MARVELS of Central India

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The marble rocks that wall the Narmada river at Bhedaghat, the voluptuous Dhuandhar waterfall and an ancient Chausath Yogini temple make Jabalpur an important transit town in Madhya Pradesh

The marble rocks of Bhedaghat gained prominence after the release of 2001 Bollywood film – Asoka and later with the Hrithik Roshan-starrer Mohenjo Daro (2016). There is something unique and ancient about this off-beat destination which attracts filmmakers who are making period dramas. The giant marble rocks soar up to hundred feet on the either side of the tranquil Narmada river. Just 30 kilometers away from Jabalpur, is Bhedaghat, the dramatic Dhuandhar falls and the ancient temples in the vicinity.

One can take a shared boat ride which promises you a journey through the majestic pre-historic rocky outcrops of Bhedaghat and the surreal landscapes. For as far as your eyes can see, the rocks and river blend seamlessly into one another, complementing each other’s existence.

There are different kinds of rock found in the landscape. The rocks one finds here come in many hues like blue, white, pink and black. The passage is sometimes broad and at other times narrow. Rich in fossils, the Narmada valley is known for ghats where egg shells of dinosaurs have been found by the scientists. Rich in marine life, the river attracts birds of all kinds making it a place bursting with biodiversity. On a full moon night, the boat ride through the same terrain is spellbinding.

DHUANDHAR WATERFALL

Dhuan stands for smoke while Dhar means flow. As the name suggests, the voluptuous flow of the waterfall gives rise to water vapours result in a smoky phenomenon. The serene Narmada river, which snaked its way through the outcrops of Bhedaghat, takes on a violent form as it cascades down a gigantic waterfall.

One is usually gobsmacked by the sheer scale of the waterfall. The force of the cascading water falling from a height of 100 ft is so strong that onlookers get drenched by the water droplets despite the huge distance between the waterfall and viewing point. The cable cars which run atop the Dhuandhar waterfall offer the tourists a bird’s eye view of the place. The region is also known for its soft marble artifacts. One can find shops selling unique artifacts such as masks, lamps, Shivalingas, idols of gods and goddesses, incense sticks holder, jewellery boxes and even ashtrays.

CHAUSATH YOGINI TEMPLE

Not far away from the falls is the famous Chausath Yogini Temple. As the name suggests, the temple has large statues of 64 yoginis displayed in all the directions of a temple in the middle of the courtyard. In India, Tibet and Nepal, a yogini represents a female master practitioner of Yoga or modern enlightened female spiritual teacher as per Hinduism and Buddhism. Boasting of a circular structure of an inner diameter of 116 feet and an outer diameter of 131 feet, it is the largest Chausath Yogini Temple in India. The other 3 Chausath Yogini Temples in India are in Hirapur and Ranipur (Both in Odisha) and Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh).

Perched atop a hillock, the 10th century temple is accessed by a steep stairway. The temple belonged to the era of Kalachuri rulers. Similar to the structure of temples of Khajuraho, it was built with local granite. Dedicated to goddess Durga, the temple precincts offers panoramic views of Narmada flowing around it.

Text: & Photos : Abhinav Singh

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