Jabalpur: The City That Invented Snooker And Has A Lot More To Offer

by Tania Tarafdar
Jabalpur: The City That Invented Snooker And Has A Lot More To Offer

Who would believe that the small town of Jabalpur is the place where the gentleman’s polished game of snooker was invented? It is unbelievable! Isn’t it? But this is true. Sir Neville Chamberlain conceived the game in the British Army Officer’s Mess in Jubbulpore, now Jabalpur, in 1875. The game was developed from a combination of life pool and pyramid pool. A young officer once told him that first year cadets were called snookers for being inexperienced. During a game, when some officer missed a pot, Sir Chamberlain called him ‘snooker’ for his inexperience, eventually giving the game its name. Still, the ‘Narbudda Club’, where snooker was invented, stands proud and tall in Jabalpur’s Civil Lines. Though not a common place to get entry, the club still has the table intact on which the game of snooker was founded, and the members of the club play their game on that table with pride and try to maintain the legacy. The place is a regular place of practice for national-level snooker players. Though snooker is the primary sport activity of the club, the place also has facilities for lawn tennis, cards,and  badminton.

Legendary Indian Coffee House In Jabalpur

Another interesting fact about the city is associated with the legendary “Indian Coffee House”. During the early 1940s of British rule in India, the Indian government established the Coffee Board with the objective of increasing coffee consumption and the selling of coffee seeds. Indian Coffee Houses were established by the coffee board in several cities of India to achieve this goal. Even after the country gained independence, these coffee houses continued. But by the end of 1957, the government decided to shut down the coffee houses owing to losses incurred, which led to the discharge of several staff members who worked there. The “All India Coffee Board Labour Union” intervened and took the initiative in this subject in order to deal with this problem and help these unemployed workers. 

Thus, the union Leader Shri. A.K. Gopalan, along with these workers met then Prime Minister Shri. Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru and he advised them to establish independent co-operative Societies in those areas where they retrenched and run Coffee Houses (thus 14 Societies were formed in different parts of India). As a result, the first coffee house in Madhya Pradesh was started in Jabalpur by Indian Coffee Workers’ Co-operative Society Limited. The Society opened its first branch in Jabalpur on January 9, 1958, under the name “Indian Coffee House.” In the beginning, there were only 16 members in the society and it was started with a very nominal capital of Rs. 1, 365/-. So, while in the city, do try some refreshing coffee at the Indian Coffee House of Jabalpur that is freshly ground at the place and be a part of this proud history. The place offers authentic South Indian food with great taste and is always packed with foodies. Another part of the story is that the coffee house culture played a significant role in the lives of politicians and art lovers in the city. It was “the” place for these people, as you could spend hours of discussion over a cup of coffee. This place has witnessed much, much more than our imaginations. Students and families also love to come to this place as it offers good food at affordable prices. The place has its own vibe that cannot be substituted with any expensive restaurant that urges you to come over here again and again.

Jabalpur Indulgences

You can delight your taste buds with the food of Jabalpur, the must try at the city are malpua and rabdi. What makes these desserts more flavourful is the use of pure milk. Malpuas are the sweet puris made out of ‘khoya’ and wheat flour, deep fried in desi ghee and soaked in sugary syrup. Often this syrup is flavored with Kesar that gives extra richness to the dish and adds a royal touch to it. ‘Rabdi’ is a favorite of local people and is a dessert in winters is made by slow boiling of milk for hours essentially to bring out the creaminess, with a little addition of sugar this calorie loaded dish is a guilty pleasure of many. 

Gateway to Most of the wildlife parks of Madhya Pradesh

In addition, Jabalpur has the best accessibility to some of India’s top national parks. Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Pench, and Panna National Parks are conveniently connected to the city by rail and road. If you are a wildlife and nature lover and want to explore the magical jungles of Madhya Pradesh, your travel would be much easier if you routed through the city of Jabalpur. The access roads to these national parks are in excellent shape, and halting in Jabalpur can be an absolute necessity. The large number of tourists first arrives in Jabalpur, which has an airport called Dumna that offers direct flights to major towns including Delhi, Mumbai, and Hyderabad. The majority of these parks offer interactive activities that enhance your stay, such as bike trips, nature treks, village tours, etc.

Jabalpur has a lot to offer in terms of history, spirituality, cuisine, trivia, and other things. It would be impossible to avoid mentioning the enchanted boat trip at Bhedaghat, where the narration is provided by the boatmen against a gorgeous backdrop of marble rocks. The experience of divine Aarti at Gwarighat and the humongous statue of Lord Shiva at “Kachnar City” makes you humble in front of the divinity. Be it the food culture of city or the simplicity of local people, you just fall in love with this place.