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

 

Steeped In Legends

Some years ago, a part of a skull, 200,000 years old, was found near Hatnora on the left bank of the river Narmada. It was classified as a Homo Erectus fossil. The Homo Erectus is believed to be a forerunner of modern man. Later it was found that the Narmada fossil represented an individual who had a larger brain than the Homo Erectus. The fossil is now known as the Narmada Man. The Narmada Man lived in the river valley and in the Bhimbetka caves, 150 kilometres away.
The Bhimbetka caves are also home to the largest collection of prehistoric art in India. Over 600 natural rock shelters belonging to the Stone Age have been discovered here. The Pandavas spent some time of their exile in these parts, and Bhima is said to have lived in the caves. Recently the caves were included in UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites.
Before leaving Hoshangabad for Nimawar, the Narmada is joined by Tawa, its longest tributary. The 172-km-long Tawa rises in the Mahadeo Hills in the Chindwara district, flows through Betul and joins the Narmada at Hoshangabad district.
Nimawar’s landmark is the Siddeshwar temple overlooking the river. The honey-coloured spires of the temple dominate the landscape. While the locals believe that it was built by the Pandavas in one night, in reality it was constructed by Raja Bhoja, a great scholar and aesthete, who ruled from Dhar near Mandu.
According to legend, Rishi Jamadagini’s ashram was in this area. Once Kartivir Arjun, the Kalachuri King of Maheshwar, further down the river, was out hunting, when he stopped by to rest at the ashram. The sage was away with his five sons, but his wife Renuka took care of the king’s needs. During his stay at the ashram, the king’s eyes fell on Kamadhenu, the sage’s cow of bounty. Deciding that the cow was better off in the hands of a king rather than a hermit, he took the cow with him when he left. When the sage and his sons returned, they were furious. Jamadagini’s son, Parashurama, rushed to the Kalachuri kingdom and brought back the cow after killing Kartivir Arjun in a battle. In retaliation, the sons of Kartivir Arjun attacked the ashram when Parashuram was away and killed Jamadagini. The story goes that Parashuram in a rage, swore eternal vengeance against all Kshatriyas and fought 21 great battles against them.


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