It was wedding season and a big gang of us were visiting the city of Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh for a fun wedding. North Indian weddings are usually in the evenings leaving the day free, with the main wedding going on till wee hours in the morning. We reached a day before the wedding after a long train journey from Mumbai to Jabalpur. After a night of partying at the Sangeet a day prior to the wedding, we decided to visit the nearby Bheda Ghat and see the river Narmada.
I haven’t seen many great rivers in India and was happy to have this occasion to see a river I only read about in my geography books. True that I have seen the Ganges, and the Yamuna, and the Mithi river in Mumbai but to me they looked like a nullahs and rivers of garbage rather than pure water! This visit of the Narmada river allowed me to see what one of India’s biggest rivers truly looked like.
And am I glad we made this trip however sleep deprived we may have been! Bheda Ghat is a mere 20-25 kms from the main city of Jabalpur and has several impressive places to see. The Bheda ghat is home to the impressive Dhuandhar falls, which I thought was a miniature version of the Niagara falls. The river Narmada that powers tourism and the economy offers a boatride with breathtaking views.
The Dhuadhar falls, is a popular tourist spot that sees the mighty Narmada pouring down gallons of water as it pounds away at rocks bringing forth a mist bringing about the name ‘Dhuadhar’ or ‘Smoky’. Stand there to hear the gushing of the water on one side and the steady rippling on the other side. Here are a few photos of the falls.
To get a more scenic view of the falls and the valley and shots of the snaking river making its way in a ribbon take the cable car that crosses the river. It costs a mere Rs 75 and offers truly breathtaking views and stunning photo-ops.
On the way to the river, we were tempted by the gazillion hawkers hawking their ware on the edge of the river bed. Their wares consisted of chiefly chisled marble rock ware etching various designs to carve your names in stone, marble jewelry and other marble products. Marble is very easily sourced from this region and the people here ‘etch’ out a living out of the Marble available in this region. Although hawkers dot the landscape leading up to the falls, there is a bigger market on the hill leading to the cable car with more genuine vendors with better quality (I hope) stock. We bought one of the marble etchings, but alas!, it broke when we unpacked it back home. Well, and this is where I warn you to examine your purchase carefully to see if it is genuine or not. I strongly suspect that the ‘marble’ sold at many vendors is more of Plaster of Paris instead of Marble – mine had a powdery texture and was easy to break.
The market up the hill has a variety of souvenirs and products you can take back home. Like every ubiquitous market in a tourist spot, in addition to the marble specialty stores, there are stores to buy toys, hats, food items, mobile accessories, and hawkers selling cooling cucumbers and bhel-puri! Marble figurines of several deities, Marble Shiv lingas are commonly available in a large variety of sizes from a pocket size to a mammoth size. The humble Mortar-Pestle in marble, marble jewelry, can also be bought at cheap prices. It is funny to see the same few products in exactly the same design such as the name etched frames available so rampantly. It was almost as though they were Made in China in bulk! I wish these hard working workmen were a little more innovative and sold different designs and products such as photo frames instead of just selling what everyone else did. Here are some pictures of the interesting market.
Next..The Ethereal Boat Ride on the Narmada