A Visit to the Haunted Temples of Kiradu from Barmer, Rajasthan

Kiradu Temple Complex is an offbeat historical gem some 35 km from Barmer City in Rajasthan State of India. We found the pictures of the temples on the internet very intriguing and mind boggling. The splendid temple complex believed to be haunted piqued our curiosity. And when we were looking for a stopover between Udaipur and Jaisalmer on our Rajasthan road trip Barmer was unequivocal.

We read about Barmer first time when reading a book ‘The Heat and Dust Project‘ which spoke of some sand dunes but nothing other than that. Hence, Kiradu group of temples on the city outskirts was the only key attraction for our Barmer visit.

Barmer Sand Dunes

We reached our hotel in Barmer just before sunset. We checked-in our luggage and rushed towards the sand dunes which was a 5-minutes walk from hotel. The dunes bathed in orange glow of the dipping sun was all to ourselves.

Haunted Kiradu Temples Barmer

The enthralling wavy patterns over the sloping dunes were suffused with the fading daylight. Chhavi had fun rolling in the sand and we took this chance to click some quick impromptu pictures of her.

Haunted Kiradu Temples Barmer

Haunted Kiradu Temples Barmer

Soon the sun disappeared into the horizon leaving traces of its orange hues on the purplish sky. The only illumination we could sight as far as we could see was that of our hotel.

Haunted Kiradu Temples Barmer

On the other side, the moon had already risen high in its full glory above the deserted dunes. We walked on the desolate roads through the stretches of barren land dotted with thorny bushes.

Haunted Kiradu Temples Barmer

There wasn’t much scope for the dark fantasies as we soon reached the hotel. We called it a night after dinner at the hotel restaurant.

Next day early morning we were on our way to next destination Jaisalmer. But before that, we decided to make a quick stop at the Kiradu temples. Kiradu is 35 km off the route to Jaisalmer. The road to Kiradu was a long stretch of road through the arid lands with hardly any bends.

An hour later we were at the temple complex gate which was locked and there wasn’t any sign of anyone around. We were a bit skeptical if the entry was open swayed by the fact that the temples were assumed to be haunted. But then suddenly a man popped out of nowhere and inquired of our details probably as he did not expect much visitors to this abandoned city of bygone grandeur.

We walked on the paved path through the thorny bushes past the frolicking goats to the temple complex and stood flabbergasted. The wonderful temples dating back to 11th and 12th century were in ruins and apparently in disrepair. But of whatever was remaining it is was astounding and one of the finest example of architecture wonders.

Haunted Kiradu Temples Barmer

Kiradu Temple Ruins

To our right, a set of crumbling stairs led to a temple surrounded by the dense thicket and undulating parched mountains in the backdrop. The lone temple with wrecked tower facade enduring the battering lashes of weather epitomized the splendor of bygone era.

Haunted Kiradu Temples Barmer

Though the temple facade was pitiable the grandeur of the architecture was evident on circumambulating the temple structure. The multi turrets on the tower had intricate carvings and beautiful sculptures carved on the walls and into the wall niches.

Haunted Kiradu Temples Barmer

The second temple was right across the road opposite to the first temple to our left. The second temple was much similar to the first one but with its crown broken midway.

Haunted Kiradu Temples Barmer

The third temple someshwara dedicated to Lord Shiva was the largest of the surviving temples. The steps leading to temple and the carvings were in better condition though the defaced statues and animal sculptures were in deplorable state.

Haunted Kiradu Temples Barmer

The lintels and the pillars were embellished with some of the elegant carvings and fine motifs. Some of the carvings depicted the epics from Hindu Mythology. We scoured for one impeccable piece in the derelict beauty but in vain.

Haunted Kiradu Temples Barmer

Haunted Kiradu Temples Barmer

We walked around the temple and were gobsmacked by the debris of severed sculptures of the temple.

Haunted Kiradu Temples Barmer

Haunted Kiradu Temples Barmer

Eyes aren’t enough to behold the beauty of exquisite art work on the temple. So captivating and spell bounding. We couldn’t but imagine its sheer splendour in the days of opulence. The temples are also called as ‘The Khajuraho of Rajasthan’ due to its erotic sculptures.

Haunted Kiradu Temples Barmer

The third and fourth temple stood obscured by the wild growth behind the first temple. All along the way to the third and fourth temple we found more of the temple ruins piled up in heaps which manifested the severity of the destruction carried on by the invaders.

Haunted Kiradu Temples Barmer

The fourth temple again was much similar to the first and second temple in architecture as well as condition. All the temples are of typical solanki architecture built in Maru-Gurjar style and have statues of various Hindu deities carved on the temple walls.

Haunted Kiradu Temples Barmer

The fifth one was alluring and enchanting. It looked like a mandap where the performances like dance must have created a delightful ambiance. Today the aura dearth of any kind of music echoed nothing but a mystical silence.

Haunted Kiradu Temples Barmer

It is believed that this site was a thriving city at some point of time in history. And had more than 100 temples of which only five remain today. As much as we were elated to have discovered this gem from the past it was disheartening to behold the condition of these temples.

The Legend behind the Curse

According to the popular folklore an ancient saint left behind his disciple to work on reviving the prosperity of the kingdom. The disciple was completely ignored by the people of the kingdom except for a potter’s wife which annoyed the saint and he cursed the village.

