I heard about Jabalpur as an army base and Kanha National Park. Never knew anything much about the place. When I saw Bollywood superstar Hrithik Roshan, who shooted at Jabalpur for Ashutosh Gowariker’s Mohenjo Daro, I took the decision to visit Jabalpur. I did thorough internet research some evening and was surprised to know there are many beautiful places in and near the city. Jabalpur is well connected by bus and train. I was from Kolkata and so decided to take a train from Kolkata to Jabalpur (about 1125KM by train) and found a decent budget hotel with the help of internet. Here I am posting my Jabalpur tour in two parts. Here is first one titled Jabalpur Diary- Part I.
We arrived at Howrah Railway Station 30 minutes before the departure of our 12321- Howrah-Mumbai Mail (Dep- 9.55 pm and Arr-5.40 pm.); worried we may not reach in time to catch the train. That didn’t happen though. It is recommended to get any rail station 45 -60 minutes before the scheduled departure of your train if you are not a frequent Traveler of the Indian Railways. There are two reasons for this – one, you getting an opportunity to observe and absorb the hustle and bustle of railway station and second, you most likely will not miss your train.
The station was a pleasant surprise at first with escalators leading to the waiting room from platforms. Then we reached at the platform, crowed with hundreds of people- some waiting for their train to arrive, others seeing off their relatives. It seemed more like a picnic spot with everyone relaxed, sitting in groups and chatting while they sipped tea and ate their snack. For some their baggage became their cushion as they lay on the platform.
We finally located our coach and boarded the train in 3AC coach which was very clean. The toilets also were clean and odorless. You are spoiled with numerous choices of food and drinks. On our trains, meals were not included but vendors selling different snacks and drinks keep doing the rounds. Our first treat was hot coffee, which was just perfect!! Next entered hot Pokoras, boiled egg, veg cutlet, tomato soup and finally dinner. I must add, we did not eat everything!!! We just took the tea and dinner. We ordered egg thali meal for dinner. The food was little bit spicy for us, though it would be apt for most Indians.
For those who don’t know, you will get online food booking facility from your compartment. Just pre-order it online, choose a suitable station to get your food delivered, Choose from a wide variety of delicious meals and the delivery boy will deliver to your chosen station. The process is simple but few websites ask for PNR or train number also. So, keep your ticket handy.
We were given a blanket, pillow and two clean sheets and a towel. By 10 pm everyone on the train had modestly downed for the night. The morning starts early on the train. We woke up at half past five in the morning when our train arrived at Gaya Jn station. By six, the tea vendor arrived with hot masala tea. I have seen train tea vendors take major responsibility to call every passengers in morning train in India.
Our journey in the morning was very interesting. As the train goes through the Indian countryside, you witness the lifestyle of rural India and small towns … From men doing shit besides the railway tracks covering face with hands, children using the “Indian toothbrush and paste”, ladies sweeping their houses… To people waiting at the “on the road” railway crossing for the train to go through …The day has started early.
I opened my laptops and start reading about Jabalpur. Jabalpur is a cityof Madhya Pradesh, India. It is identified for the Dhuandhar Falls and the white marble rocks at Bhedaghat. It is generally accepted that the game of Snooker originated here. ( Ref: “The History of Snooker”. Titansports.co.uk. Archived from the original on 17 December 2002. Retrieved 1 September 2010).
The High Court of Madhya Pradesh and many departmental headquarters of the State Government are situated in Jabalpur. The city has a major military base and has four major Indian Ordnance Factories for the production of arms and ammunition in India, which are the city’s primary source of employment.
During the early 19th century, it was annexed by British India and incorporated as a cantonment town. Vehicle Factory Jabalpur, Grey Iron Foundry and Gun Carriage Factory Jabalpur, belonging to the Ordnance Factory Board manufacture bullets, howitzers, rockets, bombs, mines, grenades, shells, trucks, mine-protected vehicles and bulletproof vehicles for the various Indian security Forces. Our train arrived at Jabalpur station 50 minutes late. The deferral is something very common in trains India but totally part of the experience.
You can also reach Jabalpur by
The 130-hectare (310-acre) Jabalpur Airport (JLR), also known as Dumna Airport, is about 20 kilometres (12 mi) away from the city centre and flight services are provided by Alliance Air, Indigo and SpiceJet Daily service is available to New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Ahmedabad. International travelers will reach Jabalpur by break journey from both metro cities of Mumbai and Delhi.
Jabalpur Junction railway station, headquarters of the West Central Railway, has direct service to Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Surat, Pune, Patna, Jammu, Vasco-Da Gama, Coimbatore, Bhopal, Indore, Agra, Mathura, Jaipur, Varanasi, Kanpur, Vadodara, Bhubhaneshwar, Lucknow, Puri, Allahabad, Nashik, Guwahati, Ambikapur, Bilaspur, Tatanagar, Raipur, Rameshwaram, Coimbatore and Trivandrum.
Jabalpur is connected by road to Varanasi, Nagpur, Bhopal, Jaipur, Allahabad, Hyderabad, and Bangalore. India’s longest national highway, National Highway 7, runs through the city, and National Highway 12 to Jaipur originates in Jabalpur. Many roads are being upgraded to four-lane highways. Bus service is available to cities in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, with direct service to Indore, Nagpur, Bhopal, Varanasi, Raipur, Amravati, Chandrapur, and Allahabad.
We went to our pre-booked hotel Lovely Inn. The hotel is situated in key location just less than a KM from railway station. The rooms are simple and at moderate level for one night stay. The management should look to make the rooms better as the locks are not proper, AC is making some noise. The hotel has a restaurant with delicious menu. The staffs are co-operative and pleasing. Coming to the restaurant, the place lacked the look and feel of a classy hotel. The room and food prices were pocket friendly. The staff was very well mannered and attentive. The food was tasty.
Jabalpur is a significant tourism city in Madhya Pradesh and Central India. Famous places in Jabalpur include Hanumantal Bada Jain Mandir, Madan Mahal, Dhuandhar Falls and Marble Rocks in Bhedaghat, and the Shiv Statue at Kachnar City. The world-famous tiger reserves like Kanha National Park, Bandhavgarh National Park, and Pench National Park can be easily visited via Jabalpur.
Tourist attractions in Jabalpur also include the boat rides on Narmada River, which is 17 kilometers away from the city, especially in moonlight. The voyage through Narmada discloses the Marble Rocks, where the river has carved the soft marble, creating a gorge of about 8 km in length, and the Dhuandhar falls, which is one of the most eminent tourist destinations in Jabalpur.
Vinoba Bhave, the contemporary saint philosopher of India, named this city as Sanskar Dhani- the capital of various cultural influences. He was overwhelmed by its cosmopolitan character and communal congruence. The city has an ample population of people from Bengal, Gujarat, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and South India who live in total coordination and peace and add richness to the life in the city. The best time to visit is September to March. Summers should be avoided. Rains are attractive too if you live in a better location (July to September).
Also read LADAKH IN BOLLYWOOD MOVIES
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