The Narmada River is a river flowing from east to west. It is the biggest flowing river to the west. The Narmada River is the only river in India, which runs in a rift valley running west amid the Vindhya and Satpura Mountain Ranges despite the fact that the Mahi and Tapti River run through rift valleys but amid other mountain ranges. It runs through the states of Madhya Pradesh (1,077 km (669.2 mi)), Maharashtra, (74 km (46.0 mi))- (35 km (21.7 mi)) boundary of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra and (39 km (24.2 mi) boundary of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat and in Gujarat (161 km (100.0 mi)).

During the British rule, the river was known as the Narbada or Nerbudda. According to the Periplus Maris Erythraei (circa 80 CE), the river is named as the Nammadus. In Sanskrit Language, Narmada stands for "the Giver of Pleasure".

The origin of the river is a tiny reservoir named as Narmada Kund, which is situated on the Amarkantak Hill in Anuppur District of East Madhya Pradesh at an elevation of 1,057 m (3,467.8 ft). The river moves down from the Amarkantak range at the Kapildhara waterfalls on top of a steep rocky formation and rambles in the mountains, running in a winding itinerary through the islands and boulders. The river moves on till the destroyed fortress of Ramnagar arrives. In the middle of Mandla and Ramnagar, (25 km or 15.5 miles) more southeast, the itinerary is relatively direct with unfathomable water free of stony impediments. The Banger meets it from the left. The Narmada River subsequently flows to the northeast in a thin circle in the direction of Jabalpur. Near this city, following a drop of about 9 meters or 29.5 feet, known as the Dhuandhara (the fall of mist), the river runs for 3 km or 1.9 miles in a thin deep watercourse over the basalt stones and magnesium limestone, known as the Marble Rocks. From a breadth of around 90 meters (295.3 feet) over, the river is constricted in this watercourse of only 18 meters or 59.1 feet. Further than this area till the confluence with the Arabian Sea, the river penetrates three slender basins amid the Vindhyan escarpments to the north and the Satpura Mountain Range to the south. The southern stretch of the basin is broader at majority of the places. The three segments of the basin are segregated by the narrowly advancing row of the escarpments and the Satpura ranges.

Coming out from the Marble Rocks, the Narmada River penetrates its initial productive valley, which stretches for around 320 km (198.8 miles), with a mean breadth of 21.7 miles or 35 km to the south. To the north, the basin is restricted to the Barna-Bareli terrain, finishing at Barkhara hills in front of Hoshangabad. Nevertheless, the hills once more retreat in the Kannod terrains. The riverbanks are around 12 meters or 39.4 feet tall. A number of the major tributaries of Narmada meet it in the first basin, coming from the south. They carry the waters of the northern sides of the Satpura Mountains. Some of the important tributaries of the Narmada River are as follows:

Tributaries in the south 

  • The Shakkar
  • The Sher
  • The Tawa (longest tributary)
  • The Dudhi
  • The Ganjal

 

Tributaries in the north

  • The Barna
  • The Hiran
  • The Karam
  • The Choral
  • The Lohar

 

Beneath Nemawar and Handia till Hiran waterfall (also known as the deer's leap), the river is bordered by hills from either sides, and in this span, the nature of the river is diversified. The holy island of Omkareshwar, famous for the Lord Shiva Temple, is the most significant river island in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Initially, the drop is swift and the torrent, speeding up in rapidity, runs over an obstacle of stones. The Cauvery and the Sikta meet it beneath the Khandwa terrain. At two places, at Dadrai, 40 km (24.9 miles), more downward close to Punasa, and Mandhar, around 40 km (24.9 miles), beneath Nemawar, the river plunges over an elevation of approximately 12 meters (39.4 feet).

One or two kilometers additionally downward in the vicinity of Bareli and the passage ghat of the Agra to Mumbai Road, NH-3, the river moves into the Mandleshwar terrain, the second drainage area with a length of around 180 km (111.8 miles) and width of 65 km (40.4 miles) to the south. The northern stretch of the valley is just 25 km or 15.5 miles. The second segment of the valley is split only by the Saheshwar Dhara waterfall. The initial itinerary of around 125 km or 77.7 miles till the Markari falls is joined by a series of torrents and waterfalls from the high plateau of Malwa to the low altitudes of Gujarat plateau. To the west of this valley, the mountains are quite near but shortly they decline.

