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Old 7th January 2020, 21:09   #1
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Default S-Cross'd : Amarkantak, the birthplace of Narmada

Narmada, the holiest of the holy rivers.

Narmada one of the seven holy rivers of India; the other six being Ganges, Yamuna, Saraswati, Sindhu, Godavari and Kaveri

According to a legend, the river Ganges, polluted by millions of people bathing in it, assumes the form of a black cow and comes to the Narmada to bathe and cleanse itself in its holy waters, thus making her the holiest of the holiest rivers.

So holy is Narmada that, to remove sins of all lifetimes, one must bathe three years in the Saraswati, seven days in the Yamuna, one day in the Ganges, or merely glance at the Narmada.

There are many fables about the origin of the Narmada. According to one of them, once Lord Shiva meditated so hard that he started perspiring. Shiva's sweat accumulated in a tank and eventually overflowed as the Narmada or Shankari, Shankar’s daughter. Every pebble on the riverbed is supposed to take the shape of a Shivalinga.

One myth is that she was born from the body of Siva. Goddess Narmada was slim and beautiful. Gods and demons wanted to marry her; she had to flee and dodge the prospects. However, she was able to disappear then they were in the proximity. She played hide and seek with them and one inference of Narmada is her playful attitude of dodging. Finally she surrenders herself to Lord Shiva. The Lord was pleased in her absolute devotion. Siva blessed her and said, "May you become a holy river, and may your waters always be full!

Another legend has it that two teardrops that fell from the eyes of Lord Brahma, yielded two rivers – the Narmada and the Son.

Some other legends say an official proposal of marriage from Son was made to Mekala, Narmada’s father. Yet others say, the Son wooed the mighty Narmada and she agreed to marry him.

When the Son was coming towards his bride’s place in a slow procession, the curious and impatient Narmada sent her hairdresser Johilla to check out the groom. Son got chatting with Johilla and found her rather enchanting. When Narmada realized that her groom-to-be was enjoying Johilla’s company, she stormed out of the house and flowed westwards. The rejected Son too flew off to go in an easterly direction. Eventually, the Johilla stream, formed of her tears, flows eastwards to join the Son. This is the legend behind Narmada flowing to the west.

The stories goes on and on. All this made me intrigued and prompted me on a drive to Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh, where Narmada originates. To see and to be a part of all this wonderful stories, and I am ever thankful that we could do it in one of our drives. To add to the joy, my girls were with me for this drive.

And this picture attracted me even further
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So off to the story of Amarkantak, where the Narmada River, the Son River and Johila River emerge.


Thanks Wikipedia for the above picture and most of the information
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Old 7th January 2020, 22:09   #2
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Default re: S-Cross'd : Amarkantak, the birthplace of Narmada

9 days, 9 states, 5000Kms. (KA, AP, TS, MH, MP, CG, OD, PY (Yanam) and TN)
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It was a fun trip with my girls, loads of memories for a life time.

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We went to Pench National Park, Kanha National Park, Sahasthradhara, Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh.

We also visited Bhoramdev Temple, Kawardha, Tirathgarg Falls, Kutumser Caves, Kailash Caves, Dantevada, Barsur, Indravati River, Tamda Ghumar, Mendri Ghumar and the famous Chitrakoot falls of Chhattisgarg.

We then drove via Arakku valley to Vishakapattanam, checked out all its beaches.

Entered Yanam to checkout Pondichery territory

Then went to Konaseema on the banks of Godavari to check out Kerala of the east, and Antervadi to see Godavari meeting the Sea, before heading back home.

I have written about Bhoramdev temple, the Khajuraho of Chhattisgarg some time before. You can read the same here (S-Cross'd : Bhoramdeo Temple, the Khajuraho of Chhattisgarh).

This log will be only about Amarkantak drive from Kanha and back.
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The plan at Amarkantak
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Let us see a lot of Central India while we get more and more touristy snowy logs from the hills
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Old 8th January 2020, 19:15   #3
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Default re: S-Cross'd : Amarkantak, the birthplace of Narmada

06th November 2018 : Tuesday
Kanha - Amarkantak - Kanha

We were staying at Club Mahindra Kanha for the night. Since we had to go to Amarkantak and be back the same day, some 500Kms for the day approximately, we decided to start the day early.

We woke up by 04:00 and got ready to go. By the time we started to roll it was 05:30AM.

It was 20 degrees at Kanha, and Odo stands at 39489. Already we were 1546Kms away from home!
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It was 05:30 and it was still dark. The night drive in Kanha!!


Our route was Kanha - Jamuniya - Kamtipur - Bichiya - Kalyanpur - Gadasarai - Gorakhpuri - Jagatpur - Amarkantak

After a left turn at Bichiya Dindori road, suddenly we were in the middle of some road construction and detours before we got back to the narrow two lane roads.


We then drove continuously and by 09:00AM we were almost nearing Jagatpur Junction where the road turns left to AmarKantak, and goes straight to Chhattisgarh.


