Recently, this intriguing form of tourism has been catching everyone’s eyes. Therefore, we bring you some of our top picks of dark tourism spots that you can venture out on to experience the thrills and mysteries of India. By Yagnoseni Das
Travelling to beautiful places is quite de-stressing. Be it vacationing in a coastal destination where one might love to dig their feet in the warm sand by the musical sea or trekking in steep mountain ranges and experiencing the thrills a life can offer. But places that serve neither are often solely visited for their tragic or mysterious — untapped tourism terrain. And these places are what create a part of a tourism bereavement that we call “Dark Tourism”.
Dark tourism is gradually becoming popular, thanks to human’s need to quench their thirst for curiosity. And with the country’s long, rich history, there is no scarcity of places that preserve ancient memories of tragedies.
Here are our top picks of dark tourism spots in India
Kuldhara Village, Jaisalmer
Now a historical site maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India, the abandoned village is a popular tourist attraction among dark tourism enthusiasts. Located 20 kilometres from the Jaisalmer, this village is has a rich history with a fair share of myths and legends associated with it. Travellers often visit this village in hopes to experience something paranormal or ghostly around the beautiful yet eerie stretches of desserts and remains of an old civilisation.
Getting there: From Jaisalmer, you can take a cab or a rental that will take you to the entrance gates of the haunted village which remain open for visitors every day from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. The entry fee per person is INR 10 and for cars, it is INR 50.
Best time to visit: According to Rajasthan’s seasonal calendar, October to March seems like the ideal time to visit this spot.
Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar
The place that witnessed the tragic Jallianwala Bagh massacre is a popular tourist spot for history enthusiasts. As the name suggests it is a beautiful and well maintained public garden in Amritsar. Upon visiting, travellers can spot bullet holes on its walls that reminisce the historic tragedy and memorials informing one of the details of the tragedy that took place in 1919.
Getting there: Located on the Golden Temple Road, Amritsar, you can take a cab or rental to reach the place. And there’s no entry fee as such.
Best time to visit: You can visit the park all year round
Kala Pani, Port Blair
The Cellular jail was once a colonial prison in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The cellular jail has witnessed innumerable torturous acts against the Indian freedom fighters by the British Raj. And even before the construction of the jail, the island itself was a prison to contain prisoners of India’s First War of Independence in 1857. Now a national museum, Kala Pani is a perfect place to delve deep into the darkest sides of India’s freedom struggle.
Getting there: There are flights available from Delhi to Andaman, Mumbai to Andaman, Kolkata to Andaman, Bangalore to Andaman, Pune to Andaman, and, Chennai to Andaman.
Best time to visit: The Islands are at their prime climate-wise from October to May
Lothal, Indus Valley civilisation sites, Gujarat
The Indus Valley civilisation in the South-Western Asian region was a Bronze Age civilisation that existed somewhere between 3300 BCE and 1300 BCE. It is one of the three early civilisations of the Middle East and southern Asia. And is one of the most widely spread in the world, encompassing ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. The Indus Valley Civilisation was South Asia’s most ancient civilisation.
Lothal in Gujarat, about 80 kilometres south of Ahmedabad, is the most important site of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation that you can visit in India. Harappa and Mohenjo Daro, the other, more famous excavations of this culture, are now in Pakistan.
Getting there: By road, Lothal is 80 kilometres from the city of Ahmedabad. Five daily trains are also available from Ahmedabad’s Gandhigram station to Lothal-Bhurki station.
Taj Palace, Mumbai
The sophisticated heritage tourist destination is one of the city’s most sought-after hotels. But it hasn’t been spared of a history that is marred by terrorism, death, and ghosts. It was used as a military hospital during WWII and was the target of a vicious terrorist attack in 2008. A number of guests were held hostage within the hotel, resulting in 137 deaths, 31 of which occurred within the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. Following such a number of deaths emerged all sorts of haunting stories of supernatural sightings.
Getting there: Located in Colaba, Mumbai, Maharashtra, cabs and buses are easily available to the hotel.
Roopkund Lake, Uttarakhand
Another must-visit place for dark tourism enthusiasts is the infamous Roopkund Lake otherwise known as Skeleton lake. But getting to the lake itself isn’t an easy task. The trek requires the trekkers to be physically fit and be able to walk up the lake which lies at an altitude of 16,500 feet. Upon reaching the travellers can catch the sight of skeletal remains of what seems like hundreds of people scattered throughout the lake. Some submerged while some were strewn around the edges. The origins of the skeletons are still unknown.
Getting there: Located in the Chamoli district, the spot requires a trek for about 23 kilometres after the last motorable point which is in Wan village.
Best time to visit: Between May to June, and September to October is the ideal time to set off for the trek