The River Narmada, too, is a beautiful woman, as most rivers are, in India. But though she passes close to Jabalpur, she shyly avoids the town. Or, perhaps the town has grown away from her, and its own past. onsequently, there is really very little in Jabalpur town to capture the attention of the visitor. But a short drive out of the long narrow plain holding the town, brings one to sub-montane lands: rocky, rugged and a natural bulwark against attackers. One of the more intriguing monuments to Jabalpur’s past in the Madan Mahal Fort.
On a historical note, a pleasure resort and capital of the Gond Kings during the 12th century, Jabalpur was later the seat of the Kalchuri dynasty. The Marathas held sway over Jabalpur until 1817, when the British wrested it from them and left their impression on the spacious cantonment with its colonial residences and barracks. Today Jabalpur is an important administrative centre, abustle with commercial activity.
The original settlement in this area was ancient Tripuri and the rulers of this city, the Hayahaya, are mentioned in the Mahabharata. It passed successively into Mauryan and then Gupta control until, in 875 AD, it was taken by the Kalchuri rulers. In the 13th century it was overrun by the Gonds and by the early 16th century it had become the powerful state of Gondwana. Though besieged by Mughal armies from time to time, Gondwana survived until 1789 when it was conquered by the Marathas. Their rule was unpopular, due largely to the increased activities of the thuggees who were ritual murderers and bandits. The Marathas were defeated in 1817 and the thuggees subdued by the British who developed the town in the mid-19th century.