Amarkantak

Teerthraj of  Madhya Pradesh

Rewa: the jumping one.

Maikal Suta: the one born of the Maikal Hills.

Shiva`s child.

Mother of the tribals.

One of India`s seven holy rivers.

The only one whose parikrama is performed by devotees.

The Narmada river embodies all this and more. She is accorded the same status as the Ganga and Saraswati; virtue accrues by bathing in, or paying homage to these rivers. At Amarkantak, you can follow this river, which the native communities of this region call ‘Ma Rewa’, from her divine source where she takes the first tentative steps down the green sal woods, red earth and black basalt rocks, to her ebullient leaps down to the plains.

Amarkantak is really a hamlet; most of it lies along a main road, which comprises a market with a few dhabas, ashrams and the Narmada Temple Complex. If you are in a hurry, a day is enough to cover all main sights by car or jeep.
Amarkantak is also the place to realize that the tribal idyll described by websites is a fissured one. The tribals – repositories of forest-based knowledge – are now working blue-collar jobs such as construction labourers, taxi drivers and mine workers. The forests, in the words of a local, are ‘hollow’. And the Narmada is making her joyous way forward to face 30 big dams, 135 medium dams and 3.000 small dams on herself and her tributaries.

Located in the Anuppur District of Madhya Pradesh, Amarkantak lies in the Maikal ranges connecting Satpura and Vindhyachal Mountain Ranges. It is located at the altitude of around 1067m. According to 2001 Census, Amarkantak City has the population of around 7000.

Amarkantak is a mystical town which is home of several mythological stories about Narmada, as well as, her father Lord Shiva and is popularly known as ‘Teerthraj’ – ‘the King of Pilgrimages’. Hence, it is literally a religious destination. Being the origin of Johilla, Sone, as well as, the Narmada rivers, Amarkantak in MP has around 12 temples. One of the most important is Narmada Temple. This temple was built by the Bhonsles of Nagpur. The boundary wall of the premises of this temple was built by Maharaja Gulab Singh from Baghel dynasty. The Patleshwar, as well as, Machendranath Temples were built by the Kalchuris. The group of Kama Matha Temples has been declared as conserved site by the Archeological Survey of India. Moderate climate, rich vegetation, picturesque location, as well as, its religious significance attract thousands of tourists and devotees every year in Amarkantak.

Orientation

The amarkantak plateau is located at a height of 3,000 ft, in the middle of a dense forest area. The town lies in the district of Anooppur, in the Maikal Mountain range that links the Vindhya and Satpura ranges. The rivers Narmada and Son arise in this holy town. While the Narmada flows towards the west. River Son flows eastwards. Amarkantak is also referred to as teerth raj or the king of pilgrimags. This holy town is a much sought-after pilgrimage centre for Hindus as evinced by the many temples located here. In addition to these religious sites, this serene place, with its lofty hills, waterfalls and forest cover, has much to offer nature enthusiasts.

There is a legend about the construction of this temple. It is said that the goddess Narmada appeared to Rewa Nayak, a banjara or nomad in a dream. The river goddess directed him to clear the site of the present kund. When Rewa Nayak found the spot, it was covered with a dense mass of bamboo trees. He toiled hard, day and night, to clear the site. Once he cleared the site of trees, he found a stream, which was none other than the holy river Narmada. Rewa Nayak installed an image of the goddess in a temple at this spot. His descendants later installed Rewa Nayak’s image in one of the alcoves in the temple.
The legend of Narmada Udgam
The rivers, Narmada, as well as, Sone originate at Amarkantak. Legend says that the two were to be wed. But Sone rebuffed Narmada and married another. The spurned Narmada was so hurt that she changed her course and began to flow westward!
Why Narmada turned Westwards
In the radius of 3 km from Amarkantak, all routes are ideal for trekking where you can explore the natural beauty, which is simply breathtaking.
Trekking in Amarkantak

Amarkantak

Tourist Places

  • Amarkantak is preliminary known as a religious city. By considering this fact, here are some tourist attractions in Amarkantak, which are ideal for a spiritual journey .

