I am a die hard fan of horror and spooky stories. But what if they are for real…means not mere stories but something people believe in…though I won’t believe in them nor would ask anyone to do so but for satisfying my thirst of mystery, fear and all at once…I would love to read them and feel the hair rising and tickling at the back of neck experience.
If they are folklore or legends from the past it is more thrilling, as I love history. It gives a dash of romance with the thrill, sometimes. This week at TPIB we have theme of writing about a legend…and I got the chance to indulge in my favourite genre. That gave me a new topic to write about on my blog, apart from my depressed mind’s ramblings, i.e. about horror or haunted legends wrapped in mysteries.
There are so many of them around us, so I thought to first start with my homeland, then will slowly move towards others. Hope it will entertain you as much as it’s thrilling me to write.
A dutiful ghost of Brijrajbhawan, Kota.
Today I choose a city where I have spent 2 years of my childhood, the city of River Chambal, Kota Doria sarees, Masala Limca, Palaces and gardens, KOTA city from Hadoti region of Rajasthan.
The one I choose to narrate today is about a haunted palace or shall I say a haunted hotel? Well I will call it a heritage hotel run by the royal family of Kota!
The story takes place in the colonial India. Yes the so called ghost in this lore is a British Major.
The palace where our story begins is called “Brijrajbhawan” a residential palace of former royal family of Kota, having a resident ghost of Major Charles Burton, who was then British resident to Kota and was killed while serving by the sepoys of 1857 freedom war.
Our story begins when Major Charles Burton of 40th Bengal Native Infantry was posted to Kota as Resident and Brijrajbhawan Palace was British Residency and now home to Major and his family for 13 years. In May 1857, at the outbreak of the mutiny, Major Burton was summoned by the British General commanding the nearby Neemuch cantonment for the protection of Neemuch, a town in Madhya Pradesh. Burton was accompanied to Neemuch by his family. On the request of Kota ‘s king Major along with his two sons returned to Kota on December 13, 1857. After two days Major Burton saw a large party approaching the Residency. He assumed that these troops of the Maharaja had come to pay a friendly visit. But soon the mutinied soldiers surrounded and entered the palace. All the servents of the Residency abandoned the Residency,leaving The Burtons alone with few arms that they were able to snatch. They ran to the upper storey and took refuge in a small room and waited there for the help to arrive while the loot was going on in the lower portion. But after 5 hours of firing The Burtons surrendered and kneeling down said their prayers. In March 1858, Kota was again annexed by British government and the bodies of the Burtons were disinterred and buried in the Kota cemetery with full military honours.
After independence the palace became private property of the royal family of Kota, to which they later converted into a heritage hotel after renovating. Today, it is not only a heritage hotel but also a haunted destination in India where the ghost of Major Burton prevails. It is said that Charles Burton’s ghost still haunts the old building and susceptible guests have complained of distinctly “discomforting and oppressive feelings”. Though the staff is reluctant to the complaints yet acknowledges an English voice being heard often by the drowsy watchmen that says, “Don’t sleep, no smoking” followed by a sharp slap if they are not performing their duty properly. Seems that the ghost of Burton still patrols the mansion!