What Is Dark Tourism? 5 Best Dark Tourism Destinations In India

Written by Manavi Sarang

The different types of tourism that exist today never cease to amaze me. Dark Tourism is one of the types of tourism that has gained quite a lot of popularity over the years.

Dark Tourism in India is beginning to become a prominent type of tourism in the modern era. Along with great recognition, there is also misinformation that goes around. I too asked myself “Why would anybody want to visit a place painted with a tragic tale of history?” 

But there’s more to a tragic site than just atrocities, accidents and infamous death. It’s true that people visit dark tourism sites out of pure curiosity. Tourists don’t necessarily take pleasure in visiting such destinations. On the other hand, it can have a very unusual effect on the human psyche. 

However, when tourists take a walk through a site with a tragic past, they experience a sense of adventure, a surreal feeling and a better understanding of the history of the world. Thus, visiting a tragic site is not wrong in any sense.

Dark tourism in India used to limit itself to research reports and case studies back in the day. But it now comes under a new limelight with a more positive and informatory outlook. For the people living in or near the areas, it is a sign of recovery and new growth.

Dark Tourism is undoubtedly a worldwide phenomenon. But in India, it has formed a deep connection between the people and the history of the country.

History is an important part of every citizen’s life and one takes great pride in them. That is exactly why tourists visit the tragic sites of the country where they can mourn the loss and sufferings of their ancestors. 

Many bone-chilling destinations in India withstood the test of time to become a dark tourism site today. There are countless untold stories at these sites that need to be discovered by you. Here are 5 of the best dark tourism destinations in India which you should dare to visit.

1. Taj Palace Hotel, Mumbai 

The attack on Taj Hotel is one of the most unfortunate events in the history of our country. The hotel and other parts across Mumbai underwent a gruesome terrorist attack in November 2008. About 164 innocent people lost their lives in a series of coordinated shootings and bombing attacks. 

The 26/11 attack is still very fresh to many people. This tragedy drew global attention on a wide scale. A large number of people travelled to Taj Hotel because of this global attention. After the attack, the hotel became a destination for disaster tourism and dark tourism.

The aftermath of this scary incident resulted in many significant changes around the city. Tight and enhanced security was just one of the few changes. There are still sites with bullet holes and smudges from that day that remain unchanged even today. 

The Taj Hotel is not only famous for being a site of Dark Tourism but also for being one of the best luxury hotels in Mumbai today. 13 years after the incident, people still visit the hotel. Tourism did not diminish in the region. No doubt, it is a site of darkness but it also showcases Mumbai’s resilience.

2. Union Carbide Subsidiary Plant, Bhopal 

The Bhopal Gas Tragedy that took place here in 1994 is considered the world’s worst industrial disaster. On the night of 3rd December, 42 tonnes of Methyl Isocyanides gas leaked and caused a deadly disaster. The horrific incident took place due to a case of terrible ignorance in the factory. 

The highly toxic gas had an effect on more than 5 lakh people in the tragedy. Many victims recorded a burning sensation in their lungs and around a thousand people died immediately. 

Today, the Union Carbide Subsidiary Plant and the city of Bhopal itself are very popular destinations of dark tourism. Walking through the settlements affected by the disaster is spine chilling even today.

The Bhopal Gas Tragedy reveals the harsh reality of what can happen if people are not careful. This tragedy alone caused a lot of problems for future generations as well. People wonder if travelling to Bhopal is safe today. As a matter of fact, it is completely safe as long as you limit your exposure time in certain areas. 

3. Kala Pani, Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Built in the year 1906, Cellular Jail is an isolated building in the Andaman and Nicobar islands. It also goes by a popular and frightening name – Kala Pani. It is one of the most fearing buildings in India. The British Indian Government built the jail to lock up Indian freedom fighters and political prisoners. 

 Not only did they lock them up but also tortured and isolated the prisoners in a highly gruesome manner. The destination is often called ‘hell’ and some say there were hardly any prisoners who escaped the prison. The building gives out a very dark aura to anybody that visits it. 

This destination is now where people come to pay their respects and grieve the sufferings of our freedom fighters. It is a sullen reminder of the cost that was paid for the freedom of our country. 

4. Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar

 Jallianwala Bagh is one of the grimmest dark tourism destinations in India. During the British India rule, General Reginald Dyer was the acting brigadier-general of the British Indian Army. 

 He gave a cruel order to his army to fire their rifles at a huge crowd of unarmed civilians. Unfortunately, the civilians received no warning before the massacre. The incident killed at least 379 people.

It is one of the most heartbreaking massacres in the history of India. This site still has well-preserved bullet holes in the walls with a few bullets in them. 

 Jallianwala Bagh holds a lot of historical significance even today. The site is a symbol of the suffering and death of innocent lives. 

5. Roopkund, Uttarakhand

Roopkund has been called ‘Skeleton Lake’ and even ‘Lake of Skulls’ because of the presence of around 200 skeletons in and around the lake. 

There were various speculations about how the skeletons got there. In the beginning, people believed that the skeletons were the remains of Japanese soldiers who died during the war. To everyone’s surprise, later it was found that the skeletons belong to people from the 9th century. 

The lake is mostly frozen during the year, proving why the skeletons are still there. Many people take a trip to this destination for a spooky and mysterious experience.

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Manavi Sarang

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