Vikrant and Maya stood watching the beautiful sunset in one of the many gardens of Sumedhgarh Fort. They were in Jaipur to celebrate their second anniversary.
Sumedhgarh was built as a summer retreat by Maharaja SawaiJwala Singh in 1734. The main section comprised of seven chambers. One for the king and the other six chambers for the king’s six wives. Each chamber consisted of two rooms at ground level and a private terrace with a room on top.The entire property was a traveller’s delight. Every part of the fort held myriad stories of yesteryears.
Vikrant, a connoisseur of Indian culture and heritage, was quite taken by the regal edifice. ‘Let’s check out the terrace on that side of the fort’, Vikrant suggested excitedly.
‘But Vikrant, that terrace is swathed in absolute darkness’, remarked Maya.
‘That’s alright. We have our mobile torches, right? We should find our way there and back’, Vikrant assured her.
The narrow flight of stairs they took opened into a room that overlooked a small terrace. The room was locked. When Vikrant noticed that the terrace had a door which led to a narrow passage that connected all the chambers, he remarked, ‘The king must have constructed this passage so that he could easily flit from one queen’s chamber to another.
‘And how do you know that fact?’, inquired Maya smiling mischievously.
‘Isn’t it logical! The king would have surely ensured complete privacy amongst his wives. Maybe the king had a favourite queen, making the others quite jealous, huh?!’, quipped Vikrant with a twinkle in his eye.
‘How imaginative!’, scoffed Maya.
‘Awwww babe. You know you are the reigning queen of my heart, right?’ asked Vikrant, as he playfully tugged Maya towards himself and enveloped her in his warm embrace. Maya in turn locked lips with her husband.
In a trice, as they leaned against a pillar, the door leading to the passage banged shut, which startled the kissing couple. Vikrant and Maya were both stunned by the suddenness of it all.
Vikrant caught hold of Maya’s hand and led her towards the ground floor. She was still reeling in shock. ‘What the hell was that Viks?”
‘I have no clue babe. It scared the bejesus out of me too. Let’s not dwell over it. Come on, lets grab some dinner’, said Vikrant as he led Maya towards their car.
The couple chose to eat at a nearby restaurant. They could view the glorious fort from their dinner table. Vikrant looked extremely nervous and kept glancing at the fort surreptitiously.
Are you still thinking about what happened on the terrace?’, Maya asked anxiously.
‘Maya, I don’t want to scare you, but every time I look towards the fort, I feel a strange sense of foreboding. Feels like something is trying to warn me about an indeterminate danger’, said Vikrant.
‘Pay no heed to it, love. It’s our second anniversary tomorrow. Let’s chalk out plans for the big day’, said Maya, trying to soothe Vikrant’s frazzled nerves.
That night, Maya chose to be quite the seductress. Vikrant was left sated and yet yearning for more. She successfully erased any lingering thoughts of the evening’s strange events.
The next day Vikrant and Maya visited the Albert Hall Museum. While touring the museum they heard a tourist guide informing a group of visitors that Sumedhgarh was haunted, which obviously intrigued them due to what they had experienced at the fort.
Later they requested the tour guide to tell them about the history of Sumedhgarh. Sanjay, the tour guide eagerly broke into a story.
‘Sumedhgarh was previously called Chetangarh, named after King Jwala’s favourite queen, Chetna. One day the youngest of the six queens, Bhairavi complained to the king that one of his courtiers Sumedh Singh, hid in her chamber and watched her while was she getting undressed. To avenge his queen’s honour, the enraged king sentenced Sumedh to death.
After Sumedh’s death, strange events occurred in the fort. Residents of the fort were convinced that Sumedh’s spirit had returned to avenge it’s death. Their fears came true, when Queen Bhairavi was found brutally murdered on the terrace of her chamber.
Post that the king consulted the royal astrologer about this dreadful business and he advised the king to name the fort after Sumedh to appease his spirit. Locals have still felt the presence of Sumedh’s spirit in the fort. But no harm has befallen anyone’, stated Sanjay, wrapping up his enthralling narrative.
Maya, who was possessed by the spirit of Queen Bhairavi, smirked and thought that these mortals hardly knew the truth!
