India is a land of mystics and mysteries. There are as many stories as there are people. Those who believe that India is all snake-charmers definitely need to brush up their knowledge of the country. There are not just snake-charmers, we have ghosts, avatars, strange phenomenon and stranger beliefs too.
Mass Bird Suicide-Jatinga, Assam
The idyllic village of Jatinga is snugly nestled amongst the Borail Hills of Assam. Every monsoon, this scenic village witnesses an uncanny phenomenon. Between September and October, especially during dark and foggy nights, hundreds of migratory birds fly full speed towards trees and buildings, crashing to death. This ‘mass bird suicide’ was first brought to global attention by famous naturalist E.P. Gee in the 1960s. Ever since, it has remained one of the world’s unsolved mysteries.
Balancing Rock-Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu
The enormous balancing rock, also known as Krishna’s Butter Ball, is a prime tourist attraction in Mahabalipuram. This rock is 5 meters in diameter and is positioned on a smooth gradient. It seems to defy all the laws of physics. It offers shed to all those who dare to sit underneath it.
Rural Olympics-Kila Raipur, Ludhiana, Punjab
During February every year, Kila Raipur village in Ludhiana is buzzing with energy. Locals and tourists come together to witness a recreational sports meet of farmers in and around Kila. The Rural Olympics was a brainchild of philantropist Inder Singh Grewal. It was conceived as early as 1933. Bullock racing, tent pegging, Gatka, camels, mules and dog races are the main attractions. Punjabi folklore and cultural festivities also grace the event, making it a truly exhilarating experience.
The Motorcycle God-Bullet Baba Shrine, Bandai, Rajasthan
If there is any place in the world where you’ll come across a shrine where flowers and liquor bottles are offered to a motorcycle, it has to be in India! At Bandai, Jodhpur, Om Singh Rathore died when he crashed his Bullet into a tree while riding drunk. The police claimed the bike and took it to the station. The next day, the bike was found at the spot of the accident. They brought it back to the station, emptied the fuel tank and chained it. Yet the bike miraculously found its way back to accident spot the next day. The motorcycle was moved permanently to the location and the Om Baba (or Bullet Baba as it is popularly called) Shrine was erected. Every day many passers-by come to offer their prayers. The spirit of Om Banna is believed to protect travellers.
Hide and Seek Beach, Chandipur, Odisha
If you visit this beach in Orissa for the second time, it is possible that it won’t be there. And when you visit it for the third time, it might again resurface. The beach disappears from time to time depending on low and high tide. This is the Chandipur beach, also called the Hide n Seek beach.
Red Rain-Idukki, Kerala
Apart from its delectable coastal curry, Idduki is also known for a strange phenomenon called ‘Red Rain’. The first incident of Red Rain was recorded as early as 1818. Ever since, Idukki has witness this unusual sight intermittently. Idukki has been classified a ‘Red Region’. In Hinduism, red rain is the wrath of the Gods, punishing sinners. It signals a wave of destruction and woe. Some believe the killing of innocents leads to red rain. Scientists are yet to come up with an explanation.
Hanging Pillar-Lepakshi, Andhra Pradesh
Lepakshi Temple in southern Andhra Pradesh is another marvel of Indian architecture. Out of the 70 pillars, there is one that hangs without any support, and does not the touch the ground. Pilgrims and curious tourists pass dupattas, twigs and other thin objects under the pillar to see if the claims are true. It is even believed that doing this will bring good luck to the devotee.
Levitating Stone-Shivapur, Maharashtra
Somewhere in Pune, in a quaint little hamlet called Shivapur, lies the Hazrat Qamar Ali Darvesh that has a magical story to tell. The current shrine was a gymnasium, 800 years ago. A Sufi saint called Qamar Ali was taunted by the wrestlers there. The saint placed a spell on the rocks that were used for body-building. The 70 kg rock can only be lifted by 11 finger tips touching it and calling out his name loudly. Till date, the Stone of Qamar Ali can be magically lifted by chanting his name.
Temple Of Rats-Karni Mata Temple, Rajasthan
A little town called Deshnok, 30 kms from Bikaner, holds an intriguing sight: the Karni Mata Temple, home to over 20,000 rats. ‘Kabbas’ as they are called, these rats are worshipped because it is believed that they are reincarnated family members of Karni Mata. White mice are revered even more because they are considered to be Karni Mata and her sons.
Great wall of India-Kumbhalgarh Fort, Rajasthan
Kumbhalgarh is a massive fortress situated 82 kms from Udaipur in Rajasthan. The walls of this fortress constitute a perimeter of around 36 kms, and are said to be the longest wall in India, and the second longest in the world, after China’s Great Wall. What’s more, the walls house 300 temples. And no, it’s not visible from space.
