The town of Amarkantak lies in the newly created district of Anuppur, in Madhya Pradesh. It is situated on the Maikal mountain range which links the Vindhyachal and Satpura mountain ranges, at about 1067 meters above mean sea level. The population of the town as per 2001 census is around 7000. Many mythological stories relating to Lord Shiva and his daughter Narmada have been woven around this mystical town of Amarkantak.
Amarkantak is known primarily as a religious place. The holy rivers Narmada and Soneoriginate from here. Another important river Johilla, too originates from Amarkantak. There are about 12 temples here devoted to Narmada maiyya. The Narmada temple is the most important one, which hasbeen built around the origin point of the river Narmada. The Bhonsles of Nagpur built this temple. Maharaja Gulab Singh belonging to the Baghel dynasty of Rewa constructed the outer boundary wall of the temple complex. The Kalchuris constructed the Machendranath and the Patleshwar temple at Amarkantak. The Archaelogical Survey of India has declared this group of temples (Karna matha temples) a protected site. A few years ago,an idol was stolen from this protected site, which was recovered later; however, since then, the ASI has shifted the idol from this temple .The religious significance of this town has attracted people from various sects and religions and as a consequence, many ashrams of various sadhu-mahatamas have come up in Amarkantak over the years.
Besides attracting devotees of all sorts due to its religious importance, Amarkantak, because of its picturesque/rustic location, rich vegetation and moderate climatic conditions, attracts many tourists from nearby areas. The temperature of Amarkantak varies from 25 degree centigrade to -2 degree centigrade around the year. The period from the month of July to the month of September can be termed as the rainy season. Due to its beautiful locale and pleasant climate, Amarkantak has vast potential of being developed as a hill station attracting tourists of all kinds.
The forests surrounding Amarkantak are home to various invaluable medicinal plants like brahmi, gulbakawali, safedmusli, kalimusli, tejraj, bhojraj, patalkumhna, kali haldi, devraj, hatahjodi, jatashankari, ashta gandha. At present the local vaids use them to make herbal remedies, some of which are well known for their potency .
Amarkantak is 71 Kms. from Anupppur, which is an important railway junction of the South Eastern Central Railway. Amarkantak is at a distance of 320 Kms. from Jabalpur and 265 Kms. from Rewa by road and around 100 Kms. from Shahdol. Jabalpur, Rewa, and Shahdol are all railway stations. The nearest railway station from Amarkantak is Pendra, which is 65 Kms. from Amarkantak. Pendra is in Bilaspur district of Chhatisgarh state. One can also reach Amarkantak by air. There is a permanent helipad at Amarkantak. There is also an airstrip at Lalpur in district Shahdol the specifications of which are at Annexure-1. From Lalpur, one can reach Amarkantak by road. (90 Kms).
The point of origin of the Sone river. It is also a “sunrise” point.
The origin of river Johilla. There is a temple deep in the forest ofJwaleshwar Mahadev. There is a 'sunset point' close to this temple.
At a distance of 8 Kms.from the origin of riverNarmada, the river falls from a height of 100 feet creating a waterfall known as Kapildhara. It is believed that the Kapil rishi meditated here. 9. Shambhudhara & Durgadhara
It is around 3 Kms. from Amarkantak on a difficult forest trek route. It is believed that Bhrigu Rishi meditated here. The Parasvinayak and Chandi caves are on this route.
Saint Kabir spent time here in meditation.
As discussed earlier Amarkantak is known primarily for its religious importance. The various places of tourist attraction are as follows:
Narmdeshwar temple which has a holy kund made at the source of river Narmadais the most important temple at Amarkantak. There are about twenty small temples in the premises of the Narmada Mandir each one of which is important in its own way. There is the Sati temple, which is, devoted to Parvati. The protected site of the ASI is close to the main Narmada temple .
About one Km. from the main temple, there is a garden, which lies in a densely forested area. It is popularly believed that the Narmada devi used to pluck flowers in this garden.
At a distance of 1 Km. from Kapildhara there is another beautiful waterfall on the riverNarmada called Dudhdhara.
Two other extremely beautiful waterfalls are situated deep in the forest. One has to walk a few Kms. to see these breathtaking waterfalls.
This temple is under construction.It is considered a construction marvel. Cement and iron have not been used in this temple and the weight of the idol to be placed in the temple is around 24 Tones.
Besides these regularly visited sites, all roads from Amarkantak within 3 Km radius are excellent trekking routes where one can behold the beauty of nature in its breathtakingly untouched form.
The existing facilities at Amarkantak whether through the government or the private delivery system, are neither in tune with the importance of the place nor adequate to cater to a regular tourist flow. There are a few tourist cottages maintained by the local municipal body. The Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation runs a ' Holiday home' which has ten rooms and two dormitories. There is some accommodation available in the Kalyan and Barfani Ashrams. However, there are no budget/ luxury hotels at Amarkantak for the average/upper market tourists.
Mobile phone services are available in Amarkantak.Mobile operators including BSNL, Reliance Smart have their service presence in Amarkantak. In addition, broadband internet connectivity offered by BSNL is also available in browsing cafes. Thus tourists can avail internet facility in Amarkantak.
The local market place needs to be organized properly. There is also a 'Haat-Bazaar'site coming up where Self Help Groups from all over the district will market rural products produced by them.This has the potential of becoming an important tourist attraction in future.
There is a Bus-Stand that needs a facelift, as many tourists prefer coming to Amarkantak by road.
A temple of Lord Ganesha is located in Baigarh a small village, a few Kilometers from the main road connecting Rajendragam and Amarkantak. An idol of Lord Ganesha blessing the devotees is the sight of divine attraction. The temple is surrounded by forest area with springs of pure water originating from the river Narmada. The temple is located in a landscape of natural beauties and herbals which would offer the devotees a great place for worship and meditation. An Ancient temple, which is said to be built by the Pandav is also situated behind this Ganesha's temple.
Hotels in Anuppur….