The city of Jabalpur was the capital of the medieval Gond rulers. The mighty Marathas held sway over Jabalpur until 1817, when the British seized control from them. The British made Jabalpur their commission headquarters and built an expansive cantonment with colonial residences and barracks. Today Jabalpur is an important
administrative centre, and is also the gateway to important wildlife sanctuaries. It is one of the largest cities in Madhya Pradesh.
How to get there The main bus junction in Jabalpur is located west of Napier town. Jabalpur is on National Highway 7 and is well connected by bus with Bhopal, which is about eight hours away. There are regular government and private bus services to Bhopal. Jabalpur railway station is located north of the Civil Lines Area. It is connected with all the metros and major cities. It has direct trains to Satna, Varanasi and Bhopal. Jabalpur has an airport called Dumna around 20 km from the city center.
Places of interest Rani Durgavati Museum: The museum, located next to the tempo stand, south ofthe bazaar, has a good collection of artefacts including 10th century sculptures. It also has a section dedicated to artefacts and photos connected with Mahatma Gandhi. The Old Bazaar area is also worth a visit.
HI AROUND JABALPUR Bhedaghat: Located 22 km from the city, Bhedaghat is one ofthe most popular holiday destinations in the country and is one ofthe world’s most beautiful passes. The word ‘Bheda’ in Hindi means goat and this valley (ghat) often has goat flocks. The Madan Mahal Fort here, was built by Gond ruler Raja Madan Shah in 1116. It is situated about 6 km along the Marble Rocks Road, atop a rocky hill. The fort dominates the skyline and provides a panoramic view of the town and the countryside around it.
Marble Rocks: This gorge is located on the Narmada River, in the Bhedaghat pass. The marblelike magnesium limestone cliffs exhibit different colours in different lights. Travellers often visit the gorge at night as the cliffs are best viewed under moonlight. It is a breathtaking experience to ride on a hired row boat on the Narmada River through the 2 km-long gorge. The famous Dhuandhar waterfalls is just 2 km away from Bhedaghat.
Here the Narmada gushes through the Marble Rocks and then plunges down a waterfall known as Dhuandhar or the smoke cascade. So powerful is the plunge that its roar can be heard from afar. Travellers can enjoy a boat ride at the boat house here.
Kanha National Park: Located 160 km southeast of Jabalpur, the Kanha National Park, is the richest tiger reserve of India. Besides tiger, the park also houses leopards, sambar, chital, barasingha and gaur (Indian bison). It is also famous for wildlife safaris and bird watching. It is probably the only place India, which offers good chances of spotting tigers in various moods. The park is located between the Banjar and Halon valleys in the Mandla/Balaghat districts. The central Kanha valley was declared a sanctuary way back in 1933 but was upgraded to the status of a National Park in 1955. The best time to visit is April-June and November-January.
Pench Tiger Reserve: The 758 sq. km reserve, nestling in the lower southern reaches ofthe satpura hills is named after the Pench river, and has the highest concentration of predators than any other park in India. The Tiger Reserve also houses large herds of Gaur (Indian Bison), Cheetal,
Sambar, Nilgai, Wild Dog and Wild Pig. It has about 250 bird species also.
Bandhavgarh National Park: The national park is situated at an elevation of 800 meters above sea level, 197 km north-east of Jabalpur. Sprawling over 450 sq. km, the Bandhavgarh National Park boasts the highest tiger density in the country. It is estimated that there are about 60 tigers including a few rare white tigers. The chances of spotting a tiger are quite good during an elephant safari. Other attractions of the park include nilgai, chausingha, chital, chinkara, wild boar and sometimes a fox or jackal. Both the jeep Safari and elephant safari are organised for tiger tracking early in the morning. Best time to visit: February to June (Closed from July 1 to October 31).
Pachmarhi At an elevation of 1,067 meters, Pachmarhi is the only hill station in Central India and Madhya Pradesh’s most peaceful and verdant getaway. This ‘saucer’ shaped valley was discovered by British captain Forsyth in 1857. A sanatorium was built here for the British army in 1862, and it was converted into the Army Education Corps Training College 8t Centre. Pachmarhi is blessed with beautiful lawns, greenery and a serene lake. Around Pachmarhi there are many temples, waterfalls and trekking routes that makes it a popular destination.
m How to get there Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation buses and private buses connect Pachmarhi with Chhindwara, Pipariya and Bhopal. Pipariya is the nearest railway station (47 km). Pipariya is on the main line to Mumbai-Howrah and most major trains stop at this junction. Pipariya is connected to major cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Delhi. The nearest airport is the Bhopal airport (195 km)
m Tourist Attractions
Priyadarshini (vantage viewing point, also called as Forsyth Point)
Jamuna Prapat (Bee Fall) ♦ FHandi Khoh – Pachmarhi’s most impressive ravine has a 300 feet high precipice. ♦ Apsara Vihar (Fairy Pool)
Rajat Prapat (Big Fall) ♦ Jalawataran (Duchess Falls) ♦ Sunder Kund (Saunder’s Pool) ♦ Mahadeo – Mahadeo hill has a shrine with an idol of Lord Shiva. ♦ Chauragarh – 4 km from Mahadeo
Dhoopgarh – The highest point in the Satpura range ♦ Pandav Caves – Legend has it that these caves once provided shelter to the five Pandava brothers. ♦ Vanshree Vihar (Pansy Pool) ♦ Reechhgarh ♦ Sangam (Fuller’s Khud – Waters Meet) ♦ Catholic Church
The temples of Khajuraho are popular worldwide so much that it is the second most preferred place of visit in India, next only to
the Taj Mahal. An amalgamation of science and architecture, these temples are believed to have been built by the Chandela rulers during the 9th and 10th century AD. Khajuraho was the Chandela capital for only a brief period as the same developed as a major religious center.
