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Know Everything About Narmada River: Origin, Interesting Facts and Tourist Attractions

Updated: Apr 21

Origin of River Narmada

The Narmada River originates in the Amarkantak Plateau of the Maikal Hills in Madhya Pradesh on the border with Chhattisgarh state. It begins its journey from a small water body called the Narmada Kund. 

Interesting Facts about Narmada River

  1. The Narmada River is the 5th longest river in India and the longest west-flowing river in the country. It is also the largest flowing river in the state of Madhya Pradesh.

  2. Bathing and boating in the waters of the Narmada in the area of the Marble Rocks are considered auspicious during Sharad Purnima and Kartik Purnima. 

  3. The river forms numerous gorges and waterfalls along its course, notably the Marble Rocks and Dhuandhar Falls, both near Jabalpur.

  4. At a distance of 8 km from its origin, the River Narmada falls into a gorge, creating the Kapildhara Waterfall. It is believed that Kapil Rishi meditated here.

  5.  Important dams on the Narmada include the Narmada Sagar Dam, Sardar Sarovar Dam, Indira Sagar Dam, Omkareshwar Dam, and Bargi Dam. 

  6. The Narmada Pradakshina pilgrimage is a highly auspicious pilgrimage circuit around the Narmada River that takes pilgrims from Bharuch to Amarkantak, up one bank of the river and down the other.

  7. Kabirvad is a banyan tree located on a small river island in the Narmada River, in Bharuch district, Gujarat. It has an incredible grove that occupies an area of almost 3 km. The tree and place are associated with the 15th-century mystic-poet Kabir. 

River Course

The Narmada River emerges from Narmada Kund, located near the Amarkantak Temple, as a perennial stream, and then flows westward, carving its way through the rugged terrain of the Vindhya and Satpura ranges. The Narmada River traverses through the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Gujarat, flowing westward across the Indian peninsula to enter the Gulf of Khambhat through an estuary near Bharuch city in Gujarat. 

Main tributaries of Narmada

  1. Tawa River

  2. Barna River

  3. Hiran River

  4. Banas River

  5. Sher River

  6. Banjar River

  7. Burhner River

  8. Chhota Tawa River

  9. Orsang River

  10. Karjan River

Key Tourist and Spiritual Places located around the river

  1. Marble Rocks: Near Jabalpur, the Narmada River flows through the Marble Rocks, a stunning gorge with marble cliffs rising dramatically along the riverbank.

  2. Bhedaghat: Famous for boat rides on the Narmada River as it flows through a valley surrounded by high marble rocks in Jabalpur.

  3. Dhuandhar Falls: The Narmada River cascades down a rocky gorge at Bhedaghat near Jabalpur, creating the Dhuandhar Falls. Here, the water plunges with great force, creating a mist, giving the falls its name. 

  4. Mandhata is a river island in the Narmada river in Khandwa, which is also called Shivpuri. It is an ancient holy place, famous for the Omkareshwar Jyotirling Temple. 

  5. Maheshwar Fort is a famous monument built by the great Maratha Queen Ahilya Devi Holkar. 

  6. Sarvodaya Digambar Jain Temple Amarkantak: A famous temple at Amarkantak, which has been constructed without cement and iron. The temple houses a 24 tonne Ashtadhatu idol of Rishabhanatha and a Mahavira statue weighing 71 tonnes. 

  7. Mandla Fort: A 17th century fort built by Kings of Gond Empire, built at the confluence of the Banjar River with the Narmada. 

  8. The Sahastradhara Falls near Maheshwar city is a low waterfall where the Narmada breaks up into multiple streams over rocks, creating a spectacular sight. 

  9. Statue of Unity: The tallest statue in the world, a 600 feet high statue of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, is installed on the bank of the Narmada in Gujarat. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was an independence activist, the first deputy prime minister and home minister of independent India. 

  10. Shree Yantra Temple: An unusual and incompletely constructed temple in Amarkantak, which is the three-dimensional form of Shri Yantra or Shri Chakra. 

  11. Bawangaja Shri Dharmanatha Digamber Jain Temple: This Jain pilgrimage site near the Narmada is home to an 84 feet high statue of Lord Rishabhadeva, which is the world's second largest megalithic statue. 

  12.  Wildlife Sanctuaries: The Narmada basin supports large forest areas, including the famous Kanha Tiger Reserve, Satpura National Park, Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary, Omkareshwar National Park, and the Panchmarhi Biosphere Reserve. Other important protected areas in its basin are Panna Tiger Reserve on the banks of the Ken River and Bhandavgarh Tiger Reserve near the Sone River. 

  13. Achanakmar-Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve spans across the states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. It is the source of three major river systems: the Narmada, the Johilla, and the Son River, and includes the Maikal, Vindhya and Satpura ranges.

Omkareshwar Jyotirling on Narmada River island
Omkareshwar Jyotirling on Narmada River island

Origin Story of Narmada

The Narmada River is considered one of the holiest rivers in India. According to the Puranas, Devi Tapati, the daughter of Surya (Sun God) and Chhaya, was reborn as Devi Narmada. Suryadev blessed her and said that she would thereafter flow west from the Vindhya mountains as a river named Narmada. 

Another legend claims that Shiv's sweat from his penance on Mount Riksha formed the Narmada, which is why she is referred to as Shiva's daughter. Another mythology states that Brahma shed two tears from his eyes, which resulted in the creation of the Narmada and the Son rivers.

The Narmada River is mentioned many times in the Mahabharata and described by Narada Muni as being as holy as the Ganga and the Saraswati. Narmada is also considered to be the origin of Agni (fire). At present, there is a temple complex called the Narmada-Kund Complex, where Narmada Kund, considered to be the origin of the River Narmada, is housed. It has two temples with two female deities. 

The Amarkantak Hills are overall considered extremely sacred, where great sages are believed to have meditated. Sage Kapil used to meditate by the first waterfall of the Narmada, giving it the name Kapildhara. 

Key Cities located on the bank of the river

  1. Amarkantak: Located in Madhya Pradesh, Amarkantak is the origin point of the Narmada River and is revered as a sacred pilgrimage site.

  2. Jabalpur: Situated in Madhya Pradesh, Jabalpur is a major city on the banks of the Narmada River, known for its scenic beauty and historic monuments.

  3. Narmadapuram (Hoshangabad): An important cultural and commercial city famous for temples, ghats, and monuments.

  4. Bharuch: Historic city situated near the mouth of the Narmada River in Gujarat. It is known for its industrial significance and ancient heritage.

  5. Maheshwar: A city with a rich history, ancient temples, ghats, and monuments. 

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