Surrounded by dense forest, we walked on the rocky path to see what was at the end of it. The path never ended and at every minute it bended into darker zones. We had left civilization far behind us. Even if we screamed in a group, it would not bring help. Such was the state of the place we were treading through.
When we saw a sign board pointing towards the path stating an unknown destination in an unknown language, we thought it to be like any other tourist spot. Who would guess that none of the tourists were interested in it? Or was it that the officials have forgotten to put up a danger sign? And we were the only ones still considering it to be like any other sight?
Whatever, now it was too late to think much. We had walked way too far into the forest. Better check out what lies in store for us before turning back. Or maybe, we still didn’t enter the zone of our hearts beating faster and making us shiver. We walked quicker. Just to see the end of it and get back to the safety of humanity. Not to say, that humans are far worse than wild animals or ghosts or the paranormal. But given the situation, humans were the preference.
The path was hard to walk on. There were little streams flowing down from the sides and flowing across our feet. The tree cover was too thick to let any sunlight escape onto our mortal bodies. Walk. Walk. Walk. Keep Walking. Yeah, Johnnie Walker, we are no less. What the hell? Why am I thinking about spirits? I should not be thinking about the carnal spirits or the paranormal spirits right now! To skip the fact, that none of our spirits were any higher. But there was some thrill in what we were doing. To face the unknown is always thrilling.
“I just thought about spirits. Did anyone of you?” I asked.
“What kind of spirits are you referring to?” echoed the others.
“The drinkable type”, retorted me.
“Shut up! You idiot!” screamed the group including me. As if I had already read their minds.
Then somewhere in a distance, we heard chants. Our faces lit up. We are not alone! Yippee!
“Wait. What if it is some sacrificial ceremony we are not invited to?” I asked again.
A heap of handbags, half empty water bottles and dirty footwear landed right on my head with a thud. It hurt me so bad that the others had to lift me back to my feet.
“Can’t you bloody keep your mouth shut for a minute?” they growled at me.
Mouth shut and head hurt, I walked slowly, my head reeling, behind everybody else.
We slowly started seeing more brightness which also brightened up our mood. The chants were getting really loud now. Then we took a hair pin turn to enter one of the most magnificent places on earth. It was a big opening in the forest with a temple right in the middle and a pond in front of it. The sight was too immense for our eyes to capture. The entire forest was dark around. The sunlight entered this spot like God himself was throwing it there. The temple was packed with people to its edges. All people like us. Normal people like us. Just that they were dressed in traditional attire. More like some medieval attire. But then why was the path empty? Maybe, people had reached early in time for the ceremony.
We wanted to catch a glimpse of the deity. So we walked faster towards the temple. As we were just about to cross the pond, the sunlight suddenly vanished. And the people suddenly started running out of the temple screaming. The entire temple was shaking like there was an earthquake. But we felt no tremors under our feet. The pond started drying up instantly. The people came running towards us and passed right through us like apparitions. The pillars of the temple crumbled to the ground. We closed our eyes in fear. Was this a vision or a dream? Are we really where we are? It was utter chaos. Eyes closed, we had to bear with the intense sounds and feel the terror. Maybe, it lasted for a few minutes.
Then there was a calm. A scary serenity. The five us of were thrown apart from each other and lie motionless on the ground. Picking ourselves up, we looked around. There was no more of that comfort we felt initially. In a distance, we saw ruins. The ruins of a medieval temple.
Speechless, we walked back all the way without uttering a single word. Once we reached the beginning of the path, I looked for the sign board, which seemed to be no more there. Was I imagining things? I didn’t want to bother the others. Silently, we got into our car and drove back to our hotel.
That night, the scene was replaying in front of all our eyes. I was sure that nobody slept. What was that? Were we meant to see what had happened there? How old was the temple? Why didn’t anybody discover the ruins yet?
The next morning, we drove to the Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) office and reported our finding.
P.S. This is a work of fiction developed from real events, real people and real locations.