60 of the Narmada’s 101 tributaries have gone dry or become seasonal. With the Narmada not reaching the ocean many months of the year, the sea is moving in, leading to salinity, soil degradation and losses to industries.
In 2012, several parts of Gujarat moved from drought to flood in just three days, as the Narmada and other rivers flooded. 20,000 people had to be rescued from 141 flood-affected villages. Ironically, as some parts of the state were flooded, nearly forty percent of the state remained rain-deficient.
Spiritual & Cultural Significance
Adi Shankara was initiated into sanyas at Omkareshwar, on the banks of the Narmada. Besides the Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga temple, Maheshwar is another important temple along the Narmada.
Every year, devotees perform the Narmada parikrama, a 2600-km yatra or pilgrimage from the source of the Narmada to its mouth at the ocean, and back again.
Some of the oldest cave paintings in the world – over 30,000 years old – are found at the Bhimbetka caves, near the banks of the Narmada.