THE GATEWAY to Bandhavgarh¬† and Kanha two of India’s finest wildlife sanctuaries, Jabalpur was from the 12th to 16th centuries the capital of a powerful Gond tribal kingdom, whose most famous ruler was a brave and able woman, Rani Durgavati. In 1817 the British made it an army cantonment and administrative centre, to deal with the growing menace of gangs of highway bandits known as thuggees, who would rob travellers. In the 1830s, Colonel William Sleemsn launched his famous campaign against the thuggees, and in a few years had wiped them out. The word thug (from thugged ), though, seems to have found a permanent place in the English language. In the bazaar is the Rani Durgavati Museum with stone sculptures and Gond tribal artifacts. The ruined Madan Mahal Fort, built by a Gond king in 1116, overlooks the town from a hill to the west.

ENVIRONS: The marble Rocks the chausathyogini Temple andthe Dauandhar falls are 22km (14miles)southwest of jabalpur.

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