Narmada River

Route Map of River Narmada

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Route Map of River Narmada
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*Route map of river Narmada along with its tributaries. Disclaimer
The Narmada is one of the most famous Rivers of India . It creates the conventional border between South India and North India. The river runs to the west for a span of 1,312 km (815.2 miles) prior to flowing through the Gulf of Khambat (Cambey) into the Arabian Sea, at a distance of 18.6 miles or 30 km west of the Bharuch city in Gujarat. Also known as Rewa, it is a major River in Central India

About Narmada River

Similar to the Mahi River and the Tapti River, the Narmada River is a river flowing from east to west. It is the biggest flowing river to the west. The Narmada River is the only river in India, which runs in a rift valley running west amid the Vindhya and Satpura Mountain Ranges despite the fact that the Mahi and Tapti River run through rift valleys but amid other mountain ranges. It runs through the states of Madhya Pradesh (1,077 km (669.2 mi)), Maharashtra, (74 km (46.0 mi))- (35 km (21.7 mi)) boundary of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra and (39 km (24.2 mi) boundary of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat and in Gujarat (161 km (100.0 mi)).

During the British rule, the river was known as the Narbada or Nerbudda. According to the Periplus Maris Erythraei (circa 80 CE), the river is named as the Nammadus. In Sanskrit Language, Narmada stands for "the Giver of Pleasure".

Itinerary of Narmada River

The origin of the river is a tiny reservoir named as Narmada Kund, which is situated on the Amarkantak Hill in Anuppur District of East Madhya Pradesh at an elevation of 1,057 m (3,467.8 ft). The river moves down from the Amarkantak range at the Kapildhara waterfalls on top of a steep rocky formation and rambles in the mountains, running in a winding itinerary through the islands and boulders. The river moves on till the destroyed fortress of Ramnagar arrives. In the middle of Mandla and Ramnagar, (25 km or 15.5 miles) more southeast, the itinerary is relatively direct with unfathomable water free of stony impediments. The Banger meets it from the left. The Narmada River subsequently flows to the northeast in a thin circle in the direction of Jabalpur. Near this city, following a drop of about 9 meters or 29.5 feet, known as the Dhuandhara (the fall of mist), the river runs for 3 km or 1.9 miles in a thin deep watercourse over the basalt stones and magnesium limestone, known as the Marble Rocks. From a breadth of around 90 meters (295.3 feet) over, the river is constricted in this watercourse of only 18 meters or 59.1 feet. Further than this area till the confluence with the Arabian Sea, the river penetrates three slender basins amid the Vindhyan escarpments to the north and the Satpura Mountain Range to the south. The southern stretch of the basin is broader at majority of the places. The three segments of the basin are segregated by the narrowly advancing row of the escarpments and the Satpura ranges.

Coming out from the Marble Rocks, the Narmada River penetrates its initial productive valley, which stretches for around 320 km (198.8 miles), with a mean breadth of 21.7 miles or 35 km to the south. To the north, the basin is restricted to the Barna-Bareli terrain, finishing at Barkhara hills in front of Hoshangabad. Nevertheless, the hills once more retreat in the Kannod terrains. The riverbanks are around 12 meters or 39.4 feet tall. A number of the major tributaries of Narmada meet it in the first basin, coming from the south. They carry the waters of the northern sides of the Satpura Mountains. Some of the important tributaries of the Narmada River are as follows:

Tributaries in the south

  • The Shakkar
  • The Sher
  • The Tawa (longest tributary)
  • The Dudhi
  • The Ganjal
Tributaries in the north

  • The Barna
  • The Hiran
  • The Karam
  • The Choral
  • The Lohar
Beneath Nemawar and Handia till Hiran waterfall (also known as the deer's leap), the river is bordered by hills from either sides, and in this span, the nature of the river is diversified. The holy island of Omkareshwar, famous for the Lord Shiva Temple, is the most significant river island in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Initially, the drop is swift and the torrent, speeding up in rapidity, runs over an obstacle of stones. The Cauvery and the Sikta meet it beneath the Khandwa terrain. At two places, at Dadrai, 40 km (24.9 miles), more downward close to Punasa, and Mandhar, around 40 km (24.9 miles), beneath Nemawar, the river plunges over an elevation of approximately 12 meters (39.4 feet).

One or two kilometers additionally downward in the vicinity of Bareli and the passage ghat of the Agra to Mumbai Road, NH-3, the river moves into the Mandleshwar terrain, the second drainage area with a length of around 180 km (111.8 miles) and width of 65 km (40.4 miles) to the south. The northern stretch of the valley is just 25 km or 15.5 miles. The second segment of the valley is split only by the Saheshwar Dhara waterfall. The initial itinerary of around 125 km or 77.7 miles till the Markari falls is joined by a series of torrents and waterfalls from the high plateau of Malwa to the low altitudes of Gujarat plateau. To the west of this valley, the mountains are quite near but shortly they decline.

Beneath Makrai, the river runs between the Narmada district and Vadodara district and subsequently rambles across the resourceful terrain of Bharuch district in Gujarat. The riverbanks are elevated amid the levels of previous alluvial deposits, solidified earth, sand and fragments of nodular sedimentary rocks. The breadth of the river varies from around 1.5 km or 0.9 miles at Makrai to 3 km or 1.9 miles close to Bharuch and to an estuary of 13 miles or 21 km at the Gulf of Cambey. A previous watercourse of the river, which is 1 km to 2 km (0.6 miles to 1.2 miles) south from the current one, is quite prominent beneath Bharuch. The Orsing and the Karanjan are the major tributaries in the original itinerary. The Orsing meets the river at Vyas and the Karanjan meets at Rundh in Vadodara district of Gujarat, facing each other and creating a Triveni (meeting point of three rivers) on the Narmada. The Bhukhi and Amaravati are the other important tributaries of the river. Just facing the mouth of the Bhukhi is a big coast, known as Kadaria Bet or Alia Bet.

