Places of Interest
Holy City & Destination Point Amarkantak
The town of Amarkantak lies in the newly created district of Anuppur, in Madhya Pradesh. It is situated on the Maikal mountain range which links the Vindhyachal and Satpura mountain ranges, at about 1067 meters above mean sea level. The population of the town as per 2001 census is around 7000. Many mythological stories relating to Lord Shiva and his daughter Narmada have been woven around this mystical town of Amarkantak. Amarkantak is known primarily as a religious place. The holy rivers Narmada and Soneoriginate from here. Another important river Johilla, too originates from Amarkantak. There are about 12 temples here devoted to Narmada maiyya. The Narmada temple is the most important one, which has been built around the origin point of the river Narmada. The Bhonsles of Nagpur built this temple. Maharaja Gulab Singh belonging to the Baghel dynasty of Rewa constructed the outer boundary wall of the temple complex. The Kalchuris constructed the Machendranath and the Patleshwar temple at Amarkantak. The Archaelogical Survey of India has declared this group of temples (Karna matha temples) a protected site. A few years ago,an idol was stolen from this protected site, which was recovered later; however, since then, the ASI has shifted the idol from this temple .The religious significance of this town has attracted people from various sects and religions and as a consequence, many ashrams of various sadhu-mahatamas have come up in Amarkantak over the years.
Besides attracting devotees of all sorts due to its religious importance, Amarkantak, because of its picturesque/rustic location, rich vegetation and moderate climatic conditions, attracts many tourists from nearby areas. The temperature of Amarkantak varies from 25 degree centigrade to -2 degree centigrade around the year. The period from the month of July to the month of September can be termed as the rainy season. Due to its beautiful locale and pleasant climate, Amarkantak has vast potential of being developed as a hill station attracting tourists of all kinds.
Amarkantak is known primarily for its religious importance. The various places of tourist attraction are as follows:
- Narmada Mandir (group of temples)
Narmdeshwar temple which has a holy kund made at the source of river Narmada is the most important temple at Amarkantak. There are about twenty small temples in the premises of the Narmada Mandir each one of which is important in its own way. There is the Sati temple, which is, devoted to Parvati. The protected site of the ASI is close to the main Narmada temple .
- Mai Ka Bagiya
About one Km. from the main temple, there is a garden, which lies in a densely forested area. It is popularly believed that the Narmada devi used to pluck flowers in this garden.
The point of origin of the Sone river. It is also a sunrise point.
It is around 3 Kms. from Amarkantak on a difficult forest trek route. It is believed that Bhrigu Rishi meditated here. The Parasvinayak and Chandi caves are on this route.
- Kabir Chabutra
Saint Kabir spent time here in meditation.
- Jwaleshwar Mahadev
The origin of river Johilla. There is a temple deep in the forest ofJwaleshwar Mahadev . There is a ‘sunset point’ close to this temple.
At a distance of 8 Kms.from the origin of riverNarmada, the river falls from a height of 100 feet creating a waterfall known as Kapildhara. It is believed that the Kapil rishi meditated here.
At a distance of 1 Km. from Kapildhara there is another beautiful waterfall on the river Narmada called Dudhdhara.
- Shambhudhara & Durgadhara
Two other extremely beautiful waterfalls are situated deep in the forest. One has to walk a few Kms. to see these breathtaking waterfalls.
- Sarvodya Jain Temple
This temple is under construction.It is considered a construction marvel. Cement and iron have not been used in this temple and the weight of the idol to be placed in the temple is around 24 Tones.
Besides these regularly visited sites, all roads from Amarkantak within 3 Km radius are excellent trekking routes where one can behold the beauty of nature in its breathtakingly untouched form.
The diverse mix of habitats in Bandhavgarh supports a corresponding plentitude of fauna. Its luxuriantly rich ecosystem provides amply for everyone – from the tiny butterflies to the majestic tigers. The park has earned a worldwide reputation for tigers and their unusually high density here is a pleasant surprise for wildlife lovers.
According to bio-geographic classification, the park area lies in the zone 6A-Deccan peninsula, Central highlands. The important prey species consists of chital, sambhar, barking deer, nilgai, chinkara, wild pig, chowsingha, langur and rhesus macaque.
