Mostly North Indians participate in Narmada Parikrama | There are many temples and ashrams to visit during Parikrama
According to the Skanda Puranam, if we take bath in Yamuna river seven times, in Saraswathi river three times and in Ganga river one time our sins will be purified. But we get purified just by watching Narmada river.
South Indians does not know much about the Narmada Parikrama. Mostly North Indians participate in this Parikrama. Narmada Parikrama starts at Ujjain. Tourists can visit Ujjain Mahakaleswar, Omkareswar and other temples around.
A priest in the Yamakeswar temple ties a Deeksha Kankan to the hands of the devotees. Thus the Narmada Parikrama starts.
Markandeya undertook this Parikrama for the first time. Earlier sages, saints and sanyasis used to undertake this Parikrama. During the Parikrama, one should not wear chappal. Should not carry money. Only a pair of clothes should be carried. The occasional villages enroute provide food for the devotees.
Narmada river originated at Kantak in Madhya Pradesh, it travels for 1312kms and discharges in to the Arabian Sea. This flows from east to west. The total distance covered during parikrama is 2,600kms.
The journey can be continued watching the beauty of Vindhya mountain ranges. There is an ashram at a village called ‘Prakash’ and the first halt in the journey can be made here. After entering in to Gujarat, devotees can stay at ‘Ramduni Ashram’ at Jagadi village. The firs bath in River Narmada can be taken here. The day before devotees visit the place where Narmada River meets Arabian Sea, they are advised to sleep in a room which has no windows or doors.
The place where Narmada meets Arabian Sea is called ‘Bay of Cambay’. There is a bridge on the Narmada River. The river can also be crossed on a boat. After travelling for 6 hours on the boat, one can reach Katpuri in Baroch district. From there the devotees can reach Mittitalai village. There is a Jain ashram in this village. There is also a temple for Narmada Devi and Lord Shiva. Pavgadi, the next village in the Parikrama route has a Mahankali temple. Rope-way facility is provided to climb the mountain. From there 300 steps are to be climbed to reach the temple. Next, the Parikrama enters Madhya Pradesh. Devotees can see the Sarovar Dam, a fort built by Akbar in Neelakanta and a temple of Lord Shiva. Shivaji’s mother used to worship Shiva in this temple. In Maheshwaram, Ahalyabai Fort is a worth seeing place. Maheshwaram is famous for saris.
Waterfalls at Jabalpur looks like small Niagara falls. Jabalpur is full of marble hills. Many decorative articles made in marble are available here. Devotees can visit the kundam where birth of river Narmada took place. This place is at Amar Kantak. There are a temple dedicated to Narmada Devi, Shiva and other small temples here. Mrithyunjaya Ashram here provides accommodation for the devotees. There are a big statue of Narmada Devi and Jhansibai.
There are many ancient temples at Amar Kantak. There is also a temple built by Shankaracharya in 8th century. There is also a Shiva temple, on the last Monday of Kartika masam River Narmada touches the Lingam of Shiva for an hour in this temple. Many devotees throng this place to watch this phenomenon.
Narmada Parkrama starts at Madhya Pradesh, enters Maharashtra and Gujarath and reaches Omkareswar in Madhya Pradesh again. After taking bath a priest removes the Kankan tied to the hands of devotees. Narmada Parikrama is completed by worshipping Lord Yamakeswar.