The Narmada Valley

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference”, and so said Robert Frost, but if you are the one for the less travelled ways, and if “the road not taken” beckons you then the trip to the Narmada Valley is tailor-made just for your liking.

Set in the heart of “Hindustan ka Dil”, Madhya Pradesh the Narmada Valley is the perfect place for tourists looking for that something different amidst the rugged terrains of Nature. The place provides ample spaces for trekking, rafting, camping and just being in a state of solitude away from the hustle bustle of the city life. The best place to start this trip would be from Khandwa, a major rail junction on the New Delhi-Mumbai rail route. People travelling by air can take a flight to Indore and then taking a bus to Khandwa which is a 145 km journey. One can start by visiting the site for the major Dam projects, The Indira Sagar. From there one can take a bus to Omkareshwar, the site for one of the 12 jyotirlingams in India. Comprising of two soaring hills, divided by a valley in the shape of an “om”, its place of breathtaking beauty. Your next stop should be Maheshwar, which is a 4-5 hour trek from Omkareshawar. The Fort in the city is an important piece of ancient monument in this city. A palace on the grounds has been transferred into a museum for preserving royal artefacts and heirlooms. The beautiful Ghats along the river Narmada are nice places to spend time in meditation and lose yourself in the beauty of the pristine waters of River Narmada. From Omkareshwar there a lot of options to choose from, Panchmarhi, Sanchi, Kanha National Park are all close in vicinity, and tourists have a variety of options to choose from. However as they say in these places, you should let the river dictate the way, just keep going along with it. If you are the one for adventure then it is best if you explore along the river and visit towns like Sonagir, Shivpuri and the likes, all immersed in history and the cultural traditions of our country. The trip can be rounded off by visiting Sanchi, and the Bhimbetaka caves en-route to Bhopal.

Though hotels and rest rooms are easily available in Khandwa, Omkareshwar etc, it would be advisable to keep tenting options handy. It would add to the fun too! It would also be advisable to keep mosquito repellents, and wear full clothes on while on foot. Ready made food would also come in handy. Though it is best to explore the valley on foot, Cars and even motorbikes are easily available on rent for travelling to the main towns. There are regular bus services available too but is important to be a little flexible with the state of these as well as your time and scheduling in general, because in all probability you will end up spending more time in a certain place than you intended to. It is also important be flexible with want of luxuries and you have to at times do with absence of certain essentials, in villages which one must visit and spend a night in.

The best time to visit the valley would be from the months of February to July. It is best advisable to strictly the rainy months as many roads become inaccessible during this time. The best way to enjoy your visit is to first plan for a two-three week long trip, be very flexible, and just basically lose yourself amidst this wonderful land of the Satpura, Vindhyachal and the Narmada. Just give in to the beauty and the rich history that has taken birth along its banks for years, and just being there gives one a beautiful feeling, something that is way beyond the might of words. It would be belittling to put the entire experience to words, so all that can be said is, just pack your bags, and pay the Narmada and its pristine blue waters a visit, to see and experience it for yourself.

This one’s strictly for the adventure-lovers!!!!

Mridul Kumar

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