Jamalpur is best known as a very large workshop on the East Indian Railway, employing over 12,000 people at one time. The town was established during the British Raj and the cultural hub at that time was the Railway Institute. The Railway Institute was huge - it had its own movie theatre, a six-lane swimming pool, four tennis courts, two billiard rooms and a bowling lawn. Its dances were renowned and railway folk came from all over the East India Railway (EIR) to attend.
The nearest airport is at Patna from where Jamalpur is around four hours by Rail. Alternatively, on the Eastern side Kolkata is the nearest airport from where Jamalpur can be reached by Rail. Jamalpur also has a small airstrip.
There used to be a smal shop selling sweet meats like jalebis which was a half a century old.Currently to cater to the south indian culinary afficionados the Madras Coffee House is in full swing.Does not have much to describe but does have a small accommodation for two people and has a basic telephone booth .Not intended for soft tourists this place is more for people who have come to visit Jamalpur for railways or other nostalgic purposes.
An excellent quarter century old music school near Hari Sabha being run single handedly by a senior lady with a pronounced handicap.Most of the railway men's children pursue music, dance and arts at this beginners place starting from as young as two.Surprisingly it is just the goodwill and the basic infrastructure with some local help that is keeping it going.Good place for stimulating discussions on Indian classical Music.
One of the best maintained small stadiums in the state,has seen a number of football matches held between diferent teams in the eastern region of India compete with each other over the better half of the last century.
The name of Jamalpur comes from Pir Jamaluddin whose grave lies at this holy place and no visit to jamalpur is complete without paying an obessiance at this holy place on Golf Road.A must visit on Fridays
This was the first full-fledged railway workshop facilities in India, set up on Feb. 8, 1862 by the East Indian Railway. (There was an earlier attempt to set up workshop facilities at Howrah, but it proved unsuccessful because of problems with procuring supplies and getting skilled labour.) The Jamalpur site was chosen for its proximity both to the Sahibganj loop (which was the main trunk route at the time), and to the communities of gunsmiths and other mechanical craftsmen in Bihar who would prove to be adept at picking up the skills required in a railway workshop.
Another, possibly apocryphal account, though, has it that one of the Agents of the EIR Mr D W Campbell, was annoyed that the fitters and workmen of the then Howrah workshop were spending too much time away from their work in places of recreation in Howrah, and resolved to move the workshop facilities to a place far away where there would be no such distractions.
At first the Jamalpur shops were merely repairing locomotives and also assembling locomotives from parts salvaged from other, damaged locomotives. By the turn of the century, however, they had progressed to producing their own locomotives. The first one, CA 764 'Lady Curzon', was produced in 1899.
Jamalpur has always had extensive workshop facilities. In 1893, the first railway foundry in India was set up there. It also had a boiler workshop for repairing and building boilers. Today it has foundry and metallurgical lab facilities, extensive machine tool facilities, etc., in addition a captive power plant of 5MVA, making it fairly self-contained. It used to have a rolling mill of its own (set up in 1870, now closed).
In addition to various repairs of wagons, coaches, cranes and tower cars, and locomotives, Jamalpur also undertakes repair and (small-scale) production of permanent-way fixtures. It also manufactures some tower cars (Mark II, Mark III) and break-down cranes of 10, 20, and 140 tonne capacities, besides various kinds of heavy-duty lifting jacks.
Finally, it also manufactures wheelsets for coaches and wagons. In the past it was a significant supplier of cast-iron sleepers as well. Starting in 1961 it produced several rail cranes. It has also produced electric arc furnaces, ticket printers and other ticket machines (slitting, counting, and chopping). The high-capacity synchronized lifting jacks known as 'Jamalpur Jacks' were also produced by this workshop.
The school attached to the Jamalpur workshops eventually became the IR Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering.
This is the hostel and club used by the Special Class Railway Apprentices
Just down the Gymkhana avenue is the golf course that is frequented by the Railway and Army officers. The annual ITC Golf tournament is held here.
The golf course also has the grave of an Englishman who was killed by a tiger. The grave of the tiger is not very far away.
Waterfall The waterfall is not a regular feature during the rainy season and usually a deer species known as neelgai in the local dialect is found near the same.The waterfall is approachable from the water works which supplies the railway colony.This waterfall is on a decline and the natural beauty is slowly tarnished as a result of unbriddled blasting at the stone quarries and also due to widespread deforestation for firewood.
How it was conceived and born Some times a question hunts the mind why a place like Jamalpur was selected as a site for EIR Company's Locomotive Workshops.
Jamalpur was at a very far distance from the Bengal and Bihar coalfields, which was the most important criterion for selecting the place for locomotive workshop way back in 1860s. The place is also off the mainline of EIR. The most important fatal draw back was the place has no natural water supply. This can be construed as a great blunder on the part of EIR.
Anand Marg Movement The movement was founded by a Jamalpur native. In 1955, P.R. Sakar left his job as a railway official and formed the first chapter of Ananda Marg ("Path of Bliss") in Jamalpur, Bihar, India. He started to train missionaries to spread his teaching of "self-realization and service to humanity" (which became the motto of Ananda Marga) into India and the rest of the world, and in 1962 initiated the first monk (called Dada which means elder brother) of Ananda Marg.
The mission of Ananda Marga is to help individuals achieve complete self-realization and to build a social structure in which the physical, mental and spiritual needs of all people can be fulfilled. Ananda Marga contributes to the process of individual development by providing instruction in meditation and other yoga practices on a non-commercial basis.
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