The tidal wave is measured up to 19.9 miles or 32 km over Bharuch, where the neap tide surges to around one meter and spring tide surges to 3.5 meters (11.5 feet). The river is passable for ships of the load of 95 tonnes (that is equivalent to 380 Bombay Candies) till Bharuch and for ships till 35 tonnes (140 Bombay Candies) till Ghangdia or Shamlapitha. The tiny ships (10 tonnes) trip till Tilakawada in Gujarat. You will find stretches of shallow water and sand banks at the mouth of the river and Bharuch. The adjoining island of Kabirvad in the river has an enormous Banyan Tree, which encompasses 10,000 sq m or 2.5 acres.

Narmada Basin

The catchment area of the river, bordered by the Satpura and Vindhya Mountain Ranges, stretches over a territory of 98,796 km2 (38,145.3 sq mi). It is situated between longitudes 72°32' and 81°45' east and latitudes 21°20' to 23°45' north, on the northern edge of the Deccan Plateau. The catchment area encompasses important regions in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Maharashtra.

The catchment area features five distinct geological areas and they are as follows:

(1) The upper mountainous regions encompassing the districts of Mandla, Shahdol, Balaghat, Durg, and Seoni
(2) The upper terrains encompassing the districts of Narsimhapur, Jabalpur, Damoh, Sagar, Hoshangabad, Chhindwara, Raisen, Betul, and Sehore
(3) The central terrains encompassing a portion of west Nimar, the districts of East Nimar, Indore, Dewas, and Dhar
(4) The lower mountainous regions including portions of the west Nimar, Dhulia, Jhabua, Narmada, and portions of Vadodara
(5) The lower terrains encompassing mostly the districts of Bharuch, Narmada, and portions of Vadodara.

The mountainous areas are quite woody. The entire catchment area mostly comprises black soils.

Religious importance

The Narmada River is one of the five holiest rivers in India and the other four are the Ganges, Godavari, Yamuna, and Kaveri. It is assumed that a dip in any of these rivers will help you get rid of your wrongdoings. In mythology, it is stated that the Narmada is older than the Ganga. The Mahabharat, the Ramayana, and the Puranas mention about the Narmada quite often.

The Brihadeeswara Temple in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, built by Rajaraja Chola, features one of the largest Banalingas. Adi Shankaracharya met Govinda Bhagavatpada, his guru on the riverbanks of Narmada.

Major temples and ghats on the banks of the river include the following:

(a) The Amarkantak (Neck of Shiva in Sanskrit language) or Teerathraj (the King of Pilgrimages)
(b) Maheshwar, Omkareshwar, Mahadeo temples, and Nemawar Siddeshwar Mandir in the central portion of the river - all have derived their names from Lord Shiva
(c) Chaubis Avatar temple
(d) Chausath Yogini (sixty four yoginis) temple
(e) Bhrigu Rishi temple and Bhojpur Shiva temple in Bharuch

Prominent tourist attractions on Narmada Riverbanks

Given below are the names of the prominent tourist attractions lying on the banks of the river:

  • Barwani
  • Jabalpur
  • Harda
  • Hoshangabad,
  • Omkareshwar
  • Narmada Nagar
  • Dewas (Kity, Nemavar, Pipri)
  • Maheshwar and Mandla in Madhya Pradesh
  • Bharuch and Rajpipla in Gujarat

Some places of historical attraction are Chhatri of Baji Rao Peshwa, Joga Ka Quilla, and Bhimbetka (anthropological site). Prominent waterfalls include -Dhardi falls, Dugdhdhara, Dhuandhara, Bheraghat, Sahastradhara, and Kapiladhara.

Forests and sanctuaries on Narmada

You will find the following types of flora in the region:

  • Hardwood forests
  • Dry deciduous forests
  • Scrubs
  • Diospyros melanoxylon
  • Dhaora (Anogeissus latifolia), [Terminalia tomentosa, Lagerstroemia parviflora, Hardwickia binata, Lannea coromandelica, and Boswellia serrata.]
  • Syzygium cumini (Jambul)
  • Terminalia arjuna
  • Salix tetrasperma
  • Syzygium heyneanum
  • Vitex negundo
  • Homonoia riparia

Usually, the following species of fauna are noticed on the riverbanks:
  • Leopard
  • Tiger
  • Chital
  • Sambar
  • Nilgai
  • Bhedki
  • Chinkara
  • Four-horned antelope
  • Wild boar
  • Bison (gour)
  • Bear
  • Wild dog
  • Fox
  • Black buck
  • Flying squirrel
  • Porcupine
  • Indian joint squirrel
  • Mouse deer

The ecoregion houses more than 76 categories of mammals and 276 categories of birds and all of them are migrant birds. Peafowl and hornbills are frequently seen.

National parks like Kanha National Park, Satpura National Park, and Mandla Plant Fossil National Park are important tourist attractions in the area. Bori Sanctuary and Pachmarhi Sanctuary are also popular areas to visit. There are biospheres and natural reserves like the Bagh Caves, Amarkantak, and Bhedaghat.

Last Updated on : March 13, 2020