Scientifically rivers are termed as watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing naturally and meeting to Oceans, Lakes or some may get dry at their end. They are an important part of the hydrological cycle on earth. Covering only 0.1 % of the landscape on Earth but considered major feature of the human civilization as many cities and human colonies are developed on the banks of river and are still flourishing from the benefits of river water. They play a significant role in the lives of individuals as they mainly provides consumable water, water for industries, water for irrigation, modest route for transportation, etc., and this aids in giving countless employment opportunities.

In Hinduism Rivers are not only considered as a source of basic needs but here we are praising them as Goddess. Not only rivers but certain spots on the shore are considered sacred too (like Varanasi on the bank of river Ganga). Words are not enough to give justice to the purity and sacredness of those river bodies. Many rituals are associated with the river water which itself signifies the sacredness of those rivers and thus they are also called as "Holy rivers", like bathing in the river Ganga is considered to purify the sins of bathers. There are many small and big rivers in India but out of them 7 are considered to be the most sacred among all.

Mythology has many stories about the origin of the river. One suggesting that once Lord Shiva was lost in penance so hard that he started perspiring and started sweating, which started flowing in the form river called as Narmada. Another fable suggest that Narmada is originated from the sweat of Lord Shiva during his famous Tandava dance. One more story indicates that once the Lord Brahma, creator of the Universe, had 2 tear drops from his eyes which converted in to rivers Narmada and Brahmaputra. There is a famous saying in Hindi for the river Narmada, " नर्मदा के कंकर उतने शंकर ", which means all the pebbles that roll in the flow of river gets carved in to the personalized shape of Lord Shiva.

River system in India is made of 7 major rivers along with their countless tributaries and all of them originates from either of the 3 major watersheds namely The Himalayan and the Karakoram ranges or Vindhya and Satpura ranges and Chotanagpur plateau in central India or Sahyadri / Western Ghats in western parts India. Moreover they are classified into 4 major groups like The Himalayan Rivers, The Deccan Rivers, The Coastal rivers and Rivers of the Inland drainage basin. The 7 holy rivers of India are Ganga from North India, Yamuna which meets Ganga in the North, Godavari from South India, Sarasvati which is an underground river, Narmada from Central India, Sindhu-the Indus which in now in Pakistan and Kaveri from South India.

Narmada, called as "Maa" (Mother) by individuals devoting her, is a Sanskrit word which means "the one who bestows bliss and tender feelings in others." Narmada River is the fifth largest river in the world and the largest river in Gujarat. Narmada River is also known as Rewa or Nerbudda. It is the part of Peninsula India and runs from east to west to the length of 1312 kilometers and is the only main stream in India which flows among the fracture valley amongst the mountain ranges of the Vindhya and the Satpura. It marks the traditional demarcation between the North and the South India. It originates from a small Narmada kund in the Amarkantak Hills located in Madhya Pradesh state from an altitude of 1080 meters and flows through the state of Gujarat and Maharashtra before depleting through the Gulf of Khambhat into the Arabian sea about 30 kilometers from west of Bharuch city of Gujarat. The absolute bowl region of the stream is 97,410 km2 that has 85,858 km2 in Madhya Pradesh, 1658 km2 in Maharashtra and 9894 km2in Gujarat. The waste territory up to dam site is 88,000 km2. The usage of Narmada River bowl today is not really about 10 %. Therefore water of the Narmada keep on streaming to the ocean uninterrupted. The normal yearly precipitation for the river bowl comes out to be 1178 mm out of which about 60 % of precipitation is during the months of July and August.

Narmada being the largest river constitutes of around 30 major, 135 medium and 3000 minor dam projects also with many long canals. It includes Narmada dam which famous by name of Sardar Sarovar Dam, one of the top 5 largest dams in India. The idea of harnessing the river water for irrigation was initiated in the year 1946, but the foundation stone was laid by Late. Pandit Jawarhal Nehru in the year 1961. But due to major dispute about sharing the water between Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh the final award was granted in the year 1979. This dam is the 3rd largest concrete dam in India followed by Bhakra dam of Himachal Pradesh and Lakhwar dam in Uttar Pradesh. Dam produces a high amount of energy and is the major source of power which is shared in the ratio of 57: 27: 16 :: Madhya Pradesh : Maharashtra : Gujarat respectively.

Features of Main Canal are as follow

Parameter Features
Main Dam 1210 meter long, 163 meter high
Reservoir's live storage capacity 4.75 million acre feet
Irrigation provided 1.905 Hector
Potable water supplied Villages : 9490 and towns : 173
Hydropower Annually around 1000 million kWh
Full Supply Level 300 feet
Extending to the length (Gujarat-Rajasthan Border) 458.138 kilometers
Full Supply Death 7.60 meters
Numbers of Branches for Distribution System 38
Length of distribution system network 74626.00 km
Cultural Command Area for distribution 18.45 lakh hectares

Today the pride of India, world's tallest statue (182 meters) named as "Statue of Unity" is built near the shore of the Narmada dam in the Kevadiya Colony. The serenity of the ambience is mesmerizing that it has become one of the most visited tourist places in just a year of its opening. The glory of Shree Vallabhbhai Patel's figure and the gigantism of the dam facing each other leaves everyone visiting it spell bounded. It wa a visionary idea of our great Prime Minister Shree Narendra Modi, which was laid in the year 2010, its built was started in 2013 and completed in 2018. It is built to commemorate the great leadership of Shree Vallabhbhai Patel in uniting the 552 Indian States to form a single Indian Union.

Another famous dam like Sardar Sarovar Dam there is an Omkareshwar Dam built on the river Narmada in the region of Mandhata situated in Khandawa District of Madhya Pradesh. It has been named so because of its location near the famous Omkareshwar temple. It was built in the year 2007 with an aim to provide irrigation of around 132,000 hectares and also has a hydro-electric plant of 520 MW capacity situated at it base. The major feature of this dam is that it is a Gravity Concrete Dam of around 949 meters length and with height of 53 meters.

But as there's a saying that "Rome wasn't built in a day", all those beautiful sculptures on and by the river were not a simple task. It involves years of hard work, dedication, resources, man power, perseverance and patience. There were many ups and downs which lagged the building of the dam. One of the famous movement was "Narmada Bachao Movement (NBA)" started in the year 1985 under the leadership of Medha Patkar and Bab Amte, recipient of Right Livelihood Award in the year 1991 for the movement. The main reason behind the movement was the politics and injustice happened to the tribal and nearby communities as they were not aware about the exact plan and features of the project and were just tempted by the rehabilitation offer. The leaders went to site and had deep study about the pros and cons of the project and finally concluded that the project was not beneficial and gave the reason of "non-fulfillment of basic environmental conditions and the lack of completion of crucial studies and plans". This andolan (movement) lasted too long and include a vast number of court sessions, fasts, hunger strikes, hearings, rallies and gatherings, etc. After a long fight they were succeeded and finally the verdict was in their support which led to immediate stoppage of the project and focused mainly on the rehabilitation procedure.

So Narmada River has a long history which is interesting and substantial. Today it has become not only the major source of potable water, irrigation and hydropower but also a major place for tourism hence benefiting the individuals for their basic need like food, water, shelter and employment.

Jai Maa "Narmada".