Whatever we tell you, however detailed a description we give, it won't do justice to the body of water that flows from the Amarkantak plateau to Arabian sea, the river we call Narmada. Hinduism sees it as one of the seven most sacred rivers in India, and in fact, most wisdom traditions around the world draw inspiration from rivers and their behavior.
Come stand on the banks of the Narmada, and whatever your faith, you might momentarily be inspired to carry out the Narmada parikrama, a two to three year process of travelling by foot up one entire bank of the river and down the other. For the time being, see how far this spell carries you; put one foot in front of the other and see how far they take you; take in the colorful riverside, the temples, ashrams, bathing sites and warm-hearted people; listen deeply for the river's voice as it tumbles home to the sea, washing humanity clean of its borders, divisions and short-sightedness.
Narmada as a mythological being, called Ma (Mother) Narmada by her devotees, means "one who endows bliss". She is believed to have been born from Shiva's sweat as he danced his tandava, and so is referred to as his daughter.
The Narmada river from source to sea is 1312 km long, the largest in Gujarat, and the fifth largest in India. It is often seen as the boundary between North and South India. It originates in the Amarkantak plateau, where the Vindhya and Saptura mountain ranges meet, and continues southwest across the state of Madhya Pradesh, along the northern border of Maharashtra, and then winds through the Gujarati districts Narmada, Vadodara, and Bharuch, before emptying at the city of Bharuch into the Arabian sea through the Gulf of Khambat (Cambay).
How to get there
By road: The Narmada river runs through Narmada district, along the border of Vadodara district, and through Bharuch district, emptying near the city of Bharuch into the sea. There are various sites along the way, and therefore various ways to visit the river. Bharuch, Rajpipla, Chanod, and Dabhoi are accessible by buses. The Sardar Sarovar dam site can be reached by private vehicle.
By rail: Bharuch is the nearest railway station.
By air: The closest airport is at Vadodara.