Nau Nihal Singh haveli in old Lahore is a famous landmark, it is also the place my cousin was killed in
The death of my 12-years old cousin, Maham, enigmatically goes back to the bloody tales of treachery and wicked murders in the Sikh era in Nau Nihal Singh haveli. Sounds insane but you’d know it’s true if you believe in ghosts. It’s only fair that I tell you a little something about the notorious stories of the Maharajahs so you can put two and two together.
Nau Nihal Singh Haveli is a haveli mansion located within the Walled City of Lahore between Bhatti gate and Mori gate in an area known as Bhaiyon ka Maidan. Maharajah Ranjit Singh built this beautiful haveli in the mid 19th century for his grandson, Nau Nihal Singh, as his personal residence.
Nau Nihal Singh haveli in old Lahore is now a school but used to be a Sikh mansion
Nau Nihal Singh Haveli is probably the only Sikh-era haveli that still stands intact and has exquisitely maintained its original architectural embellishments. However, the haveli was converted into the first public school for girls when the British government took over Punjab in 1849. They called it Victoria Girls High School and it is still serving the locals of the area.
The extensive structure of the building is breathtaking with over 40 rooms, halls, chambers, jharokas, and interior courtyard facades. The haveli may look and feel like it’s absolute fun, though it’s quite the opposite what actually happened inside its walls.
Ghosts of the Maharajahs and Maharanis of olden times are rumored to haunt the Nau Nihal Singh haveli in Lahore
On the darker side of the haveli, there is a basement and some rooms which are closed for everyone. It is believed that they are haunted by the ghosts of the then Maharajahs and Maharanis.
The most fascinating or must I say the harrowing part is a sort of a penthouse called Rang Mahal which is artistically decorated with frescoes, mirrors, and painted stucco. This room has managed to maintain its majesty and aura because it is believed that this room is haunted by the ghost of Nau Nihal Singh. He died under mysterious circumstances when the Roshnai gate collapsed over him while he was passing through it. It is still a controversy whether the 19-year old’s killing was accidental or deliberate.
One of the most striking features of the haveli is the balconies, it is also the site of a grisly incidents
On one of these balconies, the body of the mother of Nau Nihal Singh, Chand Kaur, was found with her head smashed in.
Other unnerving incidents have happened here too, like when Nau Nihal Singh’s wife, Rani Sahib Kaur, had given birth to a stillborn baby in one of the rooms in the haveli.
Many believe that this was a result of the magic or poisoning carried out on the baby. Seems like a dubious claim but circumstances do justify it. It is observed but not a proven fact that all these murders were planned by the murderous puppet-master Raja Dhian Singh Dogra. It seems the ghost of Raja Dhian still reigns there.
There are still statements that are heard around the old city claiming “Jammu Dogran de zul’m tay jadoo ne nas’l mukka diti.” (Jammu Dogra’s magic and treachery finished the royal family). It’s pretty hard to overlook the claim, given the facts.
Now, let me take you through the story of my cousin, Maham, who studied at Victoria School in the haveli
The students were well informed about the restricted areas around the school but sometimes you just can’t help it. She hurried out of the shower dressed in uniform knowing she was late. It was her daily routine to shower, eat breakfast and wince while her mother pulled her hair up neatly in a ponytail. But today was a little different. She grabbed her sandwich from across the table, her schoolbag dangling over her right shoulder. She was beaming with excitement as it was her last exam that day. Her mother shouted after her “baal baandh lena raastay mein.”
Maham, unaware of her fate, was running towards Victoria School which was walking distance away from where she lived. Her hair still wet from the shower flipped right and left as she ran through the narrow streets of Bhatti. She made it just in time. She quickly got started on her exam. After what felt like ages to her, when she finally looked up, she was surprised to see that the rest of the girls still had their heads buried in their papers. Maham submitted her paper and was allowed to leave. She was alone so she decided to kill some time.
And then she made the last mistake of her life by entering the forbidden room
Maham was drinking water from one of the coolers when her eyes fell on that room. Actually, she wasn’t curious, no. She had always joked that the stories of the ghosts in the room were all made up to keep the kids away from the room for whatever reason. She held onto the strap of her bag and unlatched the door, careful not to alert anyone.
Maham entered the room taking a last glance at the courtyard that stretched behind her. Unfortunately, it is still a mystery to us what Maham saw in there, but after a while, the whole school heard a loud, shrill shriek.
Maham was found outside the forbidden room. She was lying on the ground floating in and out of consciousness.
The door was immediately locked and Maham was taken to her house. After several medical checkups, it was clear that she had no medical issues going on with her. Maham refused to speak whatsoever. For the next few days, she had an impenetrable look with her cheeks drained of all color. Till then, it was clear that something spooky had happened inside the room. When she did try to talk, she made throttled sounds, muffled and inhuman, as if there were a lump in her throat. Yet somehow she managed to give the details mentioned above as to how she approached the closed room. Unable to reveal more, Maham often woke up in her sleep scared as hell, completely drenched in sweat.
After almost three weeks of the incident, my cousin, Maham, died in her sleep.
Yep. This is an original story as was narrated to us by those at the school who saw or heard it happen and it’s as twisted as it sounds. You might need answers, but there are none. We’re still waiting for answers ourselves.
Rumors have it that there have been many incidents of such kind over the past years. But the school authorities don’t let the word go out as to not stir fear among the public. After Maham’s death, there was a round of talks about how the haunted part of the haveli is still under a magic spell that was cast during the Sikh rule.
Looks like we have a new entry in the list of haunted areas across Pakistan.
So, what are your thoughts about this incident? Tell us in the comments down below and share if you’ve got a scary jinn encounter of yours.
*Name has been changed to protect the identity.
Cover image: @shamoo131 via Instagram / Amblin Television