It’s never easy for any person to know a new city in a short span of time. But for the students of IIMC the ‘Know your City’ assignment proved to be an interesting exercise in exploring Amravati to its best.
A ride in an autorickshaw from Vidyapeeth to Town Hall, which is located a few steps to the left of Rajkamal square, the heart of the city, revealed that the auto rickshaws here charge per passenger as opposed to the meter. Town hall itself is a small old building where community functions are organised.
Right in front of Town Hall is Nehru Maidan, where exhibitions and political rallies are held and it also acts as a playground for the boys of Govt. Secondary School, which is run in a building established in 1928. The ‘Craft India 2012’ exhibition organised here stood testimony to it. It comprised of almost every luxury and daily use item. This exhibition is organised twice in a year, once during the summer vacation and once before Diwali. Traders, mostly from North India, participate in Craft India 2012.
As you come out of the Town Hall gate, there is a market, which comprises of mobile shops and two complexes. A few steps to the right and you come across VanitaSamaj, located right behind the city bus stand. It’s a small charitable trust which runs schools and medical centres for the under-privileged. They have a co-ed school till 4th standard, a girl’s school, a school for tribal kids, a small clinic and a family planning centre. It runs on donations and government aid. Chairman Vasudha Saoji gave information on Vanita Samaj.
Just across Rajkamal square is the beginning of Namuna lanes that stretch up to Gandhi square. The name itself intrigues and inquiries reveal that the name ‘Namuna’, meaning sample, was coined after the British made a sample lane in an attempt to teach the people of Amravati on how to build homes and live in an orderly way. History has it that when the British first came to the city, they found that the people built homes as according to their liking and planning was disorderly.
Namuna lanes have a mixed population of Hindus and Muslims and houses middle class and lower middle class families. Each lane has its own speciality here, though mostly sell clothes and leather items. One of the lanes, however, just has printing presses. Another series of lanes, Advocate’s lane, derived its name from various advocates who lived here till the 1980s.
Ambapeth, a posh area inhabited by the city’s upper middle class people, got its name from the Amba Devi temple across Namuna lane. There is also a Manibai Gujarati Higher Secondary School here.
At the heart of the city at Rajkamal Square is the statue of Dadasaheb Khaparde, a renowned Indian lawyer who brought an extraordinary amendment in the Indian judicial system. He changed the wordings of a punishment sentence from ‘to be hanged’ to ‘to be hanged till death’.
Chaprasipura, is an area with a rather interesting fact. The area is so named because the servants and peons serving the British used to live here. Now it dwells a majority population of Muslims. This is a slum area and houses people from lower income groups. A few steps to the left is BicchuTekri, an area that is also dominated by Muslims.
Tekri means a small hill and it’s called BicchuTekri for the simple reason that there used to be a lot of scorpions there. This is what the locals told or maybe it was their idea of having fun with the new visitors in their locality.
A few blocks to the right of Chaprasipura stands former President PratibhaPatil’s residence. As was her tenure as President, so is her home here. Nothing much to offer. It’s a two-storey small bungalow. It’s the first house in Congressnagar, a luxurious area residing many politically active people and those from a richer background.
Right opposite the Govt. Milk scheme office is the residence of former Governor of Kerala and Bihar, R. S.Gavai. Almost 83 yrs old, Mr.Gavai is also the Chairman of Republican Party of India (RPI). He was an MP from Amravati during the famous 13 months government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee and a former Rajya Sabha member from Maharashtra. He was responsible for giving Amravati its very own university ,Sant Gadge Baba Amravati Vidyapeeth, where IIMC is located.
Initially, there was only one university, Nagpur University. But he made a proposal for the bifurcation and gave Amravati its own education hub. Mrs.Gavai’s hospitality was unforgettable as she offered our team not just tea and snack but also arranged for our transportation (her own car) for the rest of our destinations.
Two blocks away on the right is Home Guards Training Centre. It’s a branch of police basically deployed for protection.
Finally, came MaalTekri, which is a small hilly place and the house of Doordarshan. It also has an old mosque a few steps uphill. And how can one forget the statue of pride of Maharashtra, ‘Shivaji!’. It stands tall on MaalTekri.
Sharda Nagar, almost 2 kms past Rajkamal square, is a residential area populated by middle class people. Kanishtha Mahavidyalaya is located in Sharda Nagar. There are many coaching classes in the area and same is the case with Ravinagar. There’s also a Super Bazaar Complex in Ravinagar. Biyani School and Biyani College of Science marks their presence too with 2000 students getting education here.
A small walk across the swampy Dashera Maidan leads to Navathe plots area. It follows an apartment culture with a mix of lower middle class and middle class people residing here.
Sainagar derives its name from the Sai temple in the area established in 1963.
Overall, Amravati is a small and peaceful city, most of which can be traversed by walking. Every area visited had a beautiful historical fact associated with it. Places are nearby and travelling isn’t too much of a hassle.