Beneath Makrai, the river runs between the Narmada district and Vadodara district and subsequently rambles across the resourceful terrain of Bharuch district in Gujarat. The riverbanks are elevated amid the levels of previous alluvial deposits, solidified earth, sand and fragments of nodular sedimentary rocks. The breadth of the river varies from around 1.5 km or 0.9 miles at Makrai to 3 km or 1.9 miles close to Bharuch and to an estuary of 13 miles or 21 km at the Gulf of Cambey. A previous watercourse of the river, which is 1 km to 2 km (0.6 miles to 1.2 miles) south from the current one, is quite prominent beneath Bharuch. The Orsing and the Karanjan are the major tributaries in the original itinerary. The Orsing meets the river at Vyas and the Karanjan meets at Rundh in Vadodara district of Gujarat, facing each other and creating a Triveni (meeting point of three rivers) on the Narmada. The Bhukhi and Amaravati are the other important tributaries of the river. Just facing the mouth of the Bhukhi is a big coast, known as Kadaria Bet or Alia Bet.


The tidal wave is measured up to 19.9 miles or 32 km over Bharuch, where the neap tide surges to around one meter and spring tide surges to 3.5 meters (11.5 feet). The river is passable for ships of the load of 95 tonnes (that is equivalent to 380 Bombay Candies) till Bharuch and for ships till 35 tonnes (140 Bombay Candies) till Ghangdia or Shamlapitha. The tiny ships (10 tonnes) trip till Tilakawada in Gujarat. You will find stretches of shallow water and sand banks at the mouth of the river and Bharuch. The adjoining island of Kabirvad in the river has an enormous Banyan Tree, which encompasses 10,000 sq m or 2.5 acres.

Narmada Basin

The catchment area of the river, bordered by the Satpura and Vindhya Mountain Ranges, stretches over a territory of 98,796 km2 (38,145.3 sq mi). It is situated between longitudes 72°32' and 81°45' east and latitudes 21°20' to 23°45' north, on the northern edge of the Deccan Plateau. The catchment area encompasses important regions in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Maharashtra.


The catchment area features five distinct geological areas and they are as follows:

(1) The upper mountainous regions encompassing the districts of Mandla, Shahdol, Balaghat, Durg, and Seoni.

(2) The upper terrains encompassing the districts of Narsimhapur, Jabalpur, Damoh, Sagar, Hoshangabad, Chhindwara, Raisen, Betul, and Sehore.

(3) The central terrains encompassing a portion of west Nimar, the districts of East Nimar, Indore, Dewas, and Dhar


(4) The lower mountainous regions including portions of the west Nimar, Dhulia, Jhabua, Narmada, and portions of Vadodara

 
(5) The lower terrains encompassing mostly the districts of Bharuch, Narmada, and portions of Vadodara.


The mountainous areas are quite woody. The entire catchment area mostly comprises black soils.

 

Religious importance

The Narmada River is one of the five holiest rivers in India and the other four are the Ganges, Godavari, Yamuna, and Kaveri. It is assumed that a dip in any of these rivers will help you get rid of your wrongdoings. In mythology, it is stated that the Narmada is older than the Ganga. The Mahabharat, the Ramayana, and the Puranas mention about the Narmada quite often.


The Brihadeeswara Temple in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, built by Rajaraja Chola, features one of the largest Banalingas. Adi Shankaracharya met Govinda Bhagavatpada, his guru on the riverbanks of Narmada.


Major temples and ghats on the banks of the river include the following:

(a) The Amarkantak (Neck of Shiva in Sanskrit language) or Teerathraj (the King of Pilgrimages).


(b) Maheshwar, Omkareshwar, Mahadeo temples, and Nemawar Siddeshwar Mandir in the central portion of the river - all have derived their names from Lord Shiva

 
(c) Chaubis Avatar temple.


(d) Chausath Yogini (sixty four yoginis) temple.


(e) Bhrigu Rishi temple and Bhojpur Shiva temple in Bharuch.

