I had heard about Jabalpur as a base for higher education and Kanha National Park. Never knew anything much about it. I had some time when in Indore, I did an internet search 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 at Pachhmarhi and so decided to take a train from Piparia to Jabalpur (about 170KM) and found a decent budget hotel with the help of autorikshaw driver. The hotel restaurant food was great.
I decided to visit the Rani Durgavathi museum that afternoon. Museum is a must visit for history and archaeology lovers. Next day morning I started for Bedaghat 24KM from the city. It is very popular excursion from Jabalpur. I took a shared rikshaw which dropped me at the Dhuandhar Falls near Bedaghat. The holy river Narmada plunges down with so much force that area around it is covered with the mist (or smoke) and hence the name Dhua (smoke)! I took a cable car ride so that I could get an aerial view of the waterfalls. I was alone in the car and so I could move around and take pictures from all directions. It is stunning!
From the main road one has to walk up to the waterfalls and the street is lined with souvenir shops. Most of them are marble artifacts, religious as well as fancy ones. Near the rikshaw stand there is an aloo-vada-tea stall.
I took a shared boat ride at Marble Rocks. The boat cruises through a narrow passage between high standing marble cliffs. These marble rocks are of different colors like, blue, white, pink etc. The boatman had great sense of humor and for the whole ride passengers laughed. It seems the boat ride during full-moon night is memorable! For my own safety I had to skip night boat ride.
A short walk from the waterfalls is a Chausat Yogini temple. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and his consort Goddess Parvati riding their divine vehicle Nandi. It seems it is a rare style. Yes! even I have not seen any other temple with Shiva-Parvati riding Nandi. The temple has a circular courtyard and there are 64 (chausat) statues of goddesses (yogini) around. It is a beautiful architecture.
On the way back I visited Madan Mahal fort which is on a hill top in the city. This 11th century fort belonged to Gond rulers Rani Durgavati and her son Madan Singh. To reach this enchanting small fort one has to climb up a flight of steps through a shrub forest. When I was climbing there was no one except a dog who was following me, fortunately it wasn't barking at me. It is a small fort with a watchman. From here one can have great views of Jabalpur city. The fort is partially built over a boulder and around it are ruins of a stable and other unrecognizable structures.
Very near to the fort at the base of the hill is very popular Balancing Rock. This is considered as a geological wonder. But, many tourists leave it alone!
Jabalpur is also a base for destinations around like, Kanha and Bandhavgarh national parks, religious places like Amarkantak and Maihar. It is connected to major cities by trains and road network. It has good hotels and restaurants. Great city with a lot to offer. After spending 2 nights here I headed to my next destination Kanha National Park.---
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