Friday, September 2, 2011

Madan Mahal - Out Post Enchanting

It is a small fort situated in one of the highest hills (500 meters) in Jabalpur City. The fort is more of an outpost strategically placed in order to accord view of the Garha Kingdom of the Gond Dynasty. Today it stands as a silent sentinel over the city. Stripped out of its ancient glory it is a mute testimony of the valiant tribal history of Raj Gonds. The Gonds who built the fort somewhere in 10th AD where often called Rajput Gonds with lineage mixing with the Royals of Rajasthan.

The ancient temple of Godess Sharda Devi is perhaps as old. Both the temple and fort complex are built of granite the constituent of the hill. The temple is now cemented and the ancient feel is missing. The fort is placed on top of a huge boulder and contains two chambers one meant for the rulers. It is said that a tunnel lead to the large bath in the front such that the Rani could reach it  unseen.

The structure was also the pleasure palace of Madan Singh 10th Gond King. The fortress surprises you with its size, but nevertheless it was fighting fit to repel many invaders through its life time. Not at all magnificent as the Red Fort at New Delhi it brought to heels invaders from there.  

The complex is near intact including the stables but the gold is missing. There where supposed to be two gold bricks in hidden somewhere in the complex a portion that is under the shadow of the sun. Thousands have searched for the pot of treasure but none could find it yet.  

The outpost and numerous Hindu temples built by the Gonds exhibit the craftsmanship of the people of the past. But what intrigues most besides the amazing craftsmanship and masonry are the tunnels that formed an interconnected network of escape routes. However no traces have been found of the incredible feat. It is a myth or fact nobody knows.   

The spectacular view of Jabalpur City is what astounds the visitors most. The verdant hill ranges and quaint townships is suggestive of how spread out this town is. It is by all means a green city with much less pollution and congested the least The city is placed inside the cauldron of forested hill ranges perhaps frail end of the Satpuras.      

A series of steps lead to this fortress, on the way is a small reservoir built for the thirty soldiers. The structure looms large as you near the final steps and catches your eye in awe. The Gond kingdom was situated at Garha near by. 

The last ruler Rani Durgavati queen of Dalpat Shah died fighting the Mughal Asaf Khan in an unequal battle at Narrai near Jabalpur. As defeat became imminent she sacrificed her life, her son Vir Narayan also died in the battle of Narrai. Her martyrdom is celebrated in India on June 24th. 

With the death of Rani Durgavati the kingom sadly fell to the mughals followed by the Marathas and eventually the British.  

The monument is much visited by tourists and business travelers to Jabalpur. It is near to the station and can be approached using a taxi service. The city is important as trading center, education center, cantt and defense factories. It is well connected by rail with all major towns and with New Delhi and Mumbai by air. Jabalpur is the best access point for MP State Tourism in Madhya Pradesh in Central India. Wildlife Heavens    Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Satpura, Pench National Parks are visited from this city. Pachmarhi and Amarkantak hill retreats are close to JBP.  
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