Bhairavi had been absolutely jealous of all the other queens. Out of spite, she slept with one of the palace guards. Unfortunately, Sumedh Singh caught her in the act. Before he could tell on her, she accused him and got him killed.
The king had learned about Bhairavi’s dalliance through Sumedh’s spirit. In a fit of rage, he had killed her and named the fort after Sumedh, as he had remained loyal to the King even after his death.
While she was alive, all Bhairavi craved for was a man who loved only her. She couldn’t bear to share her husband with anyone. When Vikrant had told Maya that she was the only queen of his heart, Bhairavi had decided to possess Maya. It would be such bliss to be the apple of Vikrant’s eye, thought Bhairavi’s spirit.
Sumedh’s spirit had tried to stop Bhairavi by shutting the doors of the passage, but her desire was so strong that she had broken all kinds of barriers and possessed Maya.
‘It’s no wonder that the fort was emanating some kind of supernatural vibes’, Vikrant told Maya, fascinated by the legend of Sumedhgarh.
‘Or we must have just imagined the whole thing. Enough of this gloomy talk. Happy anniversary, my love!’, said Maya looking with adoration at her husband. The queen residing within her, had never been happier while she was alive or after her death.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, events and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. The author does not intend to hurt the sentiments of any individual, community, sect or religion.
This Post Has 15 Comments
A gripping tale! Folklore, history, supernatural, and mystery. There were some places where I though could do with more show than tel. An engaging read. 7/10
Brilliant. I enjoyed the story, the setting, the mystery, and the final reveal.
My rating 9.25/10
Such an interesting and spooky story. Loved how the story unfolded. My only feedback: Maya being haunted by the queen could have been more show and less tell to make it spookier. My rating: 7.5/10
Spooky tale indeed. Just eager to know if Maya will continue to be possessed by the spirit of Bhairavi? Maybe a sequel can be written.
I liked the names of characters chosen. 7/10p
Spooky! the combination of mythology, ghost and anniversary was interesting… I wonder who allowed them to go to that haunted fort…I think such known haunted places are closed for public… but then stories r all about imagination and we wouldn’t have this ‘untold’ story!
My rating 8/10
Wooh!! I love old stories about kings and queens. And some how I felt for the evil queen too!!
My ratings 6.8/10
Loved the setting and the imaginative tale …a delicious cocktail of drama, History, and mystery .
My rating – 8.5/10
A supernatural tale with a perfect setting and an intriguing back tale too. The narration couldnhave done with more show than tell, especially how Bhairavi possesses Maya.
An interesting tale. Liked the way the author merged the past with the present in the narrative. A little complaint if at all, is that the prompt only finds passing reference. That of course doesn’t take away from the narrative. Rate this 6.75/10.
Quite an intriguing tale, well written. A combination of history and mystery. The scene of shutting the door ominously truly Gave the creeps.
Narration could have been a little more tighter. Also, the prompt could.have been built into the story even better.
Rating – 7
The story is definitely intriguing. It sends a chill down the spine. It is unexpected so leaves the reader wondering what happens next. Maybe in the story, there could be more show than tell. I thought it was a good read. My overall rating is 7.5/ 10.
The plot of the story has historical references with eerie sequences. A good attempt but could’ve been better with more show than tell. 6.8
The story was definitely engaging and thrilling – gave me Monjulika feels! Our history abounds in such stories of love, betrayal, jealousy, revenge etc, all of which have been incorporated well within the restricted format.
Punctuation would require some more attention here, esp while closing a statement.
Is it possible to condense the fort layout in the first para and utilise the words later, to make the Maya-Bhairavi reveal more graphic and impactful ? Just a suggestion….
Overall, an interesting story for which my rating would be 7 on 10.
That was such an intriguing tale! I liked the paranormal twist to the story…regal betrayals always make for interesting twists. I like the world creation and the fabel woven around the fort. My only issue was that most of the story felt as if it was in a ‘tell’ mode and ‘showing’ was limited. The end, which was a surprise, also felt slightly predictable because of the tone. However, the premise was very interesting and the plot on the whole rivetting. I rate it 7/10.
Whether this is a tale about the supernatural or about a commonplace human being keeps you reading until the end. The ending raises more questions than it answers but maybe that was the writer’s intent. The prompt is mentioned en passant and has no significant role in the narrative. A smooth read all the same. 8/10