Narmada : River of Joy
Author : Amritlal Vegad
ISBN : 978-93-82400-11-0
232 pages | Paperback
About the Book
This is Amritlal Vegad's second book in a remarkable trilogy in which he records his circumambulation of the magnificent Narmada River. Here, the award-winning author and artist continues his compelling account of the 2,624 kilometre journey by foot over a 22 year period.
Blending his keen powers of observation with his artist's eye and irresistible story-telling skills, he unfolds the many moods of the iconic river, the unforgettable scenes and sights along its banks, and the colourful cast of characters he comes across. His vivid narration not only makes the reader his eager travelling companion, but draws attention to a host of intriguing aspects of the journey that a casual traveller might otherwise miss.
The Narmada River is the traditional water boundary between the north and the south of the Indian sub-continent. The fifth-largest river in India, the Narmada flows 1,321 kilometres in the rift formed by the two mountain ranges that run across central India: the Vindhyas to the north, and the Satpuras to the south. Her journey begins in Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh; she then flows westwards via the state of Maharashtra to the coast of Gujarat, west of the city of Bharuch, emptying into the Gulf of Khambat.
From a trickle at the source, the Narmada expands into a mighty 20-kilometre wide body of water at the estuary.
All along her course, the Narmada offers numerous fine vistas, some of them breathtaking in their unspoilt beauty. Her uniqueness lies in the fact that she is the only sacred river in India that is circumambulated (walked around in worship). Legend says that the Narmada never married, and being a virgin, is held to be more scared than even the Ganga, the most important of India's five holiest rivers. The prescribed period for the Narmada parikrama (pilgrimage) is three years, three months and 13 days. The full circuit, up and down the entire length of her banks, is 2,624 kilometres.
Hailed as the eternal Mother, the Narmada is always referred to in the feminine gender. The name 'Narmada' translates into 'Giver of Joy'.