The saint told the potter’s wife to leave the town without looking back. However the potter’s wife also turned into stone when she looked back out of curiosity. At the spot today stands a temple 1 km from the Kiradu temple complex.

Haunted Kiradu Temples Barmer

The locals believe that the curse of the saint still holds good and that if one stays back in the temple complex after dusk they would turn into stone too.

The mystery and the dread around the temple haunts everyone who visits the temple. But for us the most haunting was the deteriorating state of the temple. Any history buff and architecture lover would feel for such magnificent temple in the forlorn condition.

Have you been to these haunted temples of Kiradu and marveled at its architecture? Let us know in comments.

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25 Comment

  1. blair villanueva says: Reply

    It would be understated just to described this place as beautiful. Just look at those very detailed carvings! I hope and pray that these would not be further be destroyed by the nature’s disaster or human faults.

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Agree Blair the beauty of the architecture is beyond words

  2. Just breathtaking; I love the history and culture of every place I visit, this piece of Indian land seems interesting and fascinating! The temples are carved with many sculptures, so beautiful! thanks for sharing your experience, unfortunately I have never been there but I will consider it! 😀

  3. Monika says: Reply

    The architecture and artwork on the temples are Stunning.. I would love to go there! Looks so beautiful:)

  4. Indrani says: Reply

    I visited it in the evening and it was a magical experience. Did you find it haunted in any manner? The ruins are sad to see.

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      The complex is desolate other than nothing really eerie but yes the ruins are very disturbing.

  5. That place looks fascinating! Those intricate carvings perfectly designed is so beautiful. I have never visited a haunted place this like pretty ever.

  6. Such lovely photos that you made so playful in the desert with the sun. Nice idea!
    Regarding the temple, I always get in a “special” mood, a mix of respect and peace when I visit such old spiritual places and try to imagine what happened there back in those ancient times… When they have such a curse story – even better 🙂

  7. It is amazing how detailed the carvings are – so crisp after all these years. What an interesting experience. You said some of the carvings are erotic……would this be an ok place to take the kids? Or are there so many erotic sculptures that we would not be able to avoid awkward conversations? LOL!

  8. Such an amazing place and you did such a great job of capturing it with your lovely photos. I love to hear the back story behind such places as it adds so much to ones experience and for me, the reader, so much more interesting. Although even without the story, this is an incredible site and I thank you for sharing it in such detail.

  9. I was in India for 5 months and I thought I’d seen everything. Recently I see more and more posts from India of things I’ve missed! These 5 temples look amazing and would have loved to have photographed them! Back in the day with 100 temples must have been amazing.

  10. You seem to have stumbled upon a treasure trove at Barmer. The stone carvings look so intricate but it is very sad to know that they are all in ruins now. I m wondering if the locals still believe that there exists a curse that would haunt the ones who stay back at the temples after dusk…

  11. Oh, what beautiful temples! I like the detailed carvings and find the erotic sculptures to be interesting. 🙂 Indian architecture, art, history, mythology, culture are so fascinating and you story is just one more proof of it.

  12. Such beautiful carvings and temples. It is sad to see these temples in this crumbling state. This reminds us of our visit to Hampi, though Hampi is well preserved and is a UNESCO world heritage site. I wonder what the invaders gained by destroying such beautiful temples.

  13. These temples look quite fascinating than the haunted! And their rich carvings and architectures look magnificent. Is Rajasthan tourism not doing anything to protect these gems?

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      We did read that the government is working on the renovation hopefully sometime soon in the future 🙂

  14. I would love to go here…but they are haunted, so I am already spooked out! Where did you stay? and can you rent a car to do a self drive?

  15. Rajasthan and its stories seeped in structures that sing of time and glory! It is sad to see that such beautiful places are being neglected so much. O and from no angle this place looks haunted!

  16. What a beautiful site! I could spend hours here, just walking around and exploring different carvings. It could be hunted or not, I would not care! Too bad they were not taking better care of such a treasure.

  17. I have never been there before but I would like to go. The orange glow of the sunset is really beautiful. It is a shame about the debris and that some of the temples have been allowed to fall into disrepair…But perhaps it just adds to the mystery.

  18. I am always fascinated by the details in the temple carvings in India. Jaisalmer’s temples where I visited had such ornate cravings that clearly place India’s architecture above so many others. The sand dunes were lovely especially with the sunset. I enjoy such natural beauty like this as this is such a natural phenomenon.

  19. Veronica says: Reply

    My hearted started beating faster when I looked through your pictures, Rashmi!
    When is the best time to visit Rajasthan? I visited it in March and I didn’t enjoy at all. And I missed so many amazing places.

  20. Tae says: Reply

    Chhavi is getting so big! I swear she was tiny when I read your posts a few months ago. What a cutie. The temples look so ornate – but such a shame that they are getting into a state of disrepair. Do you think an increased amount of tourists would help with this situation – if the money was funneled into repairing the beautiful temples? I’d love to go ASAP while it is still standing in a still wonderful state.

  21. Such an informative post. Would love to visit soon before the ruins no longer stand. Thanks for sharing.

  22. I love the photos of the sand dunes. They are really great. The carving in the temple looks stunning. I really need to see more in Rajasthan. Thanks for sharing

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