Floating Lake-Loktak Lake, Manipur
The largest freshwater lake in India’s North-East, the Loktak Lake is a sight to behold. Because of its floating phumdis, it has been named the world’s only floating lake. Apart from its scenic beauty, this lake plays a big role in Manipur’s economy, serving as a source for hydropower generation, irrigation, drinking water supply and source of livelihood for local fishermen. The largest of all the phumdis, or floating islands on Loktak, is the Keibul Lamjao National Park, the last natural refuge of the endangered Manipur Brow-Antlered deer.
Home to the notorious Cream-Malana, Himachal Pradesh
Located in the north-east of the Kullu Valley, Malana is also known as the ‘Little Greece of India’, because the locals believe that they are descendants of Alexander-the-Great himself! This ancient village is cut off from the rest of the world, and they follow an indigenous political system. There are only about a hundred houses in this village, but it is home to Malana Cream, the finest quality and most potent charas ever produced.
Asia’s Cleanest Village-Mawlynnong, Meghalaya
Mawlynnong Village in Cherrapunji is popularly called ‘God’s Own Garden.’ It has won international accolades for being Asia’s Cleanest Village. It is a community-based effort for promoting eco-tourism. It is interesting to note that this village has a 100% literacy rate and most villagers speak English fluently. Mawlynnong boasts of other amazing sights like waterfalls, Living Roots Bridge and a Balancing Rock.
Land of Black Magic-Mayong, Assam
A cloak of mystery shrouds Mayong, better known as the Land Of Black Magic, a village 40 kms from Guwahati city, close to Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. It is popularly believed that the name Mayong comes from the Sanskrit word for illusion, Maya. Many tales of men disappearing into thin air, people being converted into animals, or beasts being magically tamed, have been associated with Mayong. Sorcery and magic were traditionally practised and passed down over generations. Many ancient relics of Ayurveda and black magic are now preserved in the Mayong Central Museum.Red Rain-Idukki, Kerala
Apart from its delectable coastal curry, Idduki is also known for a strange phenomenon called ‘Red Rain’. The first incident of Red Rain was recorded as early as 1818. Ever since, Idukki has witness this unusual sight intermittently. Idukki has been classified a ‘Red Region’. In Hinduism, red rain is the wrath of the Gods, punishing sinners. It signals a wave of destruction and woe. Some believe the killing of innocents leads to red rain. Scientists are yet to come up with an explanation. — with Rinku Chandel and Sunil Raj.
Floating Stones of Rama Setu-Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu
Located on Pamban Island, and separated from the Indian mainland by the Pamban Channel, the little town of Rameshwaram has great significance in Hindu mythology. It is from here that Rama is believed to have built a bridge across to Lanka to rescue Sita. Stones used to build this bridge had Rama’s name engraved on them and they never sank in water. The curious fact is that such ‘floating stones’ are still found around Rameshwaram.
Village Without Doors-Shani Shignapur, Maharashtra
Located 35 kms from Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, Shani Shinagpur village is known for its popular Shani temple. This village has never witnessed any crime, and that is attributed to the blessings of Shani Dev. The villagers have full faith in their god, and have completely entrusted their safety into his hands. That is why homes and commercial buildings in this village has no doors, or even a door frame. Taking note of the near-zero crime rate, the UCO Bank has also opened a ‘lock-less’ branch in this village, the first of its kind in India.
Lake of Skeletons-Roopkund Lake, Uttarakhand
At a height of 16,500 feet, in the middle of the most uninhabitable part of the Himalayas lies the secluded Roopkund Lake, covered in snow and surrounded by rock-strewn glaciers. More popularly known as Skeleton Lake or Mystery Lake , the spine-chilling attraction of this lake is the 600 odd human skeletons that were discovered here. These date back to the 9th CE and are clearly visible at the bottom of the shallow lake when the snow melts. The locals believe that this entourage had earned the fury of the local deity, Latu, who sent a terrible hailstorm their way, which eventually killed them.
The Curious Case Of Twins-Kodinhi Village, Kerala
Kodinhi, a sleepy little town tucked away in the Malappuram district of Kerala, has managed to baffle scientists across the world. In a population of 2000, Kodinhi has 350 pairs of identical twins! It has rightfully earned the title of ‘Twin Town.’ 6 pairs of twins in every 1000 births is considered a high twinning rate. Kodinhi has a rate of 42 twins per 1000 births. This means, almost every family in Kodinhi has more than one pair of twins.