India is the only country where rivers are worshiped, respected as mother and treated as the source of providing salvation. Among the Holly Rivers of India, river Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati are the front runners. It is said for attaining purification one has to take a dip in Ganga and make prayers on the banks of Yamuna [for seven days] and Saraswati [For three days], where as due to boon of Lord Shiva river Narmada’s only sight is capable of the same. The origin of this sacred river Narmada lies at Maical Mountain in the mountain series of Vindh and Satupuda at Amarkantak.
This area of Maical Mountain is, the natural habituate of dense forest of teak and Mahua trees at the height of 3500 feet, with four rivers in all four directions, river Sone [Shone] in east, river Narmada in west, river Mahanadi in south and river Jawalawati [Juhala] in the north. The music of many waterfalls present in the area and singing birds of these evergreen forests are producing the most wonderful natural concert that leaves the tourist spellbound.
In the Ramayan era this mountain Maical [Maikal] was known as the “Hriuksh Paravat” according to famous epics King Ravana enjoyed the vision of beauty of this place from his aero plan “Pushpak”. In the Mahabharat era King Yudhistar visited mountain to worship Maha Muni Markandey in his aashram. Origin of the river Narmada is near this Aashram. Almost about 2,500 years of Mahabharat Adiguru Shankaracharya came to this place, in search of spiritual master at that time river Narmada was under the influence of floods which was about to disturb meditation of Swami Govindpad, Aacharya with the help of his kamandal constructed “Narmada Ashtak” to control the flood and after getting the guidance of spirituality from swami ji established “Shivlinga” there, which is at present is known as “Pataleshwar Mahadev”. Temples here are constructed from the black stones and are unique in architect though at some places a thinner similarity with the world heritage site Ellora caves is visible. Some of the places from the area which holds tourist attraction are
1.Narmada Mandir (group of temples) : Narmdeshwar temple which has a holy kund made at the source of river Narmada is the most important temple at Amarkantak. There are about twenty small temples in the premises of the Narmada Mandir each one of which is important in its own way. There is the Sati temple, which is, devoted to Parvati. The protected site of the ASI is close to the main Narmada temple.
2. Mai Ka Bagiya : About one Km. from the main temple, there is a garden, which lies in a densely forested area. It is popularly believed that the Narmada devi used to pluck flowers in this garden.
3. Sonmuda : The point of origin of the Sone river. It is also a “sunrise” point.
4. Bhrigumandal: It is around 3 Kms. from Amarkantak on a difficult forest trek route. It is believed that Bhrigu Rishi meditated here. The Parasvinayak and Chandi caves are on this route.
5. Kabir Chabutra: Saint Kabir spent time here in meditation.
6. Jwaleshwar Mahadev :The origin of river Johilla. There is a temple deep in the forest of Jwaleshwar Mahadev . There is a 'sunset point' close to this temple.
7. Kapildhara: At a distance of 8 Kms. from the origin of river Narmada, the river falls from a height of 100 feet creating a waterfall known as Kapildhara. It is believed that the Kapil rishi meditated here.
8. Dudhdhara: At a distance of 1 Km. from Kapildhara there is another beautiful waterfall on the river Narmada called Dudhdhara.
9. Shambhudhara & Durgadhara :Two other extremely beautiful waterfalls are situated deep in the forest. One has to walk a few Kms. to see these breathtaking waterfalls.
10. Sarvodya Jain Temple: This temple is under construction. It is considered a construction marvel. Cement and iron have not been used in this temple and the weight of the idol to be placed in the temple is around 24 Tones.
You can reach Amarkantak from the Jabalpur [M.P.] or From the Khajurahoo, it is almost in the mid of Bandhavgad and Kanha reserve forest so you can stay here while visiting these. Amarkantak is indeed blessed by Nature. Holy ponds, lofty hills, forested surroundings, marvelous waterfalls and an ever-pervading air of serenity make Amarkantak a much sought-after destination for the religious-minded as well as for the nature-lover.