Dependent upon them are the major predators like tiger, leopard, wild dog, wolf and jackal. The lesser predators are fox, jungle cat, ratel, palm civet, and mongoose. Besides them, other mammalians present are sloth bear, porcupine, Indian Pangolin, variety of bats including the giant fruit bat, Indian tree shrew, and many other species of rodents. The avifauna is also well represented. More than 250 species of birds have been recorded with the park.
The raptors are mainly represented by crested serpent eagle, shaheen falcon, bonnelli’s eagle, shikra, marsh and hen harriers
There is a good population of malabar pied hornbill, particularly in the fort and its vicinity. Peafowls, painted and grey partridge, red jungle fowl, sarus crane, lesser adjutant stork, large racket tailed drongo, brown fish owl, paradise flycatcher, green pigeon are quite common here.
Bandhavgarh, with its abundance of streams, marshes, woodland edges and wild flowers, is a paradise for butterflies. Over 70 species have been recorded here which include the common rose, blue tiger, striped tiger, great eggfly, common crow, common and mottled emigrant, spot swordtail, peacock pansy and orange oakleaf. Water pools and marshlands are the abode of dragonflies and damselflies.
Legend has it that Lord Rama bequeathed the fort to his brother Laxmana, hence the name “Bandhavgarh” which means brother’s fort. At the base of the fort is the monolithic statue of Lord Vishnu reclining on the seven hooded snake, known as Sheshshaiyya . Statues of all the incarnations of Lord Vishnu can be seen in the fort area. The fort is surrounded by 32 man-made caves which have inscriptions, carvings and paintings.
Bandhavgarh area was the favourite hunting reserve of ex-rules of Rewa State, hence it remained completely protected from poaching and illicit felling. After abolition of States, degradation of this area started. Deeply soared from this situation, late Maharaja Martand Singh of Rewa prevailed upon the M.P. Government to declare an area of 105 sq. km. as National park in 1968. Area of the park was extended to 448.84 sq.km. in 1982 and in 1993 it was declared a Tiger Reserve under Project Tiger.
The altitude of the area varies from 440m. to 811m. above mean sea level. The rock is feldspathic sandstone that soaks rainwater and releases it through springs that feed many perennial streams and lead to the creation of marshes in the low lying meadows.
The major streams of the park are Charanganga, Dammar, Janad and Umrar.
The forest falls within the tropical moist deciduous belt, dominated by sal and bamboo which form varying mixtures with each other and other usual associates like Saja, Dhawara, Arjun, Mahua, Achar, Amla, etc. Depending upon rock, soil type, slope and moisture. Intermingling grasslands, locally known as “baheras” provide good habitat for herbivores and hunting cover for predators.
Entrance to the park is from Tala, A small village on Umaria-Rewa state highway. Private transport buses are available from Umaria (32 km.), Amarpatan (80km.), Shahdol (102km.) and Rewa (105km.) to reach Tala. Nearest railway stations are Umaria (32km.), Jabalpur (164km.), Katni (92km.) and Satna (120km.). Jabalpur (164km.) and Khajuraho (237km.) are the nearest airport.
There is a four room Forest Rest House at Tala. Four tents of Forest Department are also available at a very reasonable rate.
A Guide and a permit is must on all excursions into the park. Guides are available at entrance gate. Excursion on foot are not permitted. The park is open for tourist from October to June.
There is a Virateshwar temple of Lord Shiv in Sohagpur Vanganga. Kalchuri King Maharaja Yuvraj Deva had got it built between 950 A.D. and 1050 A.D. to present it to the Acharya of Golkaki Math. Many Archaeologists consider this temple as the temple of Karn Deva. When you reach the campus of this 70 feet hight temple you will find this beautiful example of Kalchuri Age architecture. When you ascend the five steps of the terrace of this temple, you will find Nandi and Lion as if welcoming you. The statue of Mahavir, Shiv and Parvati in dancing posture, the statue of Saraswati, Ganesh, Vishnu, Nrisingh, Vyal, beautiful young woman taking out a thorn, fighting men, Lord Krishna playing flute, beautiful erotic postures related to Kamsutra, Vinavadini, Ardhnarishwar will fascinate you. Having the statues of AgniDevata, Panchlokpal, Batuk Bhairav, Amrut Bhairav, Nag Couple etc. this temple is the beauty of District.