Aleya/Chir Batti Ghost Lights Of Bengal

Aleya/Chir Batti Ghost Lights Of Bengal

Location: Kutch Banni, Sundarban, Bengal, India

Aleya/Chir Batti/Chhir Batti or Cheer are different names for the same Ghost Light.

Strange lights are seen over the vast plains south from Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, India. These are the weird Chir Batti ghost lights.

It is hard to tell whether this landmark is meteorological phenomenon or something else.

Marshy, desolate wetlands, Banni grasslands, rise just a few feet above the sea level, although sea is some 50 miles from here.

Long ago the giant Indus River was flowing in the plains of Rann of Kutch, but after the great earthquake of 1816 the river changed its route and moved 60 miles to the west. Several rivers have deposited thick sediments over many thousands of years.

Soil here is salty and can not sustain rich vegetation, thus the area is without trees, plant cover is sparse.

In the grasslands are located several lagoons. Although the vegetation is sparse, the area is rich with life, numerous rare birds and animals. Over the last decades Banni grasslands gradually turned into a destination for ecotourists.

60 miles to the east there are the ruins of the ancient Dholavira, metropolis of Indus Valley Civilization, occupied 4,500 years ago.

Chir Batti phenomenon starts in the darkness, reportedly only after 8:00 p.m.

Several reports about sightings come from the surroundings of the extinct Kiro Keero, Khiero, volcano west from Charri Dand lagoon but there are reports about sighting of 4 lights to the northeast from the lagoon on January 23, 2010.

It is possible that the surroundings of Kiro get mentioned more often because it is comparatively popular spot for the search of fossils, Jurassic ammonites and belemnites.

After birdwatching around Charri Dand visitors tend to stay in the surroundings of Kiro until the darkness.

Chir Batti are round or pear shaped balls of fire, glowing like mercury lamps. Their color is white/blue/red & yellow.

Balls of light are floating above the ground, in 2' to 18' in height. Sometimes they are moving around slowly, sometimes fast as arrows.

This phenomenon continues at least for several minutes. Sometimes is seen as one ball of light, sometimes more, up to 7 balls of light have been reported. Sometimes one ball divides into 2.

Especially weird is the interaction of lights with visitors. If one walks away, Chir Batti may happen to follow him. Around Kiro hill they may follow up to the nearby Fulay village.

But it is never heard that balls of light have done any harm.

There happens though another thing, if one decides to follow the ball, the light moves away and the searcher gradually gets away from the road into salt flats or thorny thickets.

There have been attempts to take pictures or movies of Chir Batti but thus far without success.

Chir Batti in the local Kutcchi, Sindhi language means ghost light. Local people have been observing this phenomenon since olden times and are convinced that these are ghosts.

Little was heard about this phenomenon outside this remote area until recent times. As Rann of Kutch and Banni grasslands gained recognition as important breeding location of rare birds and animals, here came biologists and ecologists and a bit later, nature loving tourists too.

One of the local long time biologists, Jugal Tiwari, is the most often cited observer of Chir Batti phenomenon. He says that has seen the lights more than 100 times. His team setting out bird traps in night time has been distracted by these weird lights many times.

Phenomenon, of course, is well known also to soldiers of Indian Border Security Force who patrol the area in night time, they simply have to know what lights appear here in night time.

Some consider that the lights somehow are caused by militaries themselves but eyewitnesses deny it.

Banni grasslands by far is not the only location where such phenomenon, sometimes called Ghost lights, is observed.

Of course, one explanation could be igneous gases. For thousands of years Indus has deposited here millions of tons of organic sediments and it might be logical to assume that methane and related gases are seeping through the ground and somehow ignited. But in such case there would not be observed well delimited balls of powerful light floating close to the ground for several minutes, such ignitions of methane most likely would be barely visible and, possibly, formed like torchlights.

It seems there is no scientific exploration yet for this phenomenon.

According to local beliefs, these lights emanate from the stranded spirits of dead fishermen who lost their lives accidentally in these areas.

Those who have tried to approach these ghost lights, or Aleya, have either lost their lives or their sanities.

It is said to resemble a flickering lamp, a light that will recede if approached. As per the legends, it draws or lures travelers from their safe paths into dangerous territories.

The swamps and marshes of Bengal have long been haunted by mysterious lights floating around in the darkness.

In Bengal, the associated folklore says that the lights are nothing but the spirits of dead fishermen, who lost their way in those swamps and eventually died.

In Bengal, it is said that whoever sees and follows those lights end up meeting their eminent doom. Some say that people don't really die when they follow the lights but they do become insane and never recover.

Several modern explanations have popped up about the Aleya/Chir Batti/Chhir Batti Ghost Lights.

Alan A. Mills, a geologist from Great Britain said that these were precombustion halos often produced on some compounds are heated just below the ignition point. This precombustion halo is nothing but cold flame that has been found to occur in many hydrocarbons like waxes, acids, oils, methane, aldehydes and alcohol.

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