Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Amarkantak.

Day 13 Bandhavgarh to Amarkantak

Distance:
200 km

Road Condition: Very good state highway via Shahdol. The roads are flawless apart from a 6 km stretch, which is very poor.

Narmada Udgam
Beauty of a road trip is that one can change their direction and destination any time. Amarkantak was not in our itinerary, however, stumbling upon an impressive picture made us head in that direction. Arch shaped trees covering the black carpet like road was a welcome sight. It is a very quiet town that sleeps and wakes up early. One of the holiest places in India that has over hundred Shiva temples, a Gurudawara and a Jain temple.

Dream Road
Dreadful 6 km Stretch 
Amarkantak was packed with surprises, this is where the Vindhya and Satpura ranges meet, popularly known as 'King Of Pilgrimages.' One of the holiest rivers in India, Narmada originates here, a beautiful temple is built at the source of origin as a mark of devotion.It is believed that the mere sight of the holy river cleanses all sins. Aarti is performed twice a day at sunrise and sunset. Experiencing the puja awakens your spiritual side and takes you to a world of trance. The reflection of the temples in the kund makes it very picturesque.


Do not miss out on the group of ancient temples adjacent to Narmada Udgam. The history of this place goes back to 8th century when Adi Shankaracharya built a Surya kund to specify the origin of the Narmada. The layout of Shiva temple here is very unique, it has a common entrance and Mandapa leading to two different Garbhagras facing in perpendicular direction.

10th Century Shiva Temple

These 10th century monuments are from Kalachuri period, built by the ruler Karnadeva. These temples are very well maintained by the Archaeological Department of India. ASI have employed an ex-serviceman as the caretaker, who was kind enough to unlock the doors to give us a peek of the main deity - Lord Shiva. It is believed to be a Swayambu - 'Naturally occurring Ling' and once every month Narmada graces her presence here and pays her respect to Lord Shiva. It remains a mystery until today as to how this occurs.


Watch out for the stunning Bhrama temple visible from these ancient monuments, a few meters away. The murti is very eye catchy and is a must visit.

Bramha Statue 
Kalip and Dhudh Dhara are tucked away 8 km from here, the waterfall would be quite a sight in monsoon. Head-down 150 feet via rock cut stairs to reach Dhudh Dhara, the trek is not very challenging and gives you a good feel of the jungle. There are plenty of beehives around, be mindful.

The area around the temple was thriving with many Dharmshalas and quite a few private properties. We checked into Hotel Holiday Home, owned and operated by MTDC. They offer tented accommodations and rooms which were very comfortable, clean and basic. The tents are fitted with AC and are pitched in plenty of shade, keeping them cool even in summer. They are priced at 3200 INR including taxes. They serve good food and their service quality is commendable. The property is only half a kilometer away from Narmada Udgam.

MTDC Holiday Home
Our bags are packed and we head to Panna.

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