Ghosts galore: Mumbai’s most haunted locations
You can’t get to the 13th floor of the Trident Hotel at Nariman Point because there isn’t one. In fact, it is not uncommon for skyscrapers in Mumbai’s commercial district to exclude “13” when numbering their floors. However, urban legends and local superstitions in Mumbai go beyond mere triskaidekaphobia. Stories of ghosts, unexplained serial suicides, abandoned mills, haunted houses and territorial widows in white saris determined to make people’s lives miserable from the afterlife populate a large unofficial body of local folklore.
Despite the catalogue of gruesome urban legends, Mumbai is a city with its head on its shoulders; a city with too much grit to capitulate to ghost stories. No one will ever stop driving down the winding road from the Tower of Silence that offers one of the best views of the city and the price of an apartment will surely frighten a Mumbaiker before any old story about spiteful spirits.
1. Grand Paradi Towers
Arguably the most famous haunted house in Mumbai is situated in one of the city’s most affluent areas. On the eighth floor of the Grand Paradi (sometimes referred to as the Grand Parrari) Towers in Kemps Corner a series of freakish suicides drew attention to what appeared to be a gruesome pattern of deaths and accidents in the building. In 2004 an elderly couple jumped out of the window of this apartment. Their children and their grandchild followed suit within the year. Residents who have lived in the building for 30 years tell us, “There was something unacceptable to our rational minds that a whole family, three generations, living in one house should commit suicide in the same way. There have been up to 20 cases of fatal accidents and suicides since the building was constructed in 1976. Many involving children and even a maid who either jumped or fell out of a window.”
After the series of unfortunate events the building society began to believe that paranormal forces were at work. “After the suicides of the family the building society decided to do a puja and a havan and since then everything has stopped but the flat remains unoccupied”.
2. Sanjay Gandhi National Park
Located on the northern fringes of Mumbai, this large protected area is usually a place people go to spot wildlife. There are rumors however, that at night, people have sightings of a phantom hitchhiker that asks those who pass by for rides. Dubious as this sounds, forest guards insist it's true.
3. Mukesh Mills
Shut down in 1980, this enormous abandoned mill in Colaba has been the shooting grounds for numerous films and advertisements. Deserted and rundown, Mukesh Mills is a ready-made set for horror films and Gothic shows, especially considering the Mills are actually considered to be haunted. Many directors, actors and producers refuse to work here past sunset. One television actress claimed to have had a particularly bad experience where one of her female co-stars suddenly began speaking in a manly voice, as if she were possessed, telling the crew to leave the premises immediately. Others say the place is jinxed and people are always losing their belongings, wallets and phones.
4. Aarey Milk Colony
Established in 1949, Aarey Milk Colony is a vast area in Goregaon East with long stretches of gardens, nurseries and lakes. Picnickers frequent this milking estate on the weekend along with members of the film and ad industry who use it as a location for shoots.
Aarey Milk Colony is famous for its visits from various apparitions. Just as with Mukesh Mills, many in the film industry get the spooks here and refuse to work in the place after dark.
5. Tower of Silence
Sounds ominous doesn’t it? The Tower of Silence is actually a Parsi cemetery situated rather picturesquely on Malabar Hill in South Mumbai. Custom dictates that Parsis leave the bodies of their dead for vultures to feed on. The graphic images that come to mind lend themselves to all sorts of horrifying stories. The winding road that leads down the hill is particularly desolate and eerie at night and the place has become recognized as a kind of ghoulish hangout. The weird happenings at the Grand Parrari Towers for instance, were blamed on spectral forces emanating from this cemetery.