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This blog captures the life experiences of the Enigmatic India team in the beautiful and enigmatic country of India.We capture our experiences through our writings, photos and products that depict the very essence and fabric of India.Through this platform, we invite you to join us in our journey as we explore.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Along the Narmada, Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh

Long ago, Narmada river was a name(along with others) we used a lot during the "Map pointing" sessions of the Geography class. After as we graduated to senior school and college, the name again cropped up as "Narmada Bachao Andolan", which was on and off in the news.
boats in Narmada

Well that's all I had about Narmada river till a recent trip to Maheshwar & Omkareshwar in Madhya
Pradesh, which forms the life line of these places. Maheshwar or Mahishmati located in the banks of the river Narmada was the capital of King Kartivarjun. It assumed importance during the Holkar period when queen Ahilyabai of Indore revived this.

As you start exploring Maheshwar, one of the few places to go is the Rajgaddi and the Ghats (mostly the Ahilya Ghat, apart from Peshwar and Fanase Ghats). Early afternoon and the place was teeming with people and we decided to take a boat ride(one hr) on the serene waters of the Narmada river.
Ahilya Ghat with the Rajgaddi in background.
 We boarded an exclusive boat, and started our journey with the sun slowly starting to set .

view from our boat.
 Like us there were many tourists enjoying the boating.
Tourists in another boat.
Suddenly we say a temple in the middle of nowhere inside the river. Our boatman, informed that this was the Baneshwar Mahadev Temple. It is believed that a heavenly line from the North Star passes through this temple to the Earth's centre.(Not sure about this though). It looked majestic along the backdrop of the water and river bank.
Baneshwar Mahadev Temple
 As we moved on, we saw small settlements  along the banks of the river. Women with cleaning their brass pots and villagers herding their cattle and some fishing for their livelihoods.
washing utensils

Herding goats
 As we moved on the serene waters slowly looked rough and that's when our boatman said, here is the "Sahastradhara".We alighted on the bank of the river and walked along watching the white rapids and the beautiful sound of the gushing water. What a sight - suddenly the Narmada looked mighty and evoked awe.

Having spent sometime, we started our journey back we saw some birds including the Grey heron waiting patiently for its prey, the cormorant and river tern gliding across the water.
Grey heron
The beautiful Pandharinath Mandir(Lord Vishnu) was resplendent against the setting sun.
Pandharinath Temple.
 Holy men were seen sitting in meditating or getting ready to offer puja for the evening.
holy men & others offering puja
 As we reached the Ahilya Ghat, the Sun was already setting and the view was majestic.We thought we had to bid goodbye to Narmada for the day.
setting Sun.
What we didn't realise that there was more to experience. We made a short visit to a workshop to see how Maheshwar Sarees were woven. The craftsmanship was impeccable and it left us wanting to get more of it. however our driver insisted that we go back to the Narmada bank to witness the evening Arati(Puja).
Evening Arati
 When we landed only a few(maybe 50-60) of us were there and already many of them were feeding the fish at the bank of the ghat. Well then we saw the panditji preparing the Arati and then all of them started the puja and it went for 5-7 minutes.
Arati by the Narmada
The arati ended, the prasad was distributed to us and some were fed to the fishes. The evening was quite snappy and even though we wanted to go back to our hotel, we somehow continued to be glued to this river.

What a day it was...the Narmada has a story to tell about the Forts, Temples, People, Sadhus, Birds etc over the years and centuries.

For me from just being a line in a map to a news items, Narmada transformed in my mind to something that is reverend, life giving and beautiful.

(Contributed by Sandip Mishra)

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