Students of Delhi University, particularly in the North Delhi campus, have heard strange tales from their seniors about the Khuni Khan Jheel, the haunted lake within the wooded Ridge. Twenty five first year undergraduate students, of a prestigious college, wanted to crosscheck the ‘superstitious tales’. Well past midnight, on a cold and dark December night, they ventured into the haunted Ridge, sneaking away from their hostel. Find out what happened that night. How scary was their spooky experience? Arindam tells about the self-initiated ‘initiation ceremony’ of these boys, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.
On a cold December night, in 2010, well past midnight, a group of young boys, hostlers of a prestigious North Delhi college resolved to be adventurous. They decided to visit the Khooni Khan Jheel (Blood Mine Lake, a literal translation) situated in the Ridge, behind their hostel.
This lake is reportedly haunted.
As the name suggests, the rebels in 1857, had the first run. They killed the English soldiers and dumped their bodies in this lake. When the reinforcements arrived, the British crushed the Mutiny (also called the First War of Independence). They were far more brutal. They repaid the rebels in their own coins. The bodies of the Indian rebels too were dumped in this bloody lake. If the folklore was to be believed, the lake had turned red for days after the gruesome slaying by the English.
One of the many stories doing rounds is that after midnight, a headless soldier on a horseback is seen brandishing his sword. Another story tell us that a woman in a white cotton dress is often spotted. While the soldier chases people, the woman in white, vanishes after blood curdling shrieks.
These young hostlers had heard these tales too. They wanted to crosscheck the facts. But, they were a little afraid too. A group of 25 boys, all first year undergraduates, stealthily sneaked out of the boys’ hostel, at about 1am, on the Saturday-Sunday interim night. None of them had flashlights or sticks. The light of their cell phones was all they had to guide them in the dark cold night. They did not want to be spotted by the security guards, while scaling the walls of the college building.
They jumped out silently. Soon, a boisterous group of boys entered the Ridge woods. They then talked in soft, hushed tones, in audible whispers. Strange night sounds and the chill of the December night had their adrenaline pumping. They were being foolhardy felt a few among them. But, it was too late to turn back.
They walked gingerly, huddled together, in measured steps. Fear had heightened their sense of sight and sound. Some cell phones had the torches on.
The sounds of crickets, distant howl of dogs, flutter of night birds – possibly owls – and the flapping of wings of bats zigzagging overhead added to the excitement. These young boys, with raging hormones, wanted to find out the truth. They felt secure in numbers.
After a while they were very near the Khuni Khan Jheel, fenced by wires. They were waiting. Suddenly, the temperature dropped dramatically. There was a chill in the night breeze. The leaves of the trees were aflutter, though there was no wind. They could hear themselves breathing. Their hearts were thumping aloud. They were picking the littlest sound.
A little away from them, snakes rustled through the grasses, slithering over the fallen leaves. Its tail was seen in the cell torchlight.
The boys had goosebumps when they heard a deep growling, animalistic sound. “It seemed that there were many ghosts all around us. The sound was coming from over our heads. These eerie sounds had surrounded us. It seemed that these voices were closing in on us,” said Aniket (all names changed).
“Someone said, “Bhag! (Run). We ran as fast as we could, making sure that no one was left behind,” added Praful, his friend.
“Fortunately, we did not lose our way,” said Ramesh.
“Though out of breath, we stopped when we reached our hostel, scaling the walls all over again. It was 2.40am,” Aniket said.
Harsh confessed, “No one spoke that night. In double seeded rooms, there were four to six boys. We knew we had done a great mistake. Such an adventure wasn’t worth it at all.” He added, “We woke late, on Sunday afternoon.”
Ramesh said, “Some of us heard the gallop of a horse too. We were too scared to look around.”
These boys confided that the silly adventure was not worth the risk. “Even if it was hallucination, which we doubt it was, there was no need to be a brave ghost buster! ….It’s sensible to believe in strange stories. At least, that’s what our December night adventure taught us, perhaps for life!” Harsh reasoned.
The boys, all young men now, agreed that the spooky night would live with them for a very long time. They had met at an alumni meet of their college, recently.
Photos from the Internet.
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