Jagatpur Ecotourism resort is another 2Kms
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Amarkantak is another 8Kms to the left
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But we were stopped to check. It was election time in Chattisgarh
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Jagatpur Jn. Straight ahead is Chhattisgarh and left is to Amarkantak
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We took the left and drove to Amarkantak, and after some distance we found a board pointing to Arandi Gufa
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We took a detour to Arandi Gufa
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From Jagatpur Jn Checkpost to Arandi Gufa


The road ahead goes to Kapil Dhara, looked mostly like a trekking path
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It was written on the compound wall of Arandi Ashram that Kapil Dhara is about 4kms
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We decided not to take that path, and checked out Arandi Ashram


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Old 8th January 2020, 19:58   #4
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Default re: S-Cross'd : Amarkantak, the birthplace of Narmada

06th November 2018 : Tuesday
Kanha - Amarkantak - Kanha

We reached Arandi Ashram by 09:30AM. This is the place of confluence Arandi River and Narmada. But unfortunately, Arandi river has disappeared or dried up due to gross negligence of mankind. It is also sad to observe in the ridge behind the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Corporation’s resort, the careless construction of a road has cemented and tarred the site of the natural spring that gave rise to the Amravati river in one direction and the Vaitarni river in the other.

Entrance to the Gufa at Arandi Ashram
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The Gufa
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Inside the Gufa
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Arandi Ashram temple
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Here the deities are Ganga Narmada and Arandi
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The story about Arandi Sangam
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Narmada behind Arandi Ashram
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This joins near the road to Amarkantak and is called Kabir Sarovar too
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Old 10th January 2020, 11:30   #5
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Default re: S-Cross'd : Amarkantak, the birthplace of Narmada

06th November 2018 : Tuesday
Kanha - Amarkantak - Kanha

Our next destination was to check out Kapil Dhara, the first waterfall on Narmada after it flows from its origin, Narmada Kund. Since Kapil dhara is away from the town, we decided to visit that first and then get back to town and roam around in the town.

Kapil Dhara is 4 Kms to the left, and the town is another 2Kms to the right from Kabir Sarovar
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Drive from Arandi Gufa to Kapil Dhara Parking


We were stopped at a checkpost to collect charges for parking
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Kungfu Panda (Jr.) and Jr. PPG at Kapil dhara parking
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Its a small trek to the falls
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No one was around
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Quote:
Kapildhara lies at a distance of 6 kilometers from the Narmada Kund. The holy waters of the River Narmada plunge from a height of about 100 feet, from the ground level. This cascade gets its name from the famous sage Kapil, who had resided at this place and performed severe religious austerities. Kapil muni is said to have received the divine light at this very place, according to the ancient scriptures. He had also written ‘Sankhya Philosophy’ an advance treatise on mathematics in the Kapil ashram. Kapildhara is set amidst majestic mountains, dense forests and low lying hills.

The mountains surrounding the Kapildhara waterfall have several caves within them, where many saints have meditated and attained salvation, during the ancient times. The Kapildhara falls are created by the River Narmada, which originates at the Narmada Kund. Two other rivers Kapila and Arandi, join the Narmada River to form the Kapildhara falls. Though the falls can be visited all year round, the best time however remains the months of September to January, the post monsoon period. En route to the falls, one can come across the Achanakumar Tiger Reserve. The waterfall is prominently set amidst the forests, known as Kapilvan. According to Hindu mythology, sage Kapil had tried to stop the reverse flow of the Narmada River from this point.

Kapildhara is the first waterfall from the Narmada Kund, on the banks of River Narmada. Though the waters jut down with a tremendous force, the depth of the pool underneath is only 20 to 25 feet. One needs to beware of the monkeys and langurs that frequent the falls! The people, who visit Kapildhara falls, usually collect the stones from the holy river waters, which are worshiped as shivlings, called Narmadeshwar. The pilgrims also worship the footprints of Lord Kapileshwar Shiva and the sage Kapil, at the Kapil Ashram.
You get to see Kapil Dhara from the top first
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First view of Kapil Dhara


Then there is a walkway leading you to a forest. You can reach the foot of Kapil Dhara and also go to Doodh Dhara which is the second falls on Narmada river.

You get some places like this to rest
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Old 10th January 2020, 11:45   #6
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Default re: S-Cross'd : Amarkantak, the birthplace of Narmada

06th November 2018 : Tuesday
Kanha - Amarkantak - Kanha

We then walked through the trail towards Doodh Dhara Falls
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The trail initially looked like a muddy path
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Then it turned into steep steps
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Coming down was easy, but the steps were steep
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Then it became a narrow trail again
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In some time we were walking along the river
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The step where the river falls down the second time to form Doodh Dhara
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The river flowing from Kapil Dhara to Doodh Dhara



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Old 10th January 2020, 12:12   #7
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Default re: S-Cross'd : Amarkantak, the birthplace of Narmada

06th November 2018 : Tuesday
Kanha - Amarkantak - Kanha
Quote:
1 km further down from Kapil Dhara waterfalls is the Dudh Dhara fall. Here the water falls from around 10/12 feet height. This is the second waterfall of River Narmada from it’s origin. The place is in thick forest and the steep descent from Kapil Dhara is not very easy. During rainy season one has to cross a few small streams to reach here. As this is a forest area one needs to be cautious and careful.

