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  • Writer's pictureYogesh Kardile

Narmade Har ! worshipping the river

Updated: Jan 23, 2022

World's most unique pilgrimage that consists encircling a sacred river. A river that is considered the marking line of Northern and Southern Bharat. A river on whose bank countless Yogis still meditate in various forms. A river where an immortal being from Mahabharata war "Chiranjivi " known as Ashwathama still roams. A tradition more than 2000 years old and 3500kms long.

A devotee coming from a neighbouring village to offer saree to the river.

World’s most unique pilgrimage to circumbulate a river 3500 kms and keep her on your right hand side. Isn’t it interesting ! The reward is of course unique. The start of the pilgrimage is with worshipping a girl child, then leaving everything back except the bare necessary things and wearing white clothing. You leave behind even your your name and chant only one mantra Narmade Har !

We are fortunate to visit Maheshwar couple of times. And each time was like a calming experience. While being there we have encountered lot of sages, pilgrims who were embarked on Narmada Parikrama. We saw the same in Omkareshwar and Mandu. Also we have heard a lot about Parikrama in the past. So here we would like to share our experiences through images and this blog with you.

This travel is indeed unique in the world. Those who return from the Parikrama are changed for sure.

The one who decided to do this needs to be called by the Mother herself. This is what we believe. If Mother Narmada calls you it will happen. One of the most arduous and beautiful experience it is and for the same resolve is needed. Where you will eat, sleep is not known to you but you will get it for sure. You will receive help even into the most desolate place, from farmer, tribal or sometime Mother Narmada herself will come in front of you as a girl child. There are lot of stories of pilgrims of getting sudden help from nowhere. After all she is the daughter of Lord shiva. Sprung out of him in the form of his sweat.

This sacred land that is heart of the Bharat is actually demarked by herself. One her north side is Uttar Bharat and the south side is Dakshin Bharat. She is one of the Sapta Sindhu and loved by the Yogis and devotees as a mother. Rishi Markandeya is supposed to have done his Tapas, Rishi Muchkund and countless sages who are still here in Prakat ( visible ) and Adrishya swarup ( invisible form ). That’s why the person who walk on this sacred land consider every pebble sacred and follows rigorous discipline.

A devotee doing his daily ritual of offering pure milk to Mother Narmada.

We have seen kids, youngsters and older generations walking this pilgrimage. What was so surprising was that the smile on their face, the feeling of contentment. People here seems innocent and always extend their hands. Their love towards the river can be seen from someone who comes to offer pure milk, other one comes in the night to perform Aarti and light the diva. Someone feeds fishes in it. Everyone do the service in their own way and returns happily. The surprising fact we noticed that a group of women performing Pooja and then offering a coconut and saree to the mother. The sacred feminine is worshipped in the form of the girl child, river and the feeling of safety was in our entire stay from Maheshwar to Omkareshwar.

Parikramavasi who are encircling the river making a stop at Maheshwar.

When we read news about something bad happening in our nation the mind becomes scared to wander into the Northern Bharat. But what the media do not show the heart and soul of it. Until there are people who feeds humans and cows. Until there are people who will give shelter to a pilgrim without asking his name. I believe the world has a hope. And none other than this nation who can truly show the path of humanity and environment friendly practices. Our perspective needs to be changed so the returning to the good practices is critical. And for the same travelling is must.

Until we experience it first hand how can we comment on anything ?

A cute girl sporting a smile.

Maheshwar is a place of the sacred feminine and the land of Shiva. Queen Ahilyadevi who shaped this place and saved the whole nation’s heritage was ruling from here. No wonder this whole place has a vibe that must be experienced at least for two days in your life. Morning on the bank of Mother Narmada and evenings are nothing short of divine. That’s why our ancestors used to visit places by the river. We are a civilisation flourished by the rivers. We are Sapt Sindhu people.

A place which fills the calmness in your mind. A place where you connect with your soul. Narmade Har!

A lady watching the grand river flowing below.

Daily chores by the Maheshwar Ghat.

A devotee doing morning prayer and rituals.

Beautiful stone sculpture carved on the temple walls.

Grand Shiva temple in Maheshwar fort area.

Grand Shiva temple in Maheshwar fort area.

A Parikramavasi from Maharashtra.

A Parikramavasi from Maharashtra.

A Parikramavasi from Gujrat.

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