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A night walk reveals the good ghosts, bitter spooks and curse stones of Mumbai

Join Khaki Tours to make your way through dimly lit alleys, winding roads and eerily quiet parts of Girgaum.

mumbai Updated: Sep 16, 2017 10:15 IST
Anesha George
Anesha George
Hindustan Times
Ghost walk,Mumbai,Khaki Tours
There are two Muslim burial grounds at Mangalwadi in Girgaum. The lane between them is the end of the line for this walk. (Satyabrata Tripathy / HT Photo)
Grisly Girgaon Ghost Walk
  • WHERE: SK Patil Udyan to Charni Road station
  • WHEN: Next walk on September 17, 10 pm to midnight
  • COST: Rs 699
  • CALL Khaki Tours on 88281-00111

Every area in Mumbai has a story, and sometimes a resident ghost as well. At least that’s what Bharat Gothoskar, 43, founder of Khaki Tours, will tell you.

He narrates a series of thrilling and macabre stories on the Girsly Girgaon tour, always ending with a characteristic ‘believe-it-or-not’ grin.

The two-hour night walk takes you through narrow, dimly lit alleys, eerily silent roads and deserted areas.

Smaller shrines on the trail are dedicated to Babdev or Good Ghost, who protects the area from the big, bad, bully ghosts. ( Satyabrata Tripathy / HT Photo )

“In the 18th and 19th century, people came to cremate the dead by the sea,” says Gothoskar. “The sea-facing area on the west coast called Backbay is where the ghost stories begin.”

Ghotoskar’s tales range from the morbid to the intriguing and downright bizarre. Neighing horses have been heard in the dead of the night in Kranti Nagar chawl, which was once a stable for the horses of British officers.

There are tales of Maan Kapya, the headless hunter who would behead lone wanderers by trapping them in the labyrinth of alleys in Khotachiwadi.

Strange sounds could be heard from his abandoned furniture godown in Mugbhat Lane. ( Satyabrata Tripathy / HT Photo )
Ghost busting 101
  • Pop culture, legend and lore have created their own rulebook for members of Mumbai’s afterlife.
  • Brahmo rakshasas are proud of their learned ancestry, so don’t get into a debate with them.
  • Munjas are restless children who haunt trees and annoy young women.
  • Dakin are ghosts of married women who have not had their fill of wedded bliss and hence are bitter.

History mixes with hearsay on the tour. “The Pimpalwadi temple in Mugbhat Lane has a 500-year-old curse stone from the Shilahara period, with an explicit engraving of a woman and a donkey,” says Gothoskar. “It says if anyone dared to violate certain orders, their mother will be cursed to copulate with the animal.”

But all’s not morose and disheartening. Thakurdwar has a temple built to protect the neighbourhood from evil spirits. Smaller shrines on the trail are dedicated to Babdev or the Good Ghost, who protects the areas from the big, bad, bully ghosts.

“Growing up in Mangalwadi, in a lane between a Sunni Kabrastan and a Shia Kabrastan, I knew never ever to look back if you were walking home alone at night,” says Saish Khandekar, 25, an architect who participated in the walk. “Today, I am not afraid, but after this I sure have a lot more stories to spook people out with.”

First Published: Sep 15, 2017 20:14 IST