Narmada River during daytime
The Narmada River, also known as Nerbada or Nerbudda, is the third-longest river that runs entirely within India, after the Godavari River, the Ganga River, and the Krishna River. Ptolemy, a Greek geographer from the second century CE, named the river Namade.
The Narmada River is 1,289 kilometers (801 miles) long and serves as the traditional border between North and South India. Along with the Tapti and the Mahi, it is one of just three significant rivers in peninsular India that flows from east to west. It begins at the summit of Amarkantak Hill in Madhya Pradesh and winds through the Mandla Hills, which form the head of the Satpura Range; then, at Jabalpur, it enters the Narmada Valley between the Vindhya and Satpura ranges, passing through the ‘Marble Rocks’, and heads west to the Gulf of Cambay. It travels through the Indian states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Gujarat before emptying into the Arabian Sea in Gujarat’s Bharuch district.
Due to the ancient expansion of the earth’s crust, the Narmada Valley is a rift valley where a graben, a linear block of the earth’s crust, has descended relative to the blocks or horst on either side. The Narmada North fault and the Narmada South fault run parallel to the river’s path, separating the Narmada block from the Vindhya and Satpura blocks, or horsts, which rose relative to the Narmada Graben. The watershed of the Narmada involves the northern slopes of the Satpuras and the steep southern slopes of the Vindhyas, but it doesn’t include the Vindhyan tableland, from which the Ganges and Yamuna receive their water.
The Tawa is its longest tributary, joining the Narmada at Bandra Bhan in Madhya Pradesh’s Hoshangabad district. The river widens through the rich area of Bharuch after leaving Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. It forms a 20-kilometer-wide estuary below Bharuch city, where it enters the Gulf of Cambay. The Narmada River is used for both irrigation and navigation. During the rainy season, large boats sail roughly 100 kilometers above Bharuch city. The port of Bharuch is frequented by seagoing vessels of about 70 tonnes; however, they are completely reliant on the tide.
Ptolemy initially referenced the Narmada river in the second century AD, and the author of the Periplus referred to it as Namade. The Ramayana, Mahabharat, and Puranas all make references to the Narmada River. The Reva Khand of the Vayu Purana and the Reva Khand of the Skanda Purana are entirely dedicated to the birth narrative of the Narmada river as well as its significance, which is why the river is also known as the Reva.
On the banks of the Narmada, the emperor Harshavardhana of Kannauj was defeated by the Kannada emperor Pulakeshin II of the Chalukya dynasty. The Narmada River is also thought to be connected to another river, the Sonbhadra, which flows through the Chota Nagpur Plateau. According to the Puranas, the Narmada river is also known as the Reva because of its leaping action through the stony beds.
Narmada River during daytime
The river’s catchment area, which is surrounded by the Satpura and Vindhya Mountain Ranges, is 98,796 km2 (38,145.3 sq mi). On the northern edge of the Deccan Plateau, it is located between longitudes 72°32′ and 81°45′ east and latitudes 21°20′ to 23°45′ north. Important regions of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Maharashtra are included in the catchment area.
There are five distinct geological areas in the catchment area, as follows:
- The districts of Mandla, Shahdol, Balaghat, Durg, and Seoni are located in the upper mountainous regions.
- The districts of Narsimhapur, Jabalpur, Damoh, Sagar, Hoshangabad, Chhindwara, Raisen, Betul, and Sehore are located in the upper terrains.
- The central terrains, which include a piece of west Nimar, the districts of East Nimar, Indore, Dewas, and Dhar, are located in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
- Parts of the western Nimar, Dhulia, Jhabua, Narmada, and Vadodara are among the lower mountainous regions.
- The districts of Bharuch, Narmada, and parts of Vadodara are largely in the lower terrain.
Roopmati Pavillion in Mandu, Madhyapradesh
The Narmada River is one of India’s five holiest rivers, with the Ganges, Godavari, Yamuna, and Kaveri being the other four. A plunge in any of these rivers is thought to aid in the removal of wrongdoing. The Narmada is said to be older than the Ganga in legend. The Narmada is mentioned frequently in the Mahabharat, Ramayana, and Puranas.
Rajaraja Chola erected the Brihadeeswara Temple at Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, which has one of the largest Banalingas. On the banks of the Narmada River, Adi Shankaracharya met his master, Govinda Bhagavatpada.
The following are some of the most important temples and ghats along the river’s banks:
- The Amarkantak (Sanskrit for Shiva’s neck) or Teerathraj (the King of Pilgrimages).
- Bharuch’s Bhrigu Rishi shrine and Bhojpur Shiva temple.
- Chausath Yogini (sixty-four yoginis) temple.
- Avatar temple of Chaubis.
- Maheshwar, Omkareshwar, Mahadeo temples, and Nemawar Siddeshwar Mandir are in the river’s center section.
The names of the most popular tourist sites along the river’s banks are listed below:
- Bharuch, and Rajpipla in Gujarat.
- Dewas (Kity, Nemavar, Pipri)
- Maheshwar and Mandu in Madhya Pradesh
- Narmada Nagar
Some historical (anthropological) sites are Chhatri of Baji Rao Peshwa, Joga Ka Quilla, and Bhimbetka. Dhardi Falls, Dugdhdhara, Dhuandhara, Bhedaghat, Sahastradhara, and Kapiladhara are all notable waterfalls.