Types of Narmada Parikrama
for Narmada Parikrama
ancient Hindu knew that walking around sources of positive energy
one with the same positive energy. This is a reason behind the tradition
of doing a Parikrama
of Narmada. Narmada is worshiped as a river deity by Indians throughout
the country but it has a
very special place in the hearts of people inhabiting Central India.
Narmada is perhaps the only
river in the world which is circumambulated in her entire length of
1312 Km. This circumambulation
is called Narmada Parikrama. It is a special kind of river pilgrimage
popular in Central India.
The age old tradition of Narmada Parikrama involves walking alongside
the river Narmada from her
origin at Amarkantak to the sea, crossing to the other side, and then
walking back to its origin. The total
journey in a properly done Parikrama involves a riverside walking
of at least 2624 K.m. in a period of
3 years, 3 months and 13 days. Narmada is the perpetual flow of religious
spiritual consciousness in the heart of India. This great river, historically
much older than even
the great Ganges, is also the hub of Indian culture and rituals. More
often than not, small
groups of Parkammavasi can be seen carrying their belongings with
them while traveling along
Narmada.Narmada Parikrama is also a cultural and traditional manifestation
of devotion to Narmada.
The Parikrama is an adventurous spiritual journey around the sacred
river through hills, dense forests,
gorges, ravines, rocky patches, caves, plateaus and plains. It is
a religious trekking involving visit to
temples, ghats, shrines and villages. It is a form of Tapasya to please
the Maa Narmada who takes cares
and looks after the hardships and needs of all those who undertake
the Parikrama. Narmada is not just a
river to Parkammawasis. She is a living deity to them with whom they
interact and communicate at mental
and spiritual level. Many people claim that the energy levels on the
banks of Narmada are very high.
People doing Narmada Parikrama also claim that their lives have seen
dramatic changes during and after
the Parikrama. It is believed that wishes of a Parikramawasi on the
banks of Narmada are fulfilled and all
their hopes come true. A person having completed Parikrma has a special
respect and honor in the eyes
of Narmada devotees.
Narmada Parikrama is believed
to grant boons to Grihastahs, Siddhis to Sanyasis, peace to troubled
souls, worldly possessions to common people and happiness to all
'Narm-da' - means one that provides
happiness and joy.
of Narmada Parikrama :
Several variants of Narmada Parikrama
have developed over the years. A brief description is as follows:
1. Mundmal Parikrama
the most popular form of Narmada Parikrama. It derives its name
''a garland" as it involves a garlanding journey around Narmada.
Generally commences either at
Amarkantak (the source of Narmada) or at Omkareshwar and after a
keeping Narmada to one's right hand side (Pradakshina) comes to
finish at the point of start. This
Parikrama is an on-foot march involving a riverside walking of at
least 2624 K.m. in a period of 3 years,
3 months and 13 days. Usually people do this Parikrama in small
2. Jalahari Parikrama
of Parikrama derives its name from Jalahari, the yoni shaped seat
Shiva Linga which makes a double channel around the Linga .It is
a journey along both the banks of
Narmada never crossing her. It involves to and fro journey on both
the sides of the river. A
parikramawasi traverses same bank of Narmada twice which amounts
to double the journey compared
to Mundmal Parikrama. It does not involve crossing of Narmada at
the gulf of Cambey or Amarkantak.
form of Parikrama derives its name from God Hanuman. It is a kind
jumping parikrama in which one can cross Narmada as and when desired.
This kind of Parikrama is
popular among tourists.
This is one of the difficult forms of parikrama invoving at least
Namaskaar (Saluting the mother earth in Dandwat -lying face down
prostrate on ground - in reverence
and humility) every day. This is quite testing one and not very
common. Very few people dare this form
It is the most extensive and time-taking form of Narmada Parikrama
a circumambulation not only around Narmada but also around her tributaries.
It owes its name to
Markandeya- the ancient hermit who spent his life near Narmada.
