The cursed temple of Kiradu
Rajasthan and its undying love affair with Forts and temples is not a hidden phenomenon from anyone of us. The great grandeur of forts and palaces the state holds defies the basis of Rajasthan’s glorious history. One of them is Kiradu Temple, an abandoned temple located 35 km away from Barmer in Rajasthan, probably in the Thar Desert region, is situated in the town of Kiradu. It is believed that the temple was built in the 11th century by the Kirad or Kirar clan of Rajputs. Inside the temple lie their intricate carvings and incredibly expansive courtyards! But the magnificent history of Kiradu is nothing less than haunted!
The local people call it the Khajuraho or mini-Khajuraho of Rajasthan due to its erotic sculptures that are its fundamental and inherent beauty. But do you know such a beauty of Rajasthan is cursed? Despite its beauty, you won’t find any flocking locals or tourists near the temple past sunset. No one dares to enter after the sunset and the locals are gripped by fear, myths, and a sense of mystery. But why the temple is haunted? Let’s check it out!
The Curse of Kiradu
The Kiradu temple was built in the 11th century by the Kirad or Kirar clan of Rajputs, while many believe that it was built by the Chalukya kings. Legends state that originally there were a total of 108 temples inside the premises, but now only five half-ruined remains, known as Someshvara Temple. They were destroyed due to frequent attacks by several invaders. Among those who remained, one is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Kiradu was formally called Kiradkot and was a kingdom during the 12th century, controlled by several small dynasties, which ruled as vassals of the Chalukyas. The villagers were great followers of Lord Shiva which is well evident in the sculptures found inside the temple. There is no scientific evidence suggesting that the temple is haunted yet several legends are stating otherwise. According to one of the legends, after the attack by Turk invaders, King Someshwar of the Parmar Dynasty invited a sage to restore the prosperity and happiness of the Kingdom. The great sage performed several rituals and after he completed he left one of his disciples behind to maintain the happiness of the Kingdom. After the sage left, the locals forgot about disciple. Days, months, and years passed, yet nobody came forward to check up on him, except a potter’s family, who took care of him.
The disciple soon fell sick and when the great sage came to know about his situation, he was furious at the ungrateful attitude of the king and his subjects. The sage cursed the whole kingdom to turn into stone and made sure that the potter family has moved out. They were asked to avoid looking behind lest the curse turns them into a stone. But out of curiosity, the woman looked back and instantly was turned to stone. The kingdom, since then is abandoned and none dares to move there. It is believed that the kingdom is still under the sage’s wrath and the town at dusk would turn into a stone.
The story has another version, according to which when the great sage and his disciple returned to the town, some people gave them ‘Panchmukhi alms’ (providing alms by using five fingers) while the rest gave alms using three fingers which were unacceptable according to the custom. The great sage was angry and in turn cursed the whole kingdom to turn into stone by night. Since the people who gave him Panchmukhi alms knew about the curse and were advised to leave the town before dawn, the rest of the unaware people were turned to stone.
The strong superstitions made nobody check the authenticity of the curse and the presence of a woman statue adds further testimony to the legend. But mere superstitions of the locals never stopped the paranormal experts to test the truth of the story. Many of them explained there is nothing paranormal inside the temple and it is safe to visit even after sunset. But people still fear visiting the temple past sunset. While during the day, few people do visit to unravel the spectacular beauty of the temple.
The Beauty of Kiradu Temple
Inscription on Kiradu dates back to 1153-1178 CE. They are not solely erotica but include Mandala art and sculptures of Hindu Gods. The fine detailed work on the walls of the temple suggests the way of living according to Hinduism, our culture, and the bravery of the kings that ruled the town. Though being an iconic temple of Rajasthan, the Kiradu Temple has perhaps lost under the glory of other magnificent forts of the state. But that doesn’t diminish the glory of this abandoned town which shines Indian culture differently. Tourists are free to visit the temple from 9 AM to 6 PM.
There are perhaps more places keeping treasure for centuries and decades but their existence remains a mystery to date. Because just like human cities too are mortal and thus are bound to dust with time. Throughout Indian history, several towns have submerged, destroyed, or abandoned including the glorious Kiradu Temple of Rajasthan.