And as Kareena Kapoor kept on dancing on the tunes of "Raat ka nasha" my eyes were fixated at the backdrop. White marble rocks, the marble on our floor on mountains. Is it for real? That was 2001 and Google was not a staple. So, I did some of the research. I saw the opening credits and Voila! it was Bhedaghat Jabalpur. The encyclopedia in my school told me. So, it was in India and in my very own Madhya Pradesh (I lived in Gwalior).
So, it started every year my puppy eyes would say, "Let's go to Jabalpur." and my pleas went unanswered. Then life happened and I forgot. So it happened and I had to visit Jabalpur from Kolkata. My mother had a good laugh as it was catching the nose other way round for me.
Bhedaghat or marble rocks is situated off Jabalpur. Our dear Google will say its 26.3 km. When we got off the incredibly late train (it was late by 19 hours) it was 3 pm. We rushed to take an auto (The Ape). Autos are my favorite mode of transit. They are economical, they are airy and fun with BIIIIIIG windows (yes, I am officially weird). It took us less than an hour and by 3:50 pm we were there.
There are boat rides available and they charge INR 150 per person. For an extra INR 50 they will take you further in the river. I will recommend it as its worth every penny. The boat guide has a very unique and quirky way of describing the place. They all have learnt the routine by heart and expression.
As we moved on we could see not just white but grey, pink and a horde of marbles. It is a protected site and quarrying is strictly prohibited in the area around the gorge. The boat maintains a steady pace. The water may look clear and deceiving but it is deep. The local boatmen will advice you not to lean too much but you can always run your hands.
The source of the river Narmada is nearby (Amarkantak) the water therefore is clear and young in its first phase. The beauty cannot be captured in the rather shy camera lenses. The place is peaceful and it is a great soother for urban parched soul.
The place is accessible from sunrise to sun set and is closed in the monsoon months. You can reach Jabalpur by train as the railway station is well-connected. It has trains from all the major cities of India. I took Mumbai Mail via Allahabad from Howrah. So that is 2 metros. Here is the link that has all the trains to Jabalpur.
You can hire a taxi or can take an auto like me to the place. The auto charged INR 700 and I hope an SUV will be around INR 1200 to 1500. Here is the google search results. However, taxis and rentals are available at the station and you can always bargain:
Accommodation over there is affordable. Though we took a night bus to Khajuraho so did not stay there. I find Trip Advisor reliable so here we go:
The place will grip you with its unmatched beauty and it is still untouched from abject commercialization. The road goes through a village. While the city roads are smooth, the village roads can be a bit bumpy. The people are friendly as is the rule with the state in particular. The trip takes close to an hour but you can always tell them to slow down while you soak in the scenic beauty.
|Poetry in stone|
The place was mesmerizing and was with me for many days. A pleasant trip.
The best time to go there:
- January to May or June (till monsoons say hello)
- October to December
|Grey Marble Anyone?|