This is also the place the Narmada River originates.
The presiding Deity of River Ganges visits this place, as the Legends would have it.
This photo of Bhrigu Kamandal is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Amarkantak, on the western edge of ancient Kingdom of Kalinga, is a place of worship for all the three worlds. Gods and Gandharvas (celestial beings), Asuras (demons), Saints and sages have achieved great spiritual powers here. It is believed that who ever dies at Amarkantak is assured a place in heaven. If a woman makes offerings of fruits and flowers, she will gain the respect of her husband, and no doubt she will achieve a place in heaven.
When Lord Shiva destroyed Tripura (the three cities) by fire, the ashes of one fell upon mount Kailash, the ashes of another fell upon Amarkantak, and the ashes of the third were saved by Lord Shiva and kept in heaven. The ashes that fell upon Amarkantak turned into crores of Shivalingas. Only one is visible at Jwaleshwar in Amarkantak.
Legend has it that Lord Shiva blessed Narmada with unique purifying powers.
Whereas to purify himself, a devotee requires to take one dip in the Holy Ganga, seven days’ prayers on the banks of Yamuna and three days prayers on the banks of Saraswati, the mere sight of Narmada is enough.
A charming folk tale describes the superiority of Narmada over Ganga.
Once every year, after she herself is polluted beyond tolerance, Ganga visits Narmada dressed like a dark woman and takes a cleansing purifying dip in its waters!
There are other rivers too, popular, romantic and life sustaining, each glamourized in the folk lore and history but none can match the mystique of Narmada.
Amarkantak is a Sanskrit word the literal meaning of which is immortal (amar) obstruction (kantak). The place was abode of gods but was disturbed by the hindrances of Rudraganas and hence called Amarkantak. The poet Kalidas has mentioned it as Amrakoot, which later became Amarkantak. Myth is that the dense forests of this region were full of mango (amra) trees”.
Amarkantak and rivers originating from it do not find mention in Vedic literature, but they have been mentioned in Puranas, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Vashishtha samhita and “Shatapatha Brahmana”. After Mahabharata the history of about 3000 years is in dark. Professor Arjun Chaube Kashyap concludes that the Puranic name of Amarkantak was Riksh parvat. About 6000 years back the Suryavanshi samrat Mandhata founded a town in the valley Riksh parvat and named it Mandhata. The queen of samrat Purukutsa, who was son of Mandhata, gave the title of Narmada to the river. Due to occupation of this area by Mandhata the descendants of Yayati moved from this area to west of Madhya Pradesh and settled on the banks of Narmada River.
According to tradition, this Vindhyachal area was included in the Kingdom of Ayodhya, Kapila Muni, Bhrigu Rishi and Markandeya Rishi had ashrams here. It is said that Pandavas stayed here and gained spiritual benefits during their exile.
After about 3000 years of Mahabharata the Adi Shankarachrya was born in 788 AD and consecrated on the banks of Narmada River. He founded Pataleshwar Mahadev in Amarkantak at the origin of Narmada from the bamboo clumps. This place is known as Surajkund today. There are no bamboo clumps now.
How to Reach:
Nearest airports are Jabalpur (228 km.) and Raipur (230 km).
The nearest rail head is Pendra Road (42 km) on the Katni – Bilaspur section of the South-Eastern Railway.
Amarkantak is connected by regular bus service with Shahdol, Umaria, Jabalpur, Rewa, Bilaspur, Anuppur and Pendra Road.
- All About Narmada (essentialthinkers.wordpress.com)