Narmada basin, one should note,
is an elongated strip of land in central India. There are 41 major
tributaries of Narmada of which 19 join
her on right or northern bank whereas 22 join her on the left or
southern bank. Walking and worshiping
around Narmada covering these tributaries can be termed as Markandeya
for Narmada Parikrama:
accepted rules can be summarized as follows:
The Parikrama can be started from any point along the banks of Narmada
to return to the same point
after complete circumambulation. Traditionally Omkareshwar and Amarkantak
have become two more
popular places to commence the Parikrama. One should keep Narmada
to his right side while moving
along the river.
Before commencing, one should worship Narmada and take a
resolution for completing the
Parikrama by arranging a special prayer known as 'Mai ki Kadahi' (meaning
mother's cooking pan)
involving cooking of Halwa, a traditional sweet dish, offering it
to the deity Maa Narmada and distribute it
as Prasad among young girls, saints, priests and guests.
A Parikramawasi should shave the head and beard before starting the
Parikram and should not shave
or cut nails till the Parikrama is complete.
The Parikramawasi should salute and worship Narmada twice
a day. Sometimes the Parikrama route
takes one away from the shore of Narmada because of geographical conditions.
In that case one should
carry Narmada water in a pot or a bottle and offer prayers to it.
One should not use soap oils or perfumes for a bath or for washing
clothes in the waters of Narmada.
One should use the clean soil on the banks of Narmada for cleaning
and washing purposes during
the Parikrama. Spitting or any other act of disrespect towards Narmada
is also not expected.
Parikramawasi should follow bramhacharya (celibacy) and remain
like a Vanprasthi
(Forest dwelling asectic phase of life as per old Ashram system in
Hindu philosophy) during the Parikrama.
One should abstain from lies and wrong deeds, stay quiet, should not
criticize others, and behave with
an attitude of humility towards all during the Parikrama.
A Parikramawasi should walk on the banks of Narmada, should never
cross her, and should not even go
to islands in Narmada. However the tributaries can be crossed once
as it becomes inevitable.
During the Parikrama, one should remain within 5 miles from the river
on the southern banks and within
a distance of 7.5 miles from the river on the northern banks.
A Parikramavasi should walk barefoot, eat whatever food is offered
to him by temples, shrines and
charitable social institutions, drink Narmada water and sleep wherever
he can find shelter. During the
Parikrama one should carry little money and few utensils, accept whatever
food, money or clothes are offered
to him without a sense of greed. During the Parikrama one should not
accept any donation or charity for
Narmada Parikrama is prohibited during Chaturmasa (Four months
of rainy season).
It is suggested that a Parikrawasi should collect Narmada
water in a suitable container from wherever he
begins the Parikrama. This water should be offered at Mai Ki Bagiya
in Amarkantak and fresh water collected
from there, should be then offered at Rewa Sangam, The same process
is repeated at Rewa Sangam where
fresh water is again collected which, after completing the Parikrama
should be offered at the Temple
After completing the Parikrama, one should visit Omkareshwar, worship
and offer Abhishek to God
Shiva and again arrange for 'Mai ki Kadahi' as done in the beginning
of the Parikrama
from the complete circumambulation of Narmada, several smaller Parikramas
'Panchkoshi Parikrama' are also regularly organised in certain segments
of Narmada between Bandrabhan
in Hoshangabad district and Hiranfall in Barwani district. These Panchkoshi
Parikramas are in smaller
circuits and culminate at the point of commencement after a journey
of 5 days. These Parikramas being
simpler and less time taking are more suitable for families and old
people. These Panchkoshi Parikramas
are organized as annual features according to Hindu Calander and Panchang.
is advisable to a Parikramawasi to obtain a Certificate for Narmada
Parikrama from the Nagar Panchayat,
Omkareshwar before starting the journey as it is helpful to prove
identity as a genuine Parikramawasi
on several occasions.