abandoned house | Kuldhara, Jaisalmer | Jan 2012
mid-day light helps bring out the hues and colors of the walls from an abandoned house in the ghost town Kuldhara, 18 kms west of Jaisalmer. When I first heard the story ( more truth than mythology) I knew I had to check it out. This has to one of the most bizarre stories of human migration one can hear. Once a prosperous settlement of the Paliwal Brahmins, all the residents of Kuldhara and 83 nearby villages vanished suddenly one night in 1825, having lived there since 1291. In all likelihood they set up base somewhere beyond Jodhpur but no one has ever been sure.
What made them want to abandon everything overnight? The Prime Minister, or the dewan, is believed to have developed a lecherous eye for the chief’s daughter; it is said the Paliwal women were in general stunningly beautiful. He may even have imposed unreasonable taxes on them. With pride and honour overruling all worldly interests, the chiefs of the 84 villages decided to go away in a single night with whatever they could carry with them.