Narmada River

From Academic Kids

The Narmada or Nerbudda is a river in central India. It forms the traditional boundary between the Deccan and the Indo-Gangetic plain, and is a total of 1,289km (801mi) long. It rises on the summit of Amarkantak Hill in the Madhya Pradesh state, and for the first 200 m of its course winds among the Mandla Hills, which form the head of the Satpura Range; then at Jabalpur, passing through the 'Marble Rocks', it enters its proper valley between the Vindhya and Satpura ranges, and pursues a direct westerly course to the Gulf of Cambay. Its total course through the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Gujarat amounts to about 800 mi, and it empties into the Arabian Sea in the Bharuch district of Gujarat.

It receives the drainage of the northern slopes of the Satpuras, but not that of the Vindhyan tableland, the streams from which flow into the Ganges and Jumna. Its longest tributary is the Tawa, which joins the Narmada at Bandra Bhan in Hoshangabad District, Madhya Pradesh. After leaving Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, the river widens out in the fertile district of Bharuch. Below Bharuch city it forms a 13 mile broad estuary where it enters the Gulf of Khambhat. The Narmada river is not only used for irrigation, but for navigation. In the rainy season boats of considerable size sail about 60 miles above Bharuch city. Seagoing vessels of about 70 tons frequent the port of Bharuch, but they are entirely dependent on the tide.

The BJP-led Gujarat Government has completed the multi-billion rupee Sardar Sarovar Dam Project in Kevadia Colony, Bharuch district of Gujarat. The Dam will rise to a height of 130 meters and will provide water to the dry regions of Saurashtra, Kutch (Kachchh), and north Gujarat. The water utilized by the dam will also been used by the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan. The dam has also ignited controversy and anti-dam activists led by Medha Patkar formed the Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save the Narmada Movement). The Supreme Court in 1999 declared that the Dam should be completed and it slammed the Narmada Bachao Andolao for opposing the construction of the dam. Indian novelist and essayist Arundhati Roy has been an outspoken critic of the dam.

In sanctity the Narmada ranks only second to the Ganges among the rivers of India, and along its whole course are special places of pilgrimage, including Maheshwar in Madhya Pradesh. The most meritorious act that a pilgrim can perform is to walk from the sea to the source of the river and back along the opposite bank. This pilgrimage takes from one to two years to accomplish.


  • Narmada river is considered next only to river Ganga in terms of holiness
  • Narmada is one of very ancient rivers and as per Hindu mythology it is flowing from 7 Kalpas
  • Naturally formed smooth stones called Banas are found in Narmada which are worshipped as Shivalingas.
  • Brihadeeswara Temple in Thanjavur of Tamil Nadu, temple constructed by Rajaraja Chola is one of the biggest Bana Shivalingas
  • Adi shankaracharya met his guru Govinda Bhagavatpada on the banks of river Narmada
  • Chalukya emperor Pulakeshin II defeated emperor Harshavardhana of Kanuaj on the banks of Narmada river
  • Narmada river along with Vindhya range of mountains formed a sort of boundary between northern India (mainly the Gangetic Planes) and Southern India (The Deccan Plateau)


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