The Unexplained: Mysterious Booms Above Jodhpur

The majestic Mehrangarh Fort overlooks The Blue City of Jodhpur, India. Photo: Wikipedia

The town was temporarily paralyzed by a deafening boom in a year in which several ancient calendars had predicted the end of the world. 

India—I admit my first impressions of India were formed by reading the works of Rudyard Kipling or having them read to me when I was a child.  I have not gone there, myself, but those I know who have gone and returned emphasize that one’s physical presence there exposes them to banquets for the senses, and if you partake of food there you are not likely to forget it and you may develop a craving for it.

 India sits at the bottom of Asia,  It got its name from the Indus River and has been called that since Fifth Century Grecian times.  Another variation of the name of the river is Sindu.

The scenery is colorful.  The people are mostly practitioners of Hinduism and they speak Hindi.  But there are many other groups that have a history there.  To walk through the streets of India is to smell the aroma of saffron, garlic, and curry.  There is the smell of the dyes on fabric worn and fabric hanging on cords for sale.  Smoke from incense often comes through open shop windows—sandalwood, patchouli.  Pastry is displayed in open storefronts, and the pungent smell of other cooked foods wafts out into the air.  One can hear the rapid conversations of street people and the occasional frustrated cries generated from pedestrian problems.

Indian street scenes, including those in the city of Jodhpur, include brightly painted building fronts shotgun-scattered across the background of other buildings that are drab and dingy.  The people wear linen-colored loose garments or the most colorful clothing of bold prints on cotton.  Some actually wear yards of silk on the street.

Sara Marie Hogg

The fabric is conspicuous by its color and sheen.  Water buffalo and donkeys sometimes emerge from the alleyways.  There may be the sound of bells clanging and tinkling—the bells around the necks of livestock.  Then the horn of an ancient automobile may be heard honking repeatedly.

Monkeys seem to dart about it seems, in the corner of one’s eyes and they are really there, as is the occasional Asian elephant.  The light of the sun bounces off polished metal goods for sale, and tiny rays beam out as they are reflected off the jewelry of passing people.

Jodhpur is Rajasthan’s next to the largest city.  It is in western India, 250K from the border with Pakistan.  It is not far enough south to be in the subcontinent and is known among Indians as The Blue City.

Because it is on the main travel path between Delhi and Gujarat, it has survived since the mid-1400s.  Goods that traveled the road and helped it prosper are opium, silk, sandalwood, copper, and dates.  It currently has a population of 1,300,000 within its walls.  Yes, there is an old wall around the city with several gates.

It has over eight thriving markets and Hindi and English are used the most.

At 759 feet above sea level, it is in the central part of the state of Rajasthan, situated in the Thar Desert.

It houses some fine universities and training institutions.  Footwear design and handloom arts are prominent in the area.  It is a center for agriculture, police science studies, and criminology.   There are centers for biological sciences.  There are fantasy-world palaces and temples that draw tourists.  It has a fast-growing population and by the year 2031, Jodhpur should have over three million people, with the preponderance practicing Hinduism.

Like the rest of India, Jodhpur was under British colonial rule since 1947.  It is an old city that has been under different and varied rules, but it has progressed into modern times in many ways.  The bustling people of Jodhpur were going about the markets and centers of learning when they were visited by an unexplained mystery.  The mystery is still unsolved.  The tourists got a bonus for being there.

At 11:25 a. m. on December 18, 2012, the population was temporarily paralyzed by a deafening boom.  It was louder than any sonic boom the inhabitants had ever heard.  You can imagine what it did to the poor animals wandering in the streets.  When people recovered from the initial shock and cleaned up all the breakage, they tried to make sense of what had happened—and it had happened in a year in which several ancient calendars had predicted the end of the world.  It was the sound of a massive explosion.  Was it a bomb?  Was it a crashed asteroid?  Surely it was an IAF jet that had broken the sound barrier.  Had an ammunition depot that was nearby exploded?

All of these theories were immediately shot down by the defense establishment.  A few years back, in my own part of the world, I remembered two years of booms.  There was no information about these mysterious booms on the radio, TV, or radio.  I did some work on my own and wrote down the exact time of the booms.  I looked up the times on the USGS site and there were earthquakes at those times in two neighboring states.  Until these incidents, I had not thought of booms being associated with earthquakes, but they can, and in this instance, the earthquakes were the result of old fracking practices of the oil industry.

The Jodhpur Boom rattled the windows and broke glass.  It shook wares on tables and caused people to go unsteady on their feet.  It spooked animals.  Could it be the result of an earthquake, I wondered.  I decided to investigate. There had been no mention of an earthquake as a cause in any report or document.  I looked up the National Center of Seismology-India Nodal Agency and entered the date and location.  I kept getting a “no information” message.

I looked up the date and location at the Ministry of Earth Sciences of India, and again there was no information that I personally could pull up.  I noticed The Volcano Discovery Site sometimes had earthquake information so I looked up the date and location on that site.  I could not look up Jodhpur by itself but had to look up a close-by city, Pipar, which is in the Jodhpur District of Rajasthan.  The two cities are 32.9 miles apart if you go in a straight line.  If there was a quake in one, it would register something on the other.

No significant earthquakes on or near Pipar on 21 Dec, 2012

According to the Times of India article for that same date, the boom caused panic waves among the residents of India.

Other unidentified booms happened during that month of December, all over the world.  Many of the booms were accompanied by a greenish light.  Were the booms connected?  No one has ever found the answer.


Please click HERE to find Quite Curious, a collection of true stories about the unexpected and unexplained by Sara Marie Hogg.

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