Ravindranagar has earned this dubious distinction after a spate of suicides rocked the area. Locals believe that this is the wrath of a goddess, after a temple was demolished
A creepy feeling runs down the spine when one enters Ravindranagar in Sitaphalmandi, especially post 6pm. The streets wear a deserted look, the houses have Jai Sri Ram painted in red on the walls and doors. Some of the doors have been locked with the bulbs still switched on as though they were abandoned in a hurry.
It is the setting of a horror movie, although the residents in this small community swear that they have been cursed and that the haunting is too real to ignore. They say they are paying the price of a curse, and only an ‘auspicious’ time can save them.
As we were searching for what is now infamously called ‘Ghost Town’, we stumbled upon Raju, a painter, who warned us against going there. His mother has forbidden him from going near the area and he is scared of the tales that surround it.
Even as we entered the road leading to the location of the supposed hauntings, we could hardly see a soul in sight — the doors were shut and it looked like people did not want to be seen. Upon approaching a big temple in the area, we saw a group of 20 young men along with a few elders.
We went up to them to get a clearer picture of why this area has been in the news of late. Joginder, an elder of the community, told that within the same compound of the temple we were seated at, there were two other smaller temples of mata. The temple president demolished them without the consent of anybody after one of the tenants living in the same vicinity said he needed more space. This was a day after Ugadi.
“15 days since the demolition,” claims Joginder, “seven people have died in our community including five people who committed suicide without any apparent reason, and one immolated self.”
Allegedly, a man in the community who the residents did not name, wasn’t going to work since three days. When his mother scolded him, he committed suicide. In another instance, a women committed suicide, but neither did she fight with her husband, nor did she have any problem with her children.
“Even with the slightest of argument, and sometimes for no reason whatsoever, the residents are being driven to suicide. We don’t know what why they are doing so. This is the curse of the Mata whose temples were demolished,” exclaimed Joginder.
While some of the bodies have been buried, others have been burnt and even chopped off to stop the panic. Incidently, they were all aged between 20 and 25.
A youth in the group, Satesh Kumar, said that since a week, they have stopped four people from committing suicide. “When we asked them why they were taking this extreme step, they said that they did not know what drove them to it. All of us are really scared,” he said.
All the young men, since then, have been spending many a nights at the temple being vigilant of any suicidal activity, and also because they feel safe here.
The temple president has been avoiding visits to the temple, despite repeated requests by the residents. Of the 400 houses here, about 30 per cent have been vacated. Relatives of the residents too have refused to come here. Joginder says that before the mishaps, the area represented a market with scores of people on the street even late into the night. Now the lights are switched off at 9pm.
Before it was concluded that the incidents where taking place as a result of the demolition of the temples, panic broke out when Madhu, a resident, who was commuting on his bike suddenly felt as if someone was pulling his bike back. Allegedly, when he turned back, there was no one. He abandoned his bike and ran for shelter to the temple under the Sitaphalmandi bridge.
To undo the supposed wrath, the residents have rebuilt the temples, broken the adjacent wall to let sunlight hit the idol, and built a new wall further ahead. They are only waiting for a mahurat to put the Mata’s idols into the temple. “Only then can we hope to be safe,” said Deepak, a resident.
Our curiosity to know more lead us to Posayya’s home. He was one among the many to commit suicide for no reason. His mother took us inside his bedroom where he hung himself with a saree. He was a bright young man who sold flowers, recalled his teary-eyed mother.
While walking back, K Rajesh, a resident, pointed out that while the fear spreads, nobody talks about what lead to the suicide. “Did you know that Poschayya was fighting depression after his first wife left him. When he wanted to marry his neighbour, his mother asked for a dowry of Rs.50,000? These things never come to the fore and are instead put under the garb of superstition,” he said.
Five other ‘haunted’ places in Hyderabad
- Kundan Bagh, Begumpet
- Ramoji Film City
- Golkonda Fort
- Taramati Baradari
- Uppal Stadium
- Ghosts are the mind’s way of interpreting how the body reacts to certain surroundings, say UK psychologists.
- A chill in the air, low-light conditions and even magnetic fields may trigger feelings that a presence is in a room – but that is all they are, feelings.
- This explanation of ghosts is the result of a study in which researchers led by volunteers in UK.
- Dr Richard Wiseman and his colleagues say their work has thrown up interesting data to suggest why so many people can be spooked in the same building but provides no evidence that ghosts are real.