lied ahead of us was something in complete ruins which must once have prospered. And yes, power, that also authoritative power of one person can sometimes force masses to take harsh decisions on themselves like the people of Kuldhara having to abandon their houses overnight

  17. Sandy N Vyjay

    We had visited Kuldhara in the afternoon. But I have heard that it is a different experience to visit in the night. The various myths that surround it make the place so intriguing.

    • Neha

      That’s what. We might feel completely different when visiting here at night. But alas, visitors are not allowed at this point at night

  18. Noel Cabacungan

    That a very interesting ill-fated live story. We also have several places in the Philippines haunted by ghost of forbidden love affairs. Only reminds us that love conquers even death.

    Also, as I was looking at the photo of the Kuldhara temple, I thought something was peeking from the balcony door, or was it a window?

    • Neha

      Interesting to know about similar places in Philippines. We will love to visit them some day. Also, that one you are referring to seems to be some shadow of a fellow traveler 🙂

  19. Anuradha Goyal

    Oh, it is a ticketed place now? When I visited it a few years ago, there was no ticket. We in fact visited it during the night as well on what they called the Churail trail. Everyone felt eerie but I was just worried about not toppling on those uneven stones. I did not feel anything but it was a strange experience to visit an abandoned village in the desert at mid night. Jaisalmer and its surroundings are hauntingly beautiful.

    • Neha

      Oh you are really lucky to have got the chance to visit here at night. It must be a totally different feeling with all those ghost stories running at the back of our minds. But yes, it is ticketed now. And a lot of restoration work is going on here. Plus, no one is allowed inside the premises at night.

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