After entering Gujarat, Narmada travels through several cities of Gujarat. Narmada has also been in news since 1980s due to the construction of Sardar Sarovar Dam – one of the largest dams built in the world. The dam construction has been opposed by several Non-Governmental Organizations(NGOs) across India. This is because of the dam’s construction being responsible for displacement of thousands of people in the region. Although they were compensated for their lands and hardships they had to face, no one likes to get uprooted from their native lands. We resume our journey with Narmada till its meets the Arabian sea.
Narmada travels through Narmada District, Bharuch, Rajpipla & Ankaleshwar.
Lets move ahead and visit these places.
Narmada District: Narmada District is known primarily for Sardar Sarovar Dam. The 1.2 Km long and 163 meter deep dam is one of the largest dams in the world.
The dam’s output power is shared among 3 states – Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra & Gujarat. The dam’s construction has witnessed several protests and demonstrations by social workers demanding the rights of displaced tribal. Social workers like Medha Patkar & Baba Amte have contributed significantly to the movement of ‘Narmada Bachao Andolan’ (Save Narmada Movement). Later they were joined by Arundhati Roy(Writer), Rahul Ram(Musician) & Aamir Khan(Actor).
Naramda District is also famous for Statue of Unity – A statue of an Indian Statesmen Sardar Vallab bhai Patel . The recently constructed statue has been talk of the town for being the highest status in the world. Sardar Vallabh Bhai patel , owing to his dedication towards complete unification of India after the independence from British rule, earned him a sobriquet – “Iron man of India”.
Moving on from the Narmada District :
Moving on from Narmada District, we reach Bharuch. This is our last stop before Narmada reaches its destination. And Bharuch is an apt pit stop before be conclude the journey at the Arabian Sea. Bharuch is a historical sea port. It also has a Golden Bridge of historical importance. The Golden Bridge was constructed by Britishers to stay connected with Mumbai(then Bombay) another port. Its one of the oldest examples of engineering in India constructed during British times.
Considered as a sacred place by sages of India, Bharuch was famous among religious practitioners across India. It is also a sacred teerth (teerth – sacred site visited by people) for believers of Jainism. It has also been mentioned in Jataka tales of Buddhism. Bharuch has been under constant attack by various invaders and it has resurged every time. It has been attacked and taken down by Marathas, Mughals, Portuguese & British. However, after every attack the city bounces back ! There is a local saying about Bharuch – “Bhangyu Bhangyu Toye Bharuch”, which translates to “Although battered and shattered at by the tidal waves of time, it is still Bharuch”.
Below are a few pictures from Bharuch’s multi cultural past.
Another interesting place in bharuch is one of the oldest libraries in Western India. It has a collection of over 200,000 books. Its called Deepchand Roychand library. Started in 1885, named after a cotton merchant from Surat , this library draws attention of many book lovers and historians. We got a few pictures from a symposium that was held in the library. Image Courtesy : Darshak Itihas Nidhi, knowledge.hypotheses.org
Bharuch has a history. A history of commerce, invasion and resurgence. When they say Gujaratis are pro at business, it is actually a tribute to the cities like Bharuch in Gujarat. You can feel the vibe in the city !
Narmada is going to meet the Arabian Sea soon.
Its a journey that has taken a couple of thousands of miles.
Several highs and several lows.
Dams and Districts.
