It’s not rare to spot cyclists on Mumbai roads once the darkness sets in but of late, there has been an unusual bunch seeking spooky adventures in the city with its untapped treasure trove of ghostly tales.
A group called the Legend of Bombay Bards organises Bombay Ghost Tours: Haunted Midnight Cycle Ride which involves sharing supernatural stories with the riders as they visit Mumbai’s haunted spots! Priyank Deshmukh, the founder of the group explains, “We are into exploring the untold stories of Mumbai and one of the stories we came across was a ghost story about Wadala, Mumbai. We decided to find more such stories, combine it with effects like bells chiming, gunshots to create a unique cycling experience.”
Most of the stories narrated by ‘Spirit Guides’, date back to the time of Raja Bhim Dev, a 13th-century king who founded his capital in Mahikavati, now popularly known as Mahim and the British era. Calling these stories a combination of historical facts and legends, one of his favourites, Deshmukh says is the spine-chilling story of a haunted well near Redkar chawl in Mahim. “During the 1897 plague, a lady named Sulochana committed suicide near the well while her children were left behind at home. It is said that every amavas night she arrives and cries near the well,” he shares.
The lanes of Mahimawati— the belt including Dadar, Wadala, and Mahim–are the happy hunting grounds for the spook enthusiasts. Talking about their choice of locations, Deshmukh explains, “The word Mahima means ‘miracles’. Thus, Mahimawati is called the land of miracles. It has experienced a lot of war and bloodshed. There are local stories of paranormal activities in this belt. Using our creativity and the word of mouth about the stories we have heard about these places, we have dramatised it and created this entire tour.
“When we are telling the stories, the streetlights start fluctuating. There is a supernatural presence. Participants often go home thinking that there is a world which exists beyond human understanding.”According to Deshmukh, ghost stories are often a mix of reality and fiction combining the experiences of people and the history behind those places.
Another participant, Gaurav Natani, who is a sales manager at HDFC bank in Jaipur found the tour unusual and thrilling. Although Natani didn’t experience anything supernatural, he acknowledges an eerie feeling throughout the tour, “I got goosebumps whenever I heard a new story. Even though nothing happened, I did feel scared during the trip. The tour also gave me a very interesting insight into Mumbai’s history.”