Located in the Madhya Pradesh state in India on the banks of the Narmada river, Jabalpur is a city consisting of an average population of 1,055,525 people. It is a major business and administrative center within its region as well as a major education center within India.
Jabalpur is known for many things but most commonly its marble rocks, scenic charms, and industrial markets. Jabalpur is believed to have attained its name after a sage named Jabali who was often known to meditate along the banks of the Narmada river. Another common theory suggests that its name comes from Arabic origin since Jabal means granite boulders in Arabic.
Like most cities, a major defining factor can always be found within the people. It is through everyone’s personal and general identities that these cities are brought to life and in this way, Jabalpur is filled with its own unique, rich, and colorful cultural heritage which has often had it referred to as Sanskardhani meaning the land of various cultures, and this cultural vibrance is often displayed by several significant holidays with funfair showcasing different dance styles such as Gond dance, Phulpati, Matki, Giridaand and for the foodies, Jabalpur spares no expense in its wide variety of mouthwatering food choices found in the city’s large number of restaurants all serving delectable meals and savory treats.
Through the city’s heritage, we can understand the nature of the people within it, and what drives them. What motivates them? Why do they get up every day to do what they do? Heritage connects us and gives us a community. Within heritage, we find cultural identity, history, and religious beliefs and Jabalpur is shared by a variety of people of different religions but the most common of them all is the Hindu religion which is practiced by the vast majority of the population the most widely spoken language in the city is Hindi, while Urdu and Marathi are also used often.
With such a rich history as the city of Jabalpur, it would be difficult not to take notice of its architectural scene today with the monuments of the previous colonial occupation and the structures of their current civilization, each telling and depicting its own story. All these factors come together to play a role in the structure and organization of the city infrastructure giving it a rather personalized architectural identity influenced by its histories such as the colonial British architecture which is still visible in various institutional buildings throughout the city such as the law court, designed by Henry Erwin consisting of gothic arch openings and brick columns with a mixed Baroque and oriental style architecture and commissioner’s residency, which is one of the oldest residential houses, constructed in 1821, that served as the home of a British soldier and administrator of the British empire.
The Hanumantal Jain temple is another example of Jabalpur’s unique architectural heritage. Still, unlike the previous British colonial remnants, this building depicts the genuine nature of the people, culture, and heritage of the city, representing their beliefs and giving an idea of the zeitgeist of the city. The temple is the place of worship for the Jain religion, one of the various religions within Jabalpur. It was established in 1686 and has withstood the test of time since. Appearing like a fortress, the temple has 22 shrines making it the largest Jain temple in India.
Just as the temples represent the history and heritage of Jabalpur, like most cities undergoing economic or industrial growth, signs are showing the direction the city is taking through its architecture and design of future infrastructure such as the new Jabalpur Airport terminal.
Modern architecture is the current trend of today’s civilization and its shape and character emanate a futuristic appeal that gives the impression of something moving forward this is the kind of feeling that comes from the visualizations of the new terminal but interestingly, the nature of the city is no completely taken away from the building as though it appears modern, it maintains elements that keep it grounded to its heritage or zeitgeist without making feel too out of place. Like most buildings today, the sustainability of the structure has also been taken into consideration since the new terminal will be built with eco-friendly material with a solar power plant, energy-efficient equipment, the reuse of treated water for horticulture and a rainwater harvesting system which are all among some of the green features they intend to add to the building.
All in all, Jabalpur is a beautiful city full of life and culture. It has a rich history which tends to have its unpleasant parts but has also played a role in creating the unique story that this place tells to anyone who listens to the underlying messages it whispers to the air. It shows the importance of identity and how architecture plays a role in helping identify a city or rather give it an identity. It shows how even when moving forward, we should always remember where we come from. It tells the tale of the city of Jabalpur.