Madhya Pradesh archive
The Narmada is not just a river, but one of the prominent pillars in the spiritual, geographical and ethnic history of Madhya Pradesh. Being the fifth longest river of India, Narmada plays a major role in the agriculture and economic prosperity of the state, consequently it is renowned as 'The Life Line Of Madhya Pradesh'.
Meaning of Narmada is 'the one who bestows blessedness'. The Narmada's vale has served as a pious abode for the culture and beliefs of an ageless human civilization dating antiquated times. A bountiful primeval Indian scrolls suggest that Narmada has been granted with the boon that there'll always be temples of the almighty Gods at its embankments. Legend has it that one has to bath in the Ganga river to be cleansed of his/her evil doings, but whosoever merely behold the Narmada's holy water, will be free from the sins of his/her past. Fables regarding the blissful event of Narmada's birth are widespread, according to one folklore once few sweat drops on earth from Lord Shiva's body when he was meditating, emanating Narmada river. Another myth confides that once Lord Brahma was grieving and when two tear drops grounded, it gave birth to two rivers - the Narmada & the Son. In the Skanda Purana, an antediluvian Indian scripture, an entire chapter, namely 'Rewa Khanda' is devoted to river Narmada thus it is often referred to as 'Rewa'.
Narmada, a virgin Goddess is worshipped as a divine mother by its devotees. An estimation to people's belief and reverence can be reckoned based the fact that the venerators do a 'Narmada Parikrama', a ritual of circumambulation to reflect their immense faith on the Narmada. This 'Parikrama' is extremely virtuous and people do it to attain purity, spirituality and an inner peace of mind. It is believed that the circumambulation of this holy river wash away all of your sins. Narmada Parikrama is a 2600 Kms long journey which begun from the source the Narmada i.e Maikal ranges, Amarkantak, along the river to Bharuch in Gujarat state and then back along the river to the origin of the river. Traditionally, this Parikrama is completed by walking all the way, Origin-Confluence-Origin. But nowadays, technology has given birth to lazy and easy worship.
It is acknowledged as one of the seven most divine rivers, namely Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati, Godaveri, Kshipra, Kaveri and the Narmada itself in ancient Indian archives. Narmada originates from the Maikal ranges at Amarkantak, 1057 meters above sea level, in Shahdol district of Madhya Pradesh. Unlike most of the rivers in India, Narmada's gallant and seamless course is from east to west, drifting amidst the ranges of the Vindhya and Satpura, it conclusively puts an end to its 1312 Kms long voyage, which traverses Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and meets the Gulf of Khambat or Gulf of Cambay.
Sardar Sarovar Dam, Gujarat and Narmada Sagar Dam, Madhya Pradesh built over the river Narmada are the main reasons for India's one of the most fierce controversy which gave birth to "Narmada Bachao Aandolan", a movement initiated to seek justice for the people.
Image courtesy : SANDRP
The Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh has been struggling with an excruciating water shortage for over almost 3 decades. The ground water was cascading at an alarming rate and the experts foretold that at this pace the Malwa region will soon be known for its desert.
The only light in the gloomy scarcity conditions was river Narmada, the life line of MP. An idea of feeding the water deficient rivers with the help of Narmada was proposed, but it was not so easy. One of the major conundrum is elevation as the Malwa plateau is about 350m higher than the Narmada river valley. Malwa region was once known for its rivers and their religious importance but the fame was diminishing. World famous 'Simhast' was to be held after 12 years in Ujjain in the year 2016 and the holy Kshipra river being captivated in the water crisis was just going to make it worse because during Simhast millions of devotees perform bathing ritual at once in the Kshipra river, thus the water level couldn't be less. The well established industries were also caught up in the storm and was adversely affected. Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Honorable Chief Minister of MP, was highly concerned about the spreading deficiency of water. The CM asked the department of the Narmada Valley Development to prepare a project which can convey the Narmada's water to Malwa in the least possible time. NVDA surveyed the area of interest and gave a project report, namely 'the Narmada Kshipra Link Project' under which a proposal to lift 5 cumecs (cubics per meter) of water from the nearest point was suggested. The CM approved the project on August 8, 2012 and an official endorsement of Rs 432 crore was allotted on October 12, 2012. Mr. Lalkrishna Aadvani, the former deputy Prime Minister laid the foundation gem of this ambitious envision on Noveprosperity, and The project was completed in a record span of 14 months. The Narmada water linked to the river Kshipra at its origin near village Ujjaini on February 6, 2014 which was also the day of Narmada Jayanti, making the special day more blissful. Later in the month of February, Govt.
“The project's first stage has been accomplished with an investment of Rs 432 crore and the state government will consecrate it to the public tomorrow,” a government official said and added “The Confluence Site (Sangam Sthal) will be evolved as a prominent tourist spot."
The Narmada-Kshipra Link Project was started with an ambitious and wide approach. First phase just furnished the 'Simhast' needs, but the upcoming plans will be offering a helping hand in sorting Malwa's problems. In the years to come Dewas-based industries, suburban drinking water prerequisites of Dewas-Indore Road and over 150 villages will be acquiring its benefits. Irrigation facility for 17 lakh hectares of agricultural land of the Malwa plateau, known for Wheat & Cotton crop production, will be available.
Over the years, Narmada has been an icon for Madhya Pradesh's agricultural prosperity and since India is an agriculture-pivotal country, then having a river with abundant water to fulfill the needs of a state deserves to be treated as a Goddess.