I wrote a post about a haunted fort city.
So this time I had to trump that.
And how do you trump a whole goddamn haunted city?
By going Biblical!
Metaphorically, of course.
I am going to tell you about a castle/fort that is haunted (for want of a better word) by one of India’s immortals.
We have 7 immortals.
3) Sage Vyasa
4) Lord Hanuman
7) Lord Parashurama
They aren’t gods, more like demi gods. However, Hanuman is now more popular than almost all the gods (exceptions – Shiva,Vishnu, Ganesh, Parvati/Shakti/Durga and Laxmi)
And Parashurama opened a can of whoop ass so ferocious that even the gods are scared of him.
This article is about one of those demigods – Ashwathama, whose story is told in Mahabharata.
Ashwathama was the Son of Krupi (Mother) and Dronacharya(Father), the great teacher who taught archery and weaponry to all Pandavas and Kaurvas. Since his birth, Ashwathama had a jewel (mani) embedded in his forehead which saved him from demons, Gods, snakes and from worldly botheration of hunger and thirst.
Towards the end of the battle when Duryodhan was killed by Bheema, the left over Kaurav warriors (including Ashwathama) attempted to kill the Pandava brothers. They attacked Pandava’s cantonment at night and beheaded the five warriors sleeping in one of the kiosks. later they realised that instead of the 5 Pandava brothers they killed the 5 sons of Pandavas.
Naturally, the Pandavas also discovered the headless bodies and marched towards the Kauravas for revenge.
Seeing the approaching Pandavas, unleashed a deadly weapon called Brahmastra (erstwhile version of Nuclear Weapon conferred to supreme warriors by Lord Brahma). He threw this weapon at Pandavas articulating the curse “May all the Pandavas be Destroyed”. To counter this weapon and its curse, Arjun withdrew his bow and released another deadly weapon called Pashupatiastra (another version of Nuclear Weapon, named after and conferred by Lord Shiva).
Now both these weapons had apocalyptic capacities. So Lord Vishnu commanded both the warriors to withdraw their weapons. While Arjun took the Pashupatiastra back, Ashwatthama didn’t know how to do so. Vishnu then asked Ashwathama to decide a single target of this weapon. Still seeking revenge, Ashwathama chose the womb of the pregnant ‘Uttara’ (wife of Abhimanyu- son of Arjuna) so that on her delivery she will have a dead child and Pandavas will be destroyed.
As a penitence for Ashwatthama, Lord Vishnu pulled out his forehead’s jewel and commanded that he will not lose his immortality and will roam around till the end of the world. And worst of all, the hollow made on his forehead by digging the jewel out will never heal and will always seep blood and puss, thus arousing a foul smell.
Since then Ashwatthama is roaming around on earth with a bleeding forehead.
Now comes the most incredible part, Ashwatthama is claimed to be seen by some people. Here are the two instances:
a) A renowned Ayurvedic Doctor in Madhya Pradesh had a tough patient with a septic forehead. After several applications of a fail-proof potion, the wound was still afresh and bleeding. Amazed at his potions inability, the doctor wittingly said: “Your forehead’s wound seems ageless and cureless. I wonder, are you Ashwatthama.. hahaha”. At the third ha, he turned around to apply the next doze and found that the seat was empty. The patient just disappeared into thin air.
b) A more than a decade old newspaper article ran about a railway employee on leave. During his wanderings in the jungles of Navsari (Gujarat) he had reported a very tall man of about 12 feet with a wound on his head. He claimed to have conversation with him and learnt that Bheem was much taller and stronger than him.
c) When in 1192, Prithveeraaj Chauhaan lost the battle from Mohammad Gauree, he left for jungle. There he met one old person with a scar on his head. Being a very good doctor Prithveeraaj Chauhaan confidently asked him that he can cure his scar. The old man agreed. But even after week’s medication it remained as it is. Prithveeraaj was surprised and understood the details. He asked old man if he is Ashwathama. Because only the scars that is created through taking up the “MANI” the gem from forehead cannot be cured. The old man told that he was Ashwatthaamaa and then he went away. This description is given in “Prithviraj Raso” the book written in 12th century on him.
d) Legend says that in an Indian village near Burhanpur, there is an old dilapidated fort called Asirgarh, ancient tomb in India where Ashwathama supposedly offers flowers to a Shiva-ling each day.
Asirgarh Fort is situated in the Satpura Range, about 20 km north of the town of Burhanpur District of Madhya Pradesh. This fort was built by the king Asa Ahir. The fort’s real name was Asa Ahir Garh. It is actually formed in 3 parts and every part has its specific name. “Asirgarh”is the first part, second part is “Kamargarh” and last third part is called “Malaygarh”.
Well, according to legends, Ashwathama is lingering in the surroundings of the fort for last 5000 years. And he worships Lord Shiva in the fort temple earliest in the morning. Every morning there are fresh flowers and sandal offered to Lord Shiva. It is believed that he is the very first worshiper of that temple every day.
People of that area say that sometimes Ashwathama is seen in the night lingering around the Asirgarh Fort. He sometimes asks for turmeric and oil to stop the blood of his forehead. And whoever has seen him has gone mad.
NOTE: Fort is about 14 miles far from Burhanpur. Burhanpur is a small city in south-west Madhya Pradesh. To reach the Asirgarh Fort, Indore is the closest airport city. From there, the 210 km road distance can be covered by State Transport Bus or Taxi or occupied tourist vehicles.
So there you have it.
A living breathing demi god.