KULDHARA – JAISALMER
84 medieval villages were abandoned by the Paliwal Brahmins overnight. The two most prominent of them are Kuldhara and Khabha, located about 18 and 30 kilometres respectively from the southwest of Jaisalmer. The ruins of Kuldhara and Khabha are fine examples of architectural excellence of that era and are a treat for shutterbugs. Several stories abound, but nobody is really sure why the mass exodus took place. Villagers believe the place is cursed and hesitate to venture inside.
Kuldhara is a ghost village about 17 kilometres west of Jaisalmer. Three centuries ago it was a prosperous town, but today it is an abandoned village shrouded in mystery. The village was established in 1291 by the Paliwal Brahmins, and was a rather prosperous community thanks to their ability to grow bumper crops in the arid desert. But one night, in 1825, all the people in Kuldhara and the nearby 83 villages vanished in dark. Legend says that Salim Singh, the evil prime minister, set his eyes upon the daughter of the village head and declared he would marry her, with or without her consent. He threatened the villagers with dire consequences if they did not comply with his wishes. Rather than give in to his demands, the council of the villagers decide to leave their ancestral homes overnight. But before leaving they cursed Kuldhara so that no one would ever be able to settle there. True to the curse, the village remains abandoned. Nobody has been able to spend even a night in the village. The ruins of Kuldhara are a fine example of the architectural excellence of that era and draw photographers and movie-makers to their narrow lanes. Today, the village is a protected monument under the authority of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).