Bhopal’s redeveloped Habibganj Railway Station, which will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 15 November, has been renamed Rani Kamlapati Railway Station.
The name change took place on Saturday after the Madhya Pradesh government had written to the Ministry of Home Affairs on renaming the redeveloped Habibganj station after Rani Kamlapati, the 18th Century Gond queen of the area.
The letter from the state's transport department had said that renaming the station was in accordance with the Indian government's decision to celebrate 15 November as 'Janjatiya Gaurav Divas' in remembrance of revered tribal leader and freedom fighter Birsa Munda.
Reacting to the name change, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said, “On behalf of the people of the state, I express my heartfelt gratitude and greetings to the successful Prime Minister Narendra Modi for renaming Habibganj railway station after Gond Rani Kamalapati ji. This decision is an honour and a true tribute to the glorious history and valour of the Gond dynasty.”
यशस्वी प्रधानमंत्री श्री @narendramodi जी को हबीबगंज रेलवे स्टेशन का नामकरण गोंड रानी कमलापति जी के नाम करने पर प्रदेश वासियों की तरफ से हृदय से आभार, अभिनंदन व्यक्त करता हूं। यह निर्णय गोंड वंश के गौरवशाली इतिहास, शौर्य और पराक्रम के प्रति सम्मान और सच्ची श्रद्धांजलि है। pic.twitter.com/QnrPI1Ls3L
— Shivraj Singh Chouhan (@ChouhanShivraj) November 13, 2021
So, who is Rani Kamlapati?
Rani Kamlapati was the widow Gond ruler of Nizam Shah, chief of Ginnorgarh.
It is said that she avenged her husband's death by killing Alam Shah, Nizam Shah's nephew. Alam Shah had poisoned his uncle.
It is said that the Queen's beauty was legendary and was often praised.
She built the seven-storey Kamlapati Palace that overlooks Upper and Lower Lakes and is now an ASI-protected monument.
Rani Kamlapati Palace is a secular architecture of the 18th century built of Lakhauri bricks, cusped arches over crumpled pillars. The merlons are shaped as water lotuses honouring the name of the Queen.
According to the history of the palace, Queen Kamlapati died of suicide by jumping into the lake in 1723.
A Times of India report citing Gond legend said that on moonlit nights, Rani Kamlapati would emerge from her waterside palace and float on the lake, carried afloat by a lotus flower and attended to by 500 maidens following her in rowing boats.
The Gond community comprises the largest tribal group of India with more than 1.2 crore population.
Linguistically, the Gonds belong to the GondiManda subgroup of the South Central branch of the Dravidian language family.
The revamped railway station
The redeveloped railway station is the country's first world-class railway station, providing all the facilities that are available at international airports.
It has been developed under a public-private partnership and built by a private company named Bansal Group.
Built at a cost of around Rs 450 crore, the station is on the same lines as Germany’s Heidelberg railway station.
The railway station will also have escalators and lifts. A seating arrangement of 700 to 1,100 passengers has been made in the open concourse. For information about the movement of trains, display boards with different languages have been installed throughout the station.
The station will also boast of food courts, restaurants, air-conditioned waiting rooms, dormitory, VIP lounge. Around 160 CCTV cameras have also been installed at the station to keep round-the-clock surveillance.
With inputs from agencies