As per the Puranas it is said that Maharishi Durvasa meditated here. Earlier this place was called as Durvasa dhara but over a period of time the name got changed to Dudh dhara. As per the local lore Mother Narmada gave Darshan (Vision of the divine) to the Prince of Rewa in the form of milk stream here.

There is a small cave nearby with a statue of a Rishi inside it.
Doodh Dhara Falls
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PPGs liked the place, no one around, peaceful
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My Girls at Doodh Dhara
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Jr. PPG did not want to come out from there at all
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Any stone from Narmada is believed to be in the shape of Shivalinga, one such here
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The Durvasa Cave
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I did not go inside, but this is a picture of the sage inside from internet.
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Jr. PPG taking the beauty in
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Details of Doodh Dhara
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Doodh Dhara Falls


After spending some time here we decided to trek back to our car.


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Old 10th January 2020, 12:26   #8
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Default re: S-Cross'd : Amarkantak, the birthplace of Narmada

06th November 2018 : Tuesday
Kanha - Amarkantak - Kanha

We walked along the river retracing our path back to the parking area
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Kapil Ashram is nearby
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We reached the foot of Kapil Dhara Falls.
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Some pictures of Kapil Dhara

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Kapil Dhara Falls


After spending some time here we walked back.

Kapil Dhara Art Emporium, seems like its closed for ever
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Beautiful, and peaceful listening to the cattle grazing



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Old 10th January 2020, 12:51   #9
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Default re: S-Cross'd : Amarkantak, the birthplace of Narmada

06th November 2018 : Tuesday
Kanha - Amarkantak - Kanha

It was almost 11:30 when we started back from Kapil Dhara
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ODO is at 39706, which means we have traveled, 217Kms so far today. Kanha Amarkantak is approximately 225Kms .

Drive back from Kapil Dhara towards Amarkantak


We reached the fork, Kapil Sarovar is to our right
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We have another 2Kms to town, Board says origin of Son is another 8Kms
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We stopped by to check Narmada Bathing ghat
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It was a routine day for all
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Narmada Bathing Ghat


We then drove to the inner town

Narmada Bathing ghat from the other side
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From the fork to inner town


We reached a traffic circle
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And took the road to the inner town
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Origin of Narmada is very near by
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I tried to drive through the town, but quickly decided against it and thought to park the car somewhere and explore on foot.

Traversing through narrow streets of Amarkantak and finally deciding to park at Mela ground


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Old 10th January 2020, 13:50   #10
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Default re: S-Cross'd : Amarkantak, the birthplace of Narmada

06th November 2018 : Tuesday
Kanha - Amarkantak - Kanha

We roamed around and came near a pond with water lilies
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We took a while to get aligned to the town coordinates. You could also see some ancient temples to the right side
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So we decided to start with this pond as our anchoring point for reference. That white temple in the distance is the Narmada Origin
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A look around from the bund here gave us an idea where to go first in town
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Also we could see some ancient temples near by

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A little walk and we found a few boards
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And in 200 meters we get to see ancient temple grooup
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Old 10th January 2020, 14:24   #11
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06th November 2018 : Tuesday
Kanha - Amarkantak - Kanha

We reached the Ancient group of temples in no time, and got inside the compound. The place was very well preserved and clean.

Some history of the temples
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First view of the temples as you walk in
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This one is Pancha Mata Temple
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Wifey and Jr. PPG loved the cleanliness and calmness of the place
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You can see Suraj Kund
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Juhila Temple
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Old 10th January 2020, 14:33   #12
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Default re: S-Cross'd : Amarkantak, the birthplace of Narmada

06th November 2018 : Tuesday
Kanha - Amarkantak - Kanha

Pataleshwar Temple
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Wifey enjoying the beautiful surroundings
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I really loved the fact that the place was quite clean and very well preserved.
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Suraj Kund, believed to be the origin of Narmada, very well preserved
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Old 10th January 2020, 14:45   #13
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Default re: S-Cross'd : Amarkantak, the birthplace of Narmada

06th November 2018 : Tuesday
Kanha - Amarkantak - Kanha

Shiv Temple
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Panchmatha Temple
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Vishnu Temple
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We then strolled along the temples
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Old 10th January 2020, 14:56   #14
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Default re: S-Cross'd : Amarkantak, the birthplace of Narmada

06th November 2018 : Tuesday
Kanha - Amarkantak - Kanha

Karan temple
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Girls got tired from the stroll and took some time to rest
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My Girls at Karan Temple, Amarkantak
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A picture for the memories
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Old 10th January 2020, 15:16   #15
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Default re: S-Cross'd : Amarkantak, the birthplace of Narmada

06th November 2018 : Tuesday
Kanha - Amarkantak - Kanha

Right across the street from the ancient temple complex is Narmada Udgam Sthal or Narmada Mandir. Our next visit was to see the temple

Entry to Narmada Mandir Complex
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Ma Narmada Mandir
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Beautiful Narmada Mandir and Narmada Kund
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Sacred Kund, Narmada is believed to be originating from here

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The kund thankfully is full and overflow from here makes the Narmada River, joined by many tributaries later
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