The most important aspect of the temples is the abundance of sculptures that decorate the facades and interiors, depicting almost all possible human mating postures. Some relate these erotic art forms to the visual depiction of Kamasutra, the art of sex or relations between Shiva-and Parvati, the divine couple. Out of 85 temples, only 22 have survived the ravages of time.
The Khajuraho temples, constructed with spiral superstructures, adhere to a northern Indian shikhara temple style. Made of sandstone blocks fitted together, the temples are aligned east-west. The Khajuraho monuments were declared a World Fleritage Site in 1986.
jjj. How to get there
Khajuraho has frequent bus services to all major cities like Panna, Mahoba, Satna, Jabalpur, Bhopal, Gwalior, Indore, Agra and Jhansi. The convenient railhead to reach Khajuraho is Jhansi and Satna (on the Mumbai – Allahabad railway link). Jhansi is 175 km away from Khajuraho, whereas the distance from Satna is 120 km. Both the railway stations are well connected to most major cities. Khajuraho has a domestic airport and is connected by regular flights to Delhi, Agra, Varanasi and Mumbai.
Places of interest
These temples are superb examples of Indo- Aryan architecture, but it’s the erotic carvings that have made Khajuraho famous. It is easily noticeable that two elements – women and sex – are repeatedly used in the carved figures. The temples spread across 15 km are grouped into three geographical divisions: western, eastern and southern.
The western group comprises four important temples. The Ghantaria Mahadev Temple is an outstanding example of India’s architectural and sculptural skills. Estimated to have been built around 1065, by Vidhyadhar, it is not only the largest temple in town but also a masterpiece of Chandela architecture. The temple stands 117 ft tall, the length and breadth at the base being 117 ft by 66 ft. The sanctum houses a massive white marble Sivalinga. The Lakshmana Temple took 20 years to complete according to an inscribed slab in the mandapa. The ruined Chausath Yogini, beyond Shiv Sagar is probably the oldest at Khajuraho. Built in red sandstones, the temple lacks a roof. The fourth temple at the back of the western enclosure, the Chitragupta Temple, a replica of Devi Jagadamba, is dedicated to Surya, the Sun God.
The eastern group comprises four temples dispersed in the old village and three Jain temples in a walled enclosure. They are the Hanuman Temple on Basti Road dedicated to Lord Anjaneya. It was built by the Chandel King Harshvarman. The granite Brahma Temple has a distinct four-faced lingam in the sanctum. The Javeri Temple stands outside the old village and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Strolling 200 meter north, you will find the Vamana Temple which has excellent carvings of elephants protruding from the walls. The temple is dedicated to the dwarf incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Parsvanath Temple is the largest of the Jain temples in the walled enclosure, which is also one of the finest temples at Khajuraho. It is noted for its outstanding sculptural beauty. The adjacent Adinath Temple is a small one and has been
partially restored. Its carvings resemble the ones at Khajuraho’s Hindu Temples.
In the southern group, the isolated Duladeo Temple is estimated to have been built around 1100. History reveals that it was the last temple built by the Chandel kings. A multi-faced Sivalinga is seen in its sanctum. The Apsaras and the ornamental figures are the most striking features of this temple. On the way to the airport, stands the Chaturbhuja Temple, which appears to have overcome the flaws ofthe Duladeo Temple. It is the only temple in Khajuraho without erotic sculptures. The temple has a nice four-armed Vishnu idol in the sanctum. The Bijamandala Temple is seen in the excavated mound ofthe 11th century, which houses a white marble lingam at the apex ofthe mound.
HI AROUND KHAJURAHO Dhubela Museum: Located at the 64th km, on the road to Sattarpur, the museum houses a good collection of weapons, dresses, and antiquejewellery.
Panna National Park: This park is about 35 km from Khajuraho on the way to Satna. It was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1994. As its tiger population is meager, the chances of spotting the cat is slim. Other wildlife like deer, langur, sambar etc can be seen here. The Park is closed during the rainy season from June to October.
Ajaigarh & Kalinjar Forts: The forts at Ajaigarh at the 80th km from Khajuraho and the one at Kalinjar, about 105 km away, are closely associated with the Chandela dynasty. Snake Waterfalls: About 20 km north of Khajuraho, the Snake Waterfalls is noted for its scenic beauty. Here, water gushes down 320 meters. There is a Crocodile farm at nearby Abhyaranya.