Holy City & Destination Point Amarkantak
The town of Amarkantak lies in the newly created district of Anuppur, in Madhya Pradesh. It is situated on the Maikal mountain range which links the Vindhyachal and Satpura mountain ranges, at about 1067 meters above mean sea level. The population of the town as per 2001 census is around 7000. Many mythological stories relating to Lord Shiva and his daughter Narmada have been woven around this mystical town of Amarkantak. Amarkantak is known primarily as a religious place. The holy rivers Narmada and Soneoriginate from here. Another important river Johilla, too originates from Amarkantak. There are about 12 temples here devoted to Narmada maiyya. The Narmada temple is the most important one, which has been built around the origin point of the river Narmada. The Bhonsles of Nagpur built this temple. Maharaja Gulab Singh belonging to the Baghel dynasty of Rewa constructed the outer boundary wall of the temple complex. The Kalchuris constructed the Machendranath and the Patleshwar temple at Amarkantak. The Archaelogical Survey of India has declared this group of temples (Karna matha temples) a protected site. A few years ago,an idol was stolen from this protected site, which was recovered later; however, since then, the ASI has shifted the idol from this temple .The religious significance of this town has attracted people from various sects and religions and as a consequence, many ashrams of various sadhu-mahatamas have come up in Amarkantak over the years.
Besides attracting devotees of all sorts due to its religious importance, Amarkantak, because of its picturesque/rustic location, rich vegetation and moderate climatic conditions, attracts many tourists from nearby areas. The temperature of Amarkantak varies from 25 degree centigrade to -2 degree centigrade around the year. The period from the month of July to the month of September can be termed as the rainy season. Due to its beautiful locale and pleasant climate, Amarkantak has vast potential of being developed as a hill station attracting tourists of all kinds.
Amarkantak is known primarily for its religious importance. The various places of tourist attraction are as follows:
- Narmada Mandir (group of temples)
- Mai Ka Bagiya
- Kabir Chabutra
- Jwaleshwar Mahadev
- Shambhudhara & Durgadhara
- Sarvodya Jain Temple
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 .
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.
The point of origin of the Sone river. It is also a sunrise point.
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.
Saint Kabir spent time here in meditation.
The origin of river Johilla. There is a temple deep in the forest ofJwaleshwar Mahadev . There is a ‘sunset point’ close to this temple.
At a distance of 8 Kms.from the origin of riverNarmada, the river falls from a height of 100 feet creating a waterfall known as Kapildhara. It is believed that the Kapil rishi meditated here.
At a distance of 1 Km. from Kapildhara there is another beautiful waterfall on the river Narmada called Dudhdhara.
Two other extremely beautiful waterfalls are situated deep in the forest. One has to walk a few Kms. to see these breathtaking waterfalls.
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.
Besides these regularly visited sites, all roads from Amarkantak within 3 Km radius are excellent trekking routes where one can behold the beauty of nature in its breathtakingly untouched form.