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Jabalpur

On the upper reaches of the Narmada River at about 308 km from the capital city of Bhopal lies the city of Jabalpur, the heart of the Indian tribal belt. As one approaches the city, the varied tinted marble rocks on both banks of the Narmada offer a fascinating sight.

The name Jabalpur is believed to have been derived from a saint named Jabali Pattanam or Jabal. Archaeological excavations show that the city has a 4,000-year-old history. It is believed that during the time of Mahabharata, a Hayahaya king ruled the area. Later it passed on to the Mauryan Empire and then to the Gupta Empire. In AD 875, Jabalpur was conquered by the Kalchuris who made it the capital of their new kingdom. During the 12th century, the Gonds took over and by the early 16th century, Jabalpur and its surrounding areas became the powerful kingdom of Gondwana. Jabalpur was taken over the British in 1817 who made it the commission headquarters of the Narmada territories and established a cantonment here.

The summers in Jabalpur are hot and humid. Monsoon starts in June and lasts till September. Winters are quite pleasant and are the best times to visit this place.

Sightseeing:

Madan Mahal Fort:

An important landmark of Jabalpur, the Madan Mahal Fort was built in 1116 by the famous Gond king Madan Shah. The fort, situated on a hilly terrain to the west of the city, provides a picturesque view of the nearby areas.

Sangram Sagar:

About 15 km from Jabalpur are located the medieval constructions of Sangram Sagar and Bajnamath, which were built between 1480 and 1540 by the famous Gond King, Sangram Shah.

Rani Durgavati Museum:

Situated to the south of the marketplace, the Rani Durgavati Museum houses a number of sculptures dating back to the 10th and 11th centuries. The museum also has letters and photographs relating to Mahatma Gandhi besides models and photographs depicting the Gond people.

Marble Rocks:

Known locally as Bheraghat, this gorge on the Narmada River lies 22 km west of Jabalpur. The gleaming white rocks with dark green volcanic seams rise as much as 30 metres on both side of the river Narmada. On full moon nights the rocks offer a wonderful sight.

Tilwara Ghat:

It is here that Mahatma Gandhi/’s ashes are said to have been immersed. Tilwara Ghat was also the venue of the open session of the Tripuri Congress in 1939.

Mala Devi Temple:

The Mala Devi Temple was built in the 12th century, and houses a beautiful image of Mala Devi or Laxmi.

Excursions From Jabalpur:

Bilhari:
Bilhari is situated at about 14 km from Katni. Archaeological excavations have unearthed many pieces of ancient sculptures here.

Mandla:
Mandla, located at 95 km south of Jabalpur, is known for its fort. The fort is situated in a loop of the Narmada River in such a way that the river protects it from three sides with a ditch on the fourth. The fort was built in the late 17th century. Today the fort is subsiding into the jungle, though some of its towers still stand. Nearby on a stretch of the Narmada, many temples dot the riverbank.

National Park of Fossils:
Spread over an area of 0.27 sq km, the National Park of Fossils is home to plant fossils. Although covering a very small area, the whole park is strewn with fossils of a bygone era. The best time to visit the park is from October to mid-February. Nohta:
Nohta is believed to have been the capital city of the Chandela kings in the early 12th century. The village is situated at about 81 km from Jabalpur. About 2 km from this village lies a Shiva temple. The temple is the venue of the annual Kartik fair. One can also see a few ruins of the Jain temples here.

Pench National Park:
The Pench National Park is spread over an area of 293 sq. km. The inhabitants of the park include tiger, leopard, chital, gaur, sambar, wild boar, muntjac and nilgai.

Ramnagar:
About 15 km away from Jabalpur is Ramnagar. Here a ruined three-storey palace overlooks the Narmada River. The palace and the fort were both built by Gond kings.

Rookhad:
A wildlife sanctuary adjacent to the Pench National Park, Rookhad is situated at a distance of 101 km from Nagpur on the National Highway No. 7. A charming retreat in bison country, Rookhad is worth a visit.

Roopnath:
About 84 km from Jabalpur lies Roopnath. Here a lingam placed in the cleft of a rock and dedicated to Lord Shiva is a major source of attraction.

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