Mata Narmada Temple

The Mata Narmada Temple faces the Narmada Udgam and is considered a shaktipeeth. It sees scores of devotees and of particular note here is a curious ritual that is performed by women. The ritual is apparently a ‘test of purity’ where women have to crawl out from under the statue of a dwarf elephant. If they somehow manage this miraculous feat, their soul is believed to be pure.

Mai ki Bagiya

A one kilometer walk away from the temple lies this shaded grove with shrines and another kund. The water of this kind is believed to have originated from the feet of the Narmada. It is said that there goddess used to pluck flowers from this garden, which is now surrounded by shrines, a stream, medicinal plants and fruit-bearing trees.

Machhendranath and Pataleshwar

These ancient sandstone temples were built by the Kalachuri king Karnadeva in the 11th century. You may want to pay a visit to these temples to marvel at heir exquisite carvings. They are situated to the south of the Narmada kund.

Narmadeshwar Temple

The group of temples in itself, Narmada Temple is famous for the origin of Narmada River as it has its holy Kund. In the premises, 20 small temples are located here and each of them has their own importance. One of them is Sati temple of Mata Parvati.

Bhrigumandal

It is located on the forest trek zone which is 3 km from Amarkantak. It was the meditation spot for Bhrigu Rishi. Chandi, as well as, Parsvinayak Caves are also located here.

Karna Math Mandir

Not many people are known to visit this temple, rich with icons and architecture. Locals ascribe it to a king called Raja Karan Dahariya of King Karna of Dahala, who was supposedly the ruler of Amarkantak.
The Karna Math complex has three temples that have been constructed on a raised platform. The gate itself is crowned by four massive faces of the river goddess. Statues of 64 yoginis that represent the different aspects of the goddess adorn its walls. The temple tower rises in the from of the mythical Mount Meru.
The temples is worth a visit for its intricate detailing alone, even if you aren`t particularly religious.

Son Muda

It is a sunrise point and Sone River is originated from here. According to historical sources going back to the Greek historian Megasthenes (350-290 BCE), River Son reportedly got its name from the gold dust that was discovered in its water. The area believed to be the source of the river now has a kind, a fairly new shaktipeeth temple, a Shiva statue, as well as an old ashram.
The beauty of the surroundings unravels after you descend the 100-odd steps cut into the hillside, and come to the very edge of the Amarkantak Plateau. From here you can see the Son falling down the Maikal mountain, villages at a distance in the vast plains below and the many gentle forlds of the Satpura Hills.

Kapildhara and Dudhdhara Falls

About 7 km away from Amarkantak, towards the western edges of the plateau, lie the beautiful Kapildhara and Dudhdhara Falls. Kapildhara is associated with the legendary sage Kapil or Kapila, who reputedly spent 12years meditating here.
Within these woods, the Narmada matures into a strong cascade of water splashing 70 ft down sheer rock. Depressions in the rocks, before the cascade, are believed to be the footprints of the sage Kapila.
You can drive up to the Kapildhara Viewpoint, but to look at it in its full glory and splash in the Narmada, walk half a kilometer down to the smaller but lovelier Dudhdhara Falls. Local jeeps are available.

Jwaleshwar Mahadev

This temple is located in the dense forest and Johilla River is originated here. A sunset point is located near this temple.

Kabir Chabutra

As the name suggests, Sant Kabirwas meditated here.                                       

Sarvodaya Jain Temple

This under construction temple is known as a construction marvel. In construction of this temple, iron and cement haven’t been used. A 24 ton idol is being placed here.

                     

Dudh Dhara

It is a very sprawling Narmada river’s waterfall around 1 km away from Kapildhara.

Kapil Dhara

It is around 8 km away from the source of Narmada River. It is 100 ft. long breathtaking waterfall on Narmada River. It was also the meditation point for Kapil Rishi.

Durga Dhara and Shambhu Dhara

These stunningly amazing waterfalls are accessed in the dense forests. You have to walk through a few kilometers inside the forest to reach here.

Madhya Pradesh Tour

Few regions in India can match Madhya Pradesh in sheer diversity, it’s rich heritage, legendary piligrim centres, breath taking scenic beauty and unparalleled wildlife makes it truly unique.

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