The Narmada or Rewa is a river in central India. It is fifth longest river in Indian subcontinent. It is also known as “Life Line of Madhya Pradesh” for its contribution to the state of Madhya Pradesh. Narmada rises from Amarkantak Plateau near Anuppur district. It flows westwards over a length of 1,312 km before draining through Gulf of Khambhat into Arabian Sea, 30 km west of Bharuch city of Gujarat. The town of Amarkantak is surrounded by a rich variety of flora with medicinal properties. The Achanakmar Wildlife Sanctuary, is located at a distance of no more than 40 km from the town of Amarkantak in the state of Chhattisgarh. The forests of Amarkantak are linked with the forests of Kanha National Park. Amarkantak falls on the Kanha-Achanakmar Corridor, a hilly region covered with dense forests.
Introduction of Amarkantak
Amarkantak is not only the origin of Narmada, the Son River, initially referred to as Jwalawanti of Johila, Mahanadi and the Amadoh, all rise from Amarkantak. Legend has it that Lord Shiva blessed Narmada with unique purifying powers. Whereas to purify himself, a devotee requires taking one dip in the Holy Ganga, seven days’ prayers on the banks of Yamuna and three days prayers on the banks of Saraswati, the mere sight of Narmada is enough. A charming folk tale describes the superiority of Narmada over Ganga. Once every year, after she herself is polluted beyond tolerance, Ganga visits Narmada and takes a cleansing purifying dip in its waters! Narmada. Narmada is more than 150 million years older than the Ganges RiverGanga and is considered by many Hindus. Amarkantak itself is sacred to the Hindus and is deemed to be a door-way to ‘nirwana’.
The history about amarkantak reveals that during the Chendi dynasty hold the region was followed by the kalchuris in the 10th century. The region in the earier days was belived to be known as the ayodhya, as mentioned in our vedas, puranas that there was an ashram for the saints of kapil muni and rishi markand. Stories from the various books suggest that the pandavas of the mahabharat epic had spent their years of exile here. Region was later in the 15th century was handed over Baghelas and in 1808, the bhosle of nagpur ruled out the region.
Places to Visit Amarkantak
Narmadakund and Temples, Amarkantak
Narmadakund is the place of origin of river Narmada, which is surrounded by 16 major stone temples. This place covers around 6 acres of land and comprises over 23 statues of various deities. In the central position, there is an eleven corner kund, which is around 500 ft long. This eleven cornered kund is also known as Narmada Udgam or Bisha Yantram. Few of the important temples located in this complex are Narmada Temple, Lord Shiva Temple, Annapurna Temple, Guru Gorakhnath Temple, Shri Ram Janki Temple and Shri Radha Krishna Temple. This temple complex is located in the heart of the town and is easily accessible by local transport facilities.
Kapil Dhara (Kapil Waterfall)
Kapildhara waterfall is located in the Amarkantak district of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. It lies at a distance of 6 kilometers from the Narmada Kund. The holy waters of the River Narmada plunge from a height of about 100 feet, from the ground level.
Dudh Dhara Falls
Dudh Dhara Waterfalls is the second waterfall of Narmada River which is believed to have milky white water. This waterfall is situated on the western edge of the Amarkantak valley amidst thick woods and dense forests. It is a 10 ft high stream which is extremely white in colour. This white colour resembles the milk which is called as dudh in Hindi. The rainy season is the best time to visit this Dudh Dhara Waterfalls, as the water in the river is at its maximum along with pleasant weather in the forests.
Mai ki Bagiya
Mai ki Bagiya (Goddess Garden) is also known as Mother’s Garden. This garden is situated around 5 km from Narmadakund and covers the surrounding forests. The garden has been built in honour of the Goddess Narmada. It is a natural garden which features banana, mango, Gulbakawali, roses and fruits and flower plants. The Gulbakawali plant is known to release a lingering sweet smell. This garden also features various shrines of Hindu Gods and Goddesses, a rain-fed kund and a large number of trees. Tourists can also find a wide variety of medicinal herbs and plants on the banks of holy kund.
Sonemuda is considered to be the place of origin of the Son River, which is located at a distance of around 1.5 km from the Narmadakund Temples. The Son River flows down from the Maikal Mountain in the form of waterfall that is hundreds of feet long. Tiny granules of gold can be found in this river, due to which, it is named as Son River. Sonemuda is a small pond which is now called as a kund and covers around 2 sq.km of area. There is a thin source of water emerging from this kund, which further flows through a small opening into a nallah
Kabir Chabutra is located 5 km from Amarkantak on the way to Bilaspur. It is this place that people believe Saint Kabir achieved deliverance. The local people, the Panikas, consider Kabir Chabutara as one of the holiest places of the Kabirpanthis because Sant Kabir spent many years here in meditation.
Shri Sarvodaya Digamber Jain Temple
Shri Sarvodaya Digambar Jain Temple is not one of the ancient marvels of Amarkantak, but it is a new temple which is still under construction. It is also situated in Narmadakund, the inception point of Narmada river. It is understood that the world’s biggest ashtadhatu Jain idol of one of the Jain Tirthankaras – Bhagawan Adinatha is going to be housed in this new temple. The construction of this temple is a mega project with over INR20 Crore being spent on constructing the temple over an area of 4 acres.
Ancient Temples of Kalachuri Period
Ancient Temples of Kalachuri Period were constructed by Kalachuri Maharaja Karnadeva between 1042 and 1072 AD. These temples are situated just at the back of the Narmadakund towards the south. The Kalachuri architecture is very popular and comprises of the Pataleshwar Mahadev Temple and the Machhendranath Temple. As per myths, it is said that Adi Shankaracharya, born in 788 AD, has been sanctified on the banks of the Narmada River in Amarkantak. He is known as the founder of the Pataleshwar Mahadev Temple in Amarkantak, which is now called Surajkund. These shrines and temples are visited by a large number of tourists and devotees every year from all over the world.
Shri Yantra Temple
The Maha Meru Sri Yantra Temple is encircled by forest on two sides, the ancient and sacred Batte Krishna Kund, a pond on its western side, and a water reservoir to its north. The temple is constructed in the middle of the Maikal, Satpuda and Vindhyachal range of mountains, 3500 ft. above sea level in Amarkantak, Madhya Pradesh. Amarkantak enjoys the distinction of being the source of three rivers – the Juhila, the Sonbhadra and the Narmada. The borderline dividing north and south India also passes through this spot.