 Prominent tourist attractions on Narmada Riverbanks


Given below are the names of the prominent tourist attractions lying on the banks of the river:

  • Barwani
  • Jabalpur
  • Harda
  • Hoshangabad,
  • Omkareshwar
  • Narmada Nagar
  • Dewas (Kity, Nemavar, Pipri)
  • Maheshwar and Mandla in Madhya Pradesh
  • Bharuch and Rajpipla in Gujarat


Some places of historical attraction are Chhatri of Baji Rao Peshwa, Joga Ka Quilla, and Bhimbetka (anthropological site). Prominent waterfalls include -Dhardi falls, Dugdhdhara, Dhuandhara, Bheraghat, Sahastradhara, and Kapiladhara.

Forests and sanctuaries on Narmada


You will find the following types of flora in the region:

  • Hardwood forests
  • Dry deciduous forests
  • Scrubs
  • Diospyros melanoxylon
  • Dhaora (Anogeissus latifolia), [Terminalia tomentosa, Lagerstroemia parviflora, Hardwickia binata, Lannea coromandelica, and Boswellia serrata.]
  • Syzygium cumini (Jambul)
  • Terminalia arjuna
  • Salix tetrasperma
  • Syzygium heyneanum
  • Vitex negundo
  • Homonoia riparia


Usually, the following species of fauna are noticed on the riverbanks:

  • Leopard
  • Tiger
  • Chital
  • Sambar
  • Nilgai
  • Bhedki
  • Chinkara
  • Four-horned antelope
  • Wild boar
  • Bison (gour)
  • Bear
  • Wild dog
  • Fox
  • Black buck
  • Flying squirrel
  • Porcupine
  • Indian joint squirrel
  • Mouse deer


The ecoregion houses more than 76 categories of mammals and 276 categories of birds and all of them are migrant birds. Peafowl and hornbills are frequently seen.

National parks like Kanha National Park, Satpura National Park, and Mandla Plant Fossil National Park are important tourist attractions in the area. Bori Sanctuary and Pachmarhi Sanctuary are also popular areas to visit. There are biospheres and natural reserves like the Bagh Caves, Amarkantak, and Bhedaghat.

Narmada OverView:

 

Narmada is the fifth largest river of Indian subcontinent.

Origin
Peak of the Maikaal Mountain
convergence in sea 
Gulf of Khambat
Altitude from mean sea level 
3500 feet
length of river 
1310 KM
Number of villages
1003
No. of   embankments  
1107
Number of canals
766
Tributaries
100
Erosion
821places 
Ashrams 
263
Temples
290
Dharamshalas
161
Catchment area 
36,000 sq.Mile 
Forest areas
65,600 sq.miles
Hills /Mountains 
Vindyanchal & Satpuda
Flow of river 
Towards west in
between the
Vindhyachal and
Satpura mountains


Where start and where end The Narmada Yatra/ Parikrama.

Narmada Parikrama includes many cities and villages in between. A devotee can complete his circumambulations by going through these cities and villages. The journey usually starts at the river's source at Amarkantak in the Maikal Hills in Madhya Pradesh, goes along its southern banks, all the way to its mouth at Bharuch in Gujarat. At Bharuch, Mithi Talai is the point where the Narmada joins the Arabian Sea. Pilgrims take a motorboat from the southern to the northern end and begin the return journey along its northern bank., 

For convenience of devotees across the country and world, sharing a common idea about from where to start and where to end the Narmada Yatra/ Parikrama. Pilgrims can, however, start from the mouth of the river Amarkantak (Narmada Kund/ Narmada Udgam) , or anywhere in-between, but they must complete the circuit and return where they began. It is believed that in order to reap the benefits of this yatra, the river must always be kept on one’s right. There are other strict rules, and a number of austerities to follow on this pilgrimage. Indore and Bhopal are very well connected with other States of India through Air, Road and Railways so the Yatra/ Parikrama can be started from nearby places to these cities. Many pilgrims generally start the Yatra from Omkareshwar as it is the one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva and it is believed that Narmada is the daughter of Lord Shiva and regarded as the purest of all other rivers.

