When I travelled to Jabalpur enroute to Bandhavgarh for a holiday, I thought it would be just another stopover and nothing more. However, as we jingled along the sun-drenched roads of Jabalapur on cycle rickshaws, the omnipresent indigenous mode of transport consisting of a carriage like seating area attached to a bicycle, towards our hotel , I realised that the place was already casting its spell on me.
Having been born and brought up in a big city, I was naturally unaware of the charm of a small town like Jabalpur. Strategically located to act as the entry points to Madhya Pradesh’s fascinating tourism, Jabalpur has acquired a unique significance in every travel plan. Also its proximity to and accessibility from bigger metros like Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi has helped it in welcoming tourist footfalls even if it is for enroute tourists like us, who use it as a convenient stopover.
Seeped in rich history, Jabalpur, if explored in the right spirit, might reveal several interesting historical anecdotes. For example, the Ashokan relics that have been unearthed in the northern part of the town reveal the possibility of human civilization as early as 300 BC.
Known to have been a strong bastion of the Kalchuri dynasty, Jabalpur still retains interesting remnants of their glorious reign. The Chausath Yogini shrine near Bhedaghat is one such place. However, what appealed more to me in terms of historic interest was the Fort of Rani Durgawati.
Madan Mahal, as the fort is better known as, peeks out from atop a hill in Jabalpur. The fort was built by the Gond dynasty and today presents itself to the modern visitor in a shroud of mystery and intrigue. There are stories and myths which go round that have helped to make the fort all the more intriguing. However, to me it reflected the valour and courage of one woman who stood strong by her resolve and determination to fight till her last breath to save her honour and her country. Looking up at the fort I could well imagine the battle calls and the clashing of swords which has immortalised the life of Rani Durgawati, one of the bravest of Indian women who held her own against the powerful Mughals.
As I trudged uphill to the fort, I stopped to admire the famous Balancing rock. It’s a huge boulder balancing precariously over another with only their tips touching. It seems you can just tilt it slightly to make it topple it over, however, they have been standing thus for generations and may continue to do so for a few more to come. Nature truly continues to amaze us.
Under the British, Jabbulpore, as it then came to be known, assumed a specific significance. It was here that sparks were triggered which later became the huge fire of the Indian war of Independence, better known as the Revolt of 1857.
Guess that’s enough of history for one blog. we could also do with some useful facts for a change. For example, Jabalpur is best enjoyed in the winter months of November and December. May is best avoided as its humid sub tropical climate reaches its most ferocious form at that time of the year.
As a stop over or as a tourist destination in its own right, Jabalpur definitely deserves a visit.