Kuldhara is a village in Jaisalmer and earns its name for being an abandoned ghost town. There are a lot of legends behind the phenomenon of Kuldhara and this is one of them.
The Kuldhara village was established in the 13th century and was a rich bustling civilization inhabited by the Paliwal Brahmins. It is said that in the early 19th century, one fateful night the entire community left the village never to return. Not only Kuldhara but 83 other villages have said to have deserted their homes overnight. The state minister at the time, Salim Singh was atrocious and unjust and disliked by the Pali brahmins. He wanted to get married to a girl from the community who caught his fancy and to oppose this, the Brahmins have said to have left overnight and that they also put a curse on the village that no one will be able to occupy it again. And those who tried have experienced paranormal activities owing to which the village continues to be abandoned to this day. It is also said that a lot of gold is buried in the abandoned site. The locals who live close however do not agree to it ever being a possessed town.
Kuldhara is now a well maintained tourist attraction and the government has renamed it as Kudhara-The Abandoned village. A few of the houses and the temple in the centre of the village has been restored to give insight into how it must have been then and spots to take pictures from. The area does have an abandoned eerie feeling to it but it has more to do with the thought of knowing this deserted overnight and trying to comprehend it. So whether the story is true or not, it does play on your mind and makes Kuldhara worth a visit when in Jaisalmer. And the fact that it is enroute Sam sand dunes makes it all the more accessible.
Another interesting place near Kuldhara is a Desert hostel which is right behind the walls of the abandoned city. The desert hostel is a calm oasis where you can certainly stop and smell the coffee (or chai in this case). If you want to experience the desert and yet not spend the night there and not in tents stacked one next to the other either, then this is the perfect alternative. They have these spacious huts with double/ single beds and also a hut with dorm beds which makes it a place for everyone who wants to unwind. And if you book for one night you will surely be tempted to extend if time permits you. The hostel is an experience in itself as you are transported to a village inside a village and have nothing to do except laze on hammocks, walk around the fields, admire the mountains and just soak in how precious life and simple joys in life are. You can curl up in blankets and sit around the bonfire in the evening before enjoying a delicious dinner and resting for the night warmed up in your room or brave the chill and watch your face light up under the starry night sky. Also being so close to the abandoned village your mind will certainly fill you with sinister thoughts but put it to rest and enjoy the beauty of the place as there is nothing ghostly about Kuldhara.
Kuldhara village has an entry fee of INR 50 if driving in with a vehicle and INR 20 if you walk it out the entire complex and it is open until 5 pm. The desert hostel costs around INR 2000 for a double room and INR 499 for a dorm bed. Meals are prepared as per requests and costs between INR 150 to 350 per meal.