Some of the Popular Halts on Yatra Route:

Some of the popular halts on the yatra route include the temples of Ujjain, Maheshwar, Omkareshwar and the Triveni Sangam; Khargone’s Navgraha Temple; Dakshin Kashi at Shahada; Ankleshwar Tirth, Mithi Talai and Nareshwar Dham in Bharuch; Laxmi Narayan Temple in Bhopal; and the shrines of Shankaracharya, Tripura Sundari, Gwari Ghat and Bheda Ghat in Jabalpur; the famous Narmadakund and Mai ki Bagiya in Amarkantak (one of the 51 Shakti Peethas); and the Jyoteshwar Mahadev Temple in Lakhnadon.

Rules for Narmada Parikrama/ Yatra:

The pilgrim who started  NARMADA  PARIKRAMA should maintain some formalities and carry out some rules during the spiritual and adventurous journey. The formalities and the rules are as follows:–

1) Every Yatri should keep a photo identity card with address on it issued by Govt. of India like Driving License, Voters Card, Passport, Ration Card or Aadhar Card etc.

( 2)  NARMADA  PARIKRAMA  may be started from any specific point at the bank of the holy river NARMADA but before starting the journey Yatri should worship the mother NARMADA  and pray before her to look after him and give power to complete the spiritual and adventurous journey. He should take a pot full of water taken from the holy river NARMADA and carry it till completion of the journey.

  ( 3)  The other name of NARMADA  is’REWA’ . Yatries should always repeat the word ‘REWA’ during journey in his mind or he may repeat any other name of God as per his own choice.

( 4)  During  NARMADA  PARIKRAMA  Yatries should always try to walk by the side of the river NARMADA and walk taking the river at his right hand. He should not go very far from the river, but due to geographical cause none can do so. If any Yatri become bound to go far from the holy river NARMADA, he should worship the water taken from the holy river in pot.

( 5)  During  NARMADA  PARIKRAMA  Yatri should walk bare footed and must not carry food for more than two days in advance. He should carry his own luggage himself. No carrier or labor is allowed to help him.

( 6)  During NARMADA  PARIKRAMA ,  Yatri must not cross  the river, even he should not go to the islands also.

( 7)  During NARMADA  PARIKRAMA , Yatri passes a  lot of temples and religious places. He should visit the temples and religious places and worship the God or Goddess as much as possible. Try to increase dependence over the mother ‘NARMADA’. So every Yatri should try to depend upon the mother in all condition.

( 8) The main object of  NARMADA  PARIKRAMA  is not only to complete a adventurous and spiritual journey but also to clean the garbage hidden within us. So every Yatri should try to speak true, maintain mental satisfaction at all the time and behave good to all and worship NARMADA  MAA at every morning and evening.

( 9) During  NARMADA  PARIKRAMA  Yatri  should not go very far in the river, even he will not swim and try to take bath at a safe location.

( 10)  Yatri should not take money with him. Even he should not accept any economic assistance from others during Narmada Parikrama. He should always depend upon the mother. She always looks after her son and serves all kinds of requirements at all the time during this spiritual journey.

( 11)  In rainy season and in summer  NARMADA  PARIKRAMA  remains close and Yatri should stay at one place. He should worship NARMADA  MAA every morning and evening and try to repeat the word ‘REWA’ in mind as much as possible during this period.

(12) During  NARMADA  PARIKRAMA  every Yatri should try their best to prevent pollution of the holy river NARMADA  and encourage others about this.

(13) During  NARMADA  PARIKRAMA  every Yatri must carry with them some necessary items like one set extra clothing, one blanket, one minimum bedding set,one small knife, one stick, one diary, one water pot, minimum utensils, one photo of NARMADA  MAA, emergency medicine .

 

In case of small group Narmada Parikrama Yatra can be done by small vehicle depending upon the group size like 4/6/9/12 people and by bus where the group size is bigger. 15-16 days are required to complete the yatra but depending upon individual preference and avalablity of time Narmada Parikrama Yatra can be completed within 11 days also. 

We organize Narmada Parikrama Yatra by Toyata Innova for 6 People, Tavera for 9 People, Tempo Traveller for 12 People and than by 20/32/52 seater coaches depending upon the size of group.