Digital Dimdima
-By Jayanthi Mahalingam
Down to the sea
The Narmada in Gujarat
A Hill With A View
The Monuments Of Mandu
An Ancient City
An Island In The River
Beyond Hoshangabad
Steeped In Legends
Narmadey Har
The Cult of Thuggee
The Splendour of Marble Rocks
Original Inhabitants
The World Of Verrier Elwin
Tribal Queen
The Jewel Of Kanha
The Narmada In Mythology

 

A Hill With A View

The Satpura range is to the south of Mandu. The highest peak on the range is Chulgiri, which is 641metres high. Chulgiri is famous for its statue of Adinatha, the first Jain Tirthankara. The statue, hewn out of the rocky mountain, is 25.6 metres high or 52 Ďgajsí - a gaj is the local term for a handspan and hence the statue is also called Bavangajaji. The locals believe that itís been in existence for over 3000 years but records show that it was constructed some time in the 15th century.
According to a Digambara legend, it was on this peak that Ravanaís younger brother Kumbhakarna, and son Indrajit accepted the teachings of Jainism, renounced violence and attained salvation.
There are several temples on top of Chulgiri. The most famous is the one that has a pair of footprints carved out of black rock in its sanctum sanctorum. It is flanked by two small footprints. Eight hundred steps lead to the temple. Palanquins are available for the elderly and for those who donít want to climb.
The view of the Narmada from Chulgiri is breathtaking. The river is so narrow as it flows through the Hiranphal gorge, between the Satpuras and the Vindhyas that a deer can leap across its banks with ease. Pilgrims and parikramavasis have sculpted shivalingas on either side of its rocky banks.
The forests of Taloda and Shahada, south of the Narmada valley in northwest Maharashtra, were in the news a few years ago in 1997, when a Forest Spotted Owlet, thought to be extinct, was discovered there. A shy diurnal bird, it has spots on its head and bands on its wings. It inhabits dry deciduous forests that are close to river valleys. With the Taloda forest being clear-felled to serve as a rehabilitation site for the people displaced by the Sardar Sarovar Dam, the birds stand to lose their habitat.
The 1210-m long Sardar Sarovar Dam is on the Narmada River in Gujarat state, 170 kilometres upstream from where the river flows into the Gulf of Khambhat, in the Arabian Sea. It is named after Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, independent Indiaís first home minister who hailed from Gujarat. It was his most cherished dream to harness the waters of the Narmada River to bring prosperity to the people of the western region.
The project, when completed, will benefit people in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, the four states implementing it. The foundation stone for the project was laid by Pt. Nehru on 5 April, 1961 but work began only in 1987.


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