The Railway Station

The Railway Station:

Jabalpur Railway Station

In 1867 the East Indian Railways green flagged the Naini (Allahabad) - Jabalpur block rail traffic. And on Monday, March 8, 1870, the tracks of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway and of the East Indian Railway were laid. Since then Jabalpur has been firmly placed on the main railway line from Kolkatta to Mumbai.

In a large gathering glorified by the esteemed presence of eminent personalities of distinguished recognition, the inauguration of the railway service and the station was done by the Viceroy Lord Earl Mayo and the Chief Guests were Governor General Sir Fitzgerald and Prince Adenborough. Apart from the local guests, the other prominent invitees included Maharaja Sir Salar Jang and Commander-in-chief Sir A Spencer from Hyderabad, Maharaja Holkar, Maharaja Panna, Maharaja Rewa, Raja Maiher and Raja Nagaud. A scintillating account of the inauguration ceremony was carried out in the ‘The Times of India’ as described by S. N. Sharma (1990) of his ‘History of Great Indian Peninsula Railway’ Part-I.

In the year 1905, the Bengal-Nagpur Railway company constructed a narrow gauge branch line to Gondia, connecting Jabalpur with Nagpur. Over the period of time, the old Indo-Gothic railway station building has changed beyond recognition.

Robertson College:

Since the British era, the Robertson College is the oldest institution of higher learning in Madhya Pradesh. However, its origin could be traced back to Sagar, which was its home from 1836 to 1873.

Later when Jabalpur became more central and accessible to other parts of India, the College was shifted here in 1873 and housed in a modest building in the Milloniganj area on the Damoh road, where it remained for twenty years. In the year 1893 it was transferred to a building called Lakh-Khana, since it was an abandoned lac-factory.

It was in 1911, the construction started on the new building in Gokulpur, near Ranjhi, but was delayed due to certain equipment being sunk when the ‘Maloya’ was torpedoed during the First World War. The Chief Commissioner, Sir Benjamin Robertson, after whom the College was re-named, finally inaugurated the building in 1916, it was previously called ‘Jubbulpore College’

The College was affiliated to both, Calcutta and Allahabad Universities and produced a battery of eminent alumni. Later, in 1955, this grand institution was re-named Mahakoshal Science college and relocated in Pachpedi, while its magnificent building at Gokulpur was given to the newly established Government Engineering College. 

Govind Bhavan:

Govind Bhavan – Originally out house 
of the family of Raja Gokuldas

Earlier whosoever came to Jubbulpore would certainly pay a visit to Govind Bhavan and could not remain untouched by the beauty of this mansion and its breath taking opulence. The present day building now camouflaged by the building of housing board and sundry vendors that now scar its once manicured lawns.

In the year 1909 this Kothi was constructed as an outhouse for the family of Raja Gokuldas. It was elegantly furnished with the best English and French furniture of the period and its gardens were adorned with dozens of Grecian urns and sculptures and twin Italian marble fountain.  Even the formal sitting room had a crystal fountain playing in the centre.

Years later, when the family of Raja Gokuldas fell into debt due to their whole hearted participation in the Gandhian movement, this magnificent palace was mortgaged and later handed over to creditors. It now lies forlorn and abused, its draperies moth-eaten, the statues stolen, and its chief rooms locked and uncared-for. Most part of the building is now occupied by government R.T.O office. But the original grandeur can yet be visualised by the plastered walls with coloured window panes, Dutch and German ceramic tiles and rich moulded ceilings which have crumbled over the period of time.

Another beautiful mansion, built a few years earlier, standing just opposite, is ‘Rajakumari Bai Kothi’ presented by Raja Gokuldas to his grand daughter as gift. But, during the later years this Italian style mansion became part of Royal Hotel. But few know that the hospitality offered by the Hotel was much talked about among the European circle. Though less opulent, this sturdy double storied haveli had been built with superior plan. Presently being occupied by MPEB.

Empire Theatre:

Nostalgia rewinds as one visits Empire theatre, situated in the heart of the Civil Lines. Scene here is no more a welcoming one. The theatre, which had been a focal point of bustling activity, now stands in crumbling state with wrinkled mossy walls.

Rewinding the time brings back the days when Shakespearean plays-Romeo and Julliet, Macbeth were staged. Drama troupes from as far as Britain performed on the semi-circular platform designed in the British Style. Initially, it served as a stage for classic plays. It moved with time and with technology and the invention of movies, silent movies came to share the platform. Later, it became a cinema for the talkie movies and was the chief cinema for watching English movies in town. The first talkie film to be screened was Rio Rita.

During the 1950’s, Prem Nath, the famous Hindi film actor bought the theatre from Bellamy, who ran a ballet dancing school. Time has been witness to the turbulent journey of this majestic theatre from sober cinema to shambles.

Ridge Road:

The most impressive and longest road in the city is the Ridge road. The two and half kilometres long road connects Cantonment with the south-eastern ridge. On the ridge were built the Kitshener Barracks, later the site for the A.O.C school, which in the year 1987 was re-designated as the ‘College of Material Management’.