Amarkantak is known as an immense pilgrim centre for the Hindus, and is the origin of the rivers Narmada and Sone. It is situated at the meeting point of the Vindhya and the Satpura mountain ranges amongst sylvan surroundings, at an altitude of 1065 Mts. It is located on the edge of the ancient Kalinga kingdom. The Narmada River flows to the west from Amarkantak whereas the Sone flows towards the East. Amarkantak is a glorified by nature as the holy ponds, elevated hills, the entire forest area, exquisite waterfalls and an ever-so-pleasant air of serenity make this place an indeed a much popular destination for both religious-minded and the nature-lovers. It is also believed that who ever dies at Amarkantak are assured of a place in heaven.
The place was the dwelling of the celestial bodies but was disturbed by the hindrances of evil forces and hence called Amarkantak. Amarkantak is a Sanskrit word which means immortal (amar) and obstruction (kantak). It is believed that the thick forests of this region were full of mango (aam) trees. So the poet Kalidas named it as Amrakoot, which later became Amarkantak.
Among all the sacred rivers of India, The Narmada River occupies a very unique place, among all the sacred rivers of India. There are other rivers, which are as popular, romantic and life sustaining, each glamorized in the folklore and history of India but none of them can match the mystique of Narmada.
Legend says that Lord Shiva blessed Narmada with unique purifying powers. That's why, if any devotee wants to purify himself, then, the mere sight of Narmada is enough. Another charming folk tale describes the superiority of Narmada over Ganga. Once every year, after the Ganga is polluted beyond tolerance, she visits Narmada dressed like a dark woman and takes a cleansing purifying dip in its waters!
Amarkantak is also famous for the Amrkantak Shivratri Mela, which is held annually during the festival of Maha Shivratri. This fair has a reputation of being about 80 years old.
Amarkantak is situated in Anuppur district of Madhya Pradesh in India. Its latitude and longitude are 22°44' North and 81°54' East. The altitude is 1060.70 meters.
and the rivers that originate from it have been mentioned in the
Puranas, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Vashishthasamita and Satpath Brahman.
The Suryavanshi Samrat Mandhata founded a town in the valley "Riksh
Parvat" about 6000 years' back and named it Mandhata. The queen
of Samrat Purukutsa, who was son of Mandhata, gave the title of
Narmada to the river. Due to occupation of this area the descendents
of Yayati moved from this area to west of Madhya Pradesh and settled
on the banks of Narmada River.
According to tradition, this Vindhyachal area was included in the Kingdom of Ayodhya. Various sages like the Kapil Muni, Bhrigu Rishi and Markandeya Rishi had ashrams here. It is also said that Pandavas stayed here and gained spiritual benefits during their exile.
After about 3000 years of Mahabharata the Adi Shankaracharya was born in788 AD and consecrated on the banks of Narmada River. He founded Pataleshwar Mahadev in Amarkantak at the origin of Narmada from the bamboo clumps. This place is known as Surajkund today. There is no bamboo clumps here now.
In the more recent history, this area was given in dowry to the Kalchuri King by the Chedi King (10th to 11th Century AD). The Kalchuri Maharaja Karnadeva (1042-1072 AD) had constructed temples at Surajkund. In 1808 Amarkantak was ruled by the King of Nagpur and later came under foreign rule.
General Information & Accomdation info on Amarkantak city of Madhya Pradesh