Rajasthan government has planned to cash in on a "haunted" place of the state, and the occasion will be the event of Commonwealth Games, later in 2010.
The Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC) for the first time has included the historical ruins of the 16th century town, Bhangarh, in one of its tour packages from New Delhi, specially designed for the duration of the CWG.
Popularly known as "Bhuton (Ghosts) Ka Bhangarh," the locals are reluctant to go into the town that is a couple of hours from Jaipur by road and was once part on the flourishing kingdom resting under the foothills of the Aravali ranges in Alwar district of the desert state.
"This is first time we chose to include this worth-visiting place in our tour packages.
It is a ghost city as per local mythologies and we picked it up to reasonably boost tourism in this area," Manjit Singh, Chairman and MD, RTDC, told.
"We have designed several tour packages during the CWG as the event is sure to boost tourism in the state. We are expecting a good response for all the packages which have been designed keeping schedule of the event in mind," he says.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has put up signboards warning visitors to keep off the isolated place from sunset to sunrise. People visit the place during day-hours to get the glimpse of the ruined town, and RTDC wants to take its popularity to a new height.
"Bhangarh is likely to remain in our tour packages after CWG also, but it all depends on response and feedback from tourists. However, we hope that it will attract tourists and the response would be positive," says Singh.
"Till now, tourists used to visit the place led by folklore but with CWG the place may get a fresh lease of life with the state government introducing tour package covering this site too," says the officer.
People avoid entering the area after sunset due to several spooky stories associated with Bhangarh.
According to one story, a tantrik cursed the city after a beautiful princess spurned him and hurled a bowl of oil containing a love potion meant for her on a wall that collapsed and buried the tantrik. The dying man put a curse on Bhangarh saying the kingdom would be wiped out overnight and would never be inhabited again, except for the temples.
Today many barrack like constructions, dot the cobbled path leading up to an old fort, casting an eerie impression on the visitor.
It opens up to a huge open space that is littered with rubbles of temples. Beyond the central square, the fort rises in the foothills. It was seven-storey high but only four of its stories remain today.
The RTDC is offering 11 tour packages from Delhi to Rajasthan during CWG with ten per cent discount from September 1 to October 10 this year.
The tourist season in the state also begins from this period, and lasts till April.