No Spooky Experience at Brij Raj Bhavan Palace Kota, Rajasthan!
Ignorance is bliss!And we spent two whole blissful nights at Kota Brij Raj Bhavan Palace Hotel. I call those nights as blissful today, because I now know, that Palace is haunted. Yes, haunted by the ghost of Major Charles Burton, killed by Indians in the 1857 armed revolt against the British. I was ignorant of this fact on the nights of 8th and 9th of Oct. 2008. Probably that is why the nights were blissful.
No Spooky Experience
I try hard to recollect if I felt anything unusual on those two nights I spent there. Nothing, nothing at all! The dining hall was huge and the walls were decorated with stuffed heads of animals hunted by the kings. Of course this collection must have been before the enforcement of Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. There was a stuffed lion at the entrance to the dining hall which did give an eerie feeling, everything else looked and felt normal.
The Burtons arrived at Kota on December 13, 1857, and met with every mark of kindness. All seemed peaceful. Two days later, Major Burton saw a large party approaching the Residency. At first he assumed that some of the troops of the Maharaja had come to pay a friendly visit. But in a moment, the building was surrounded and entered by the soldiers, who had mutinied.
Abandoned by all their servants, except one camel-driver, Major Burton and his two sons took refuge in an upper room with the few arms that they had been able to snatch and waited for help to arrive from the Maharaja, while the house was looted below them.
After five hours of firing, Major Burton wished to plead with the mutineers for the lives of his sons, offering himself as a hostage. But his sons would not agree. They then knelt down and said their prayers.
A final plea to the Sikh soldiers, supposedly guarding the Residency, to free the boat on the river below, to enable them to escape, fell on deaf ears. By then, scaling ladders had been placed against the wall, mutineers ascended to the terrace and Major Burton and his two sons, who had retreated to the room below were murdered.
The Maharaja of Kota…
managed the same evening to recover the bodies and have them buried. But he himself was now a virtual prisoner in his palace surrounded by his own mutinous troops. It was only in March, 1858, that Kota was retaken by the British.
Two of the Indian leaders of the Mutiny, Jai Dayal and Mehrab Khan, who led the attack on the Residency, were hanged within the grounds of the mansion. Ask the staff and they will tell you that in the still of the night, an English voice has been often heard by the drowsy chowkidars (watchmen) to say, “Don’t sleep, no smoking” followed by a sharp slap. The ghost of Burton still patrols the mansion.
As quoted by Ann Morrow in her book “The Maharajas of India”, page 106-107, the Yuvrani (princess) stated “As far as we know, he (Major Burton) is an elderly man with white hair and a walking stick. I have seen him myself, because he was murdered in the first floor bedroom, which is now my study.”
I am content with my ‘no spooky experience’ with the ghost of Major Burton. But if you are interested in more haunted hotels of India, here is a list: The Haunted Hotels of India.