It was for the first time that I had packed my luggage at such a short notice, 2 days before the journey and I was going crazy about it. No, not the journey, but the stuff I would leave behind in the frenzy. I was off to Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, for some academic purpose for a month!!! Ya, you got it, a month. The journey from Guwahati to Jabalpur was not what I had expected though. But, I guess, it helped me to establish a bond, whether it be with my co-passengers, or the old lady at the sitting room at Allahabad and another lady at Rewa station (that conversation would be a different chapter altogether). I prefer train journey the most (provided, you have a long time period for vacations, off course) as it gives you the real picture of India. I must mention here that I met a fellow passenger while travelling from Rewa to Jabalpur and like a pro, he gave me the details of the places I could visit in Jabalpur, to which I was all ears (because, he was mostly guiding me on the shopping sites and locations).
I would definitely advice those who love to travel, to explore not just the places but also the people around you. It often helps to be known to someone then feel lonely in a new place. And in my experience as a lone traveller, I have met people who are very helpful and friendly. So, never miss a chance to make an acquaintance.
Back to my story now. During the first week, we (me and my fellow teachers) made it a point to visit some of the places in and around Jabalpur. It was Sunday and the day off from the programme and so we drove from Jabalpur to Bhedaghat. It is well known for the Dhuandhar Falls and attracts a huge crowd. Beating all odds (scorching heat of 44 degree temperature), we made it there. The place is always filled with locals as well as tourists who come to take a dip. As you go close to the railings near the Falls, you can feel the water sprinkling all over you. The small stalls there are loaded with souvenirs all made from marbles.
The other object of interest at Jabalpur was the balancing rock which left us all in awe. It is situated near the Madan Mahal Fort towards which we proceeded soon after.
The Madan Mahal Fort is a historic site and an amazing architectural specimen. It took ages to reach the Fort, as the stairs seemed never ending and we were all tired. But, we did pull up our last bit of strength and managed to reach the Fort at the peak. My friends from Jabalpur had warned me earlier not to visit the Fort alone unless there was company and also advised me to avoid the visit of the Fort in the evening. When I reached the Fort and looked around, I sensed the reason behind the warnings. The Fort lies abandoned and I saw no watchmen or guard patrolling over the place. And taking full advantage of it, the place for become a hot spot for notorious activities.
Forts have a played a crucial role in history and as a history student, I felt amazed at the structure that lay before my eyes. Though in ruins, the Fort stands as a testimony to the greatness of the Gond rulers who ruled there. The Fort was equipped with small chambers and narrow stairways. The Fort arouses a lot of interest from its observers who come here.
As the sun began to set, it was time to go and I wanted to see the city from above. The click of the camera sent a chill to my heart, as I looked over the screen. I glanced back at the Fort, the stones, the city down and with a heavy heart I started climbing down the stairs.
Part II of Jabalpur diaries will be soon following.