Tuesday, 26 January 2021

"Circuit and Dak Houses" of colonial origin, India - are they haunted ?

Bell mount circuit, Kasauli, H.P.  house,ghumakkar.com
 

Paranormal commonly means anything  far beyond normal, something  odd, we hardly come across, mostly associated with a sense of uneasiness,  anxiety and eerie feeling; the sudden or lingering  reaction depends on the mental makeup of the people.  

There are many stories   across the globe in popular culture and folklore related to purported paranormal phenomena. Invariably, such stories are intertwined with an old building far removed from the urban space or in an isolated place in a semi urban area. The presence of paranormal   phenomenon, when it comes to serious discussion,  is not based on empirical or factual  evidence rather it is based on a legend, a belief or speculation.  Though explanations are available, they are outside the purview of established science. Ghost-sighting, life after death, incarnation and even ESP are  some examples encompassed within paranormal  phenomena.  A research study  on college students undertaken in the USA concluded that  'those with higher grade do not believe in paranormal phenomenon  and the other study came up with the finding that 'psychological "absorption" and "disassociation"  are higher among the believers'. Any way, there exits a correlation between irrational thinking and paranormal belief. The subject of ghost-sighting or the presence of spirit appears to be more of  subjective in nature rather than objective.  Such stories of  purported  sighting of ghost or  haunted houses attract the people with inquisitive mind who who  are ready to take care of their  anxiety- driven  and stressed experience. 

Scary ghosts in Indian folklore. .scoopwhoop.com/

In India there are many Circuit Houses or Dak Bungalows built by the colonial rulers ad  since 1940s the dak bungalows  have existed. When there was no such modern transportation, the officials of the English company and later the Raj had to carry on many government assignments  to interior places as part of the  administrative machinery - such as, land surveys, revenue  collection, judicial work,  trade, hunting, hiking, etc.  Being  densely wooded places,  it was unsafe safe to travel alone and usually they traveled in convoys.  These were places sans any luxury but more suited as a temporary halt for a day or two; far better than a tent in the open.  These  dak bungalows or houses with a couple of moderate rooms, kitchen, etc.,  had  regular caretakers (maximum three person) would take care of the needs of the  tired officials arriving at these houses for a break.   They were built  very 12 to 15 miles  along the major  caravan routes routes to provide night halts for the travelers. Though they  were primarily for the government officials, civilians could use them for a nominal fee with permission from the official concerned.  

As   many dak houses or travel bungalows  are in isolated areas in the villages close to the jungle  at one end., one can not only hear all kinds of strange  sounds and  noises of animals and birds but also may sight one   or two  deadly cobras nearby.  Such weird surroundings with no people around  have  provided  lots of ghost stories;  invariably most of the venues  are old poorly maintained  buildings  with squeaky  window doors, etc  built centuries ago.  Some such  isolated places are said to be  haunted  by the locals.  When  stories are  out and thick in the air,  consequently,  the media hype has pushed them to be  places of tourist attraction. 

you tube. 

Many of the dak bungalows with rooms and old pieces of furniture provide  a spooky and weird  ambiance and are linked to good or bad spirits. . The past stories connected with the people who once lived there are churned out as ghost stories with better presentation  and relied more on conjecture rather than on facts. Whether  they are figment of imagination or just hallucination, people who have been to such places come up with spine-chilling stories, with no proof whatsoever.  Whether such on-the-spot  experiences of the people are really   true stories or just myth.  It can nor be explained. 

At district headquarters, the circuit house provided  accommodation as well as a make-shift courtroom  for the visiting judges or other officers  in the colonial time. Across the regions, the Dak houses served as a resting places for the officers and others while on long journey.   Larger cities might have still more specialized buildings.

Circuit House, Damoh, M.P.

Circuit house, Damoh, Madhya Pradesh,  indiatvnews.com

Circuit House at Damoh in MP, built in 1899 is said to be haunted. It is said in that place during the 1857 big rebellion against the  English company's atrocities by the Indian soldiers of the English army, many  natives, British soldiers, women and children got killed by the raging mob; their death was a painful one.   there for various reasons. Perhaps, their death was not a peaceful one. When the building came up the wandering  ghosts were not kind to the occupants, particularly to the British and scare them by making pieces of furniture fly across the room. It was scary to see the objects flying close to the body.  Debatable is the veracity of this story!!
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Veraval Circuit House,Junagargh District in Gujarat

The story of the Bungalow is centered around a Nawab  This circuit house was once the Mahal of a  nawab during the British era. For unknown reasons, it was in this place the nawab's  daughter  and  her  child  committed suicide together by jumping from the terrace. It is said, their sudden screams will  be disturbing  otherwise a quiet place and also any passing visitors

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The Circuit House, Kasauli

Kasauli  bell Mount Circuit house, HP. wikipedia commons/ 

The Circuit House,  Kasauli,  a nice British era building with old furniture in a secluded area provides an ample scope to get scared.  If the visitors hear, on the quiet night, the drops of rain falling on the roof  or cracking wooden floors while walking  or squeaking  window doors inside when a gust of wind enters the room, they become anxious to the point of venting out their fear.  With stone foundation and bay window through which one can see the vista of dense greenery around the building, in the late evening visitors may experience a sense of uneasiness  accentuated by the spooky ambiance

Rajika Bhandari, a social science researcher has written a about the dangers and delights of Dak bungalows in her book "The Raj on the move''. She had observed: "I had been staying in Dak Bungalows and circuit houses for many years and had always been intrigued by their quirky character," "Some were of course entirely forgettable, but then there were others that clear had a had a fascinating history behind them that was just waiting to be discovered"

https://www.deccanherald.com/content/291697/horror-delights-dak-bungalows-chronicled.html

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/books/features/dare-to-live-in-a-haunted-dak-bungalow/articleshow/15090750.cms

https://www.indiatvnews.com/news/india/myth-or-mystery-haunted-circuit-houses-in-india-36576.html

https://www.ghumakkar.com/weekend-trip-to-kasauli-ii/

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/comment/dak-bungalows-and-ghosts-who-stay-there-117934








1 comments so far

Thanks for this useful blog, I found it informative and hope for more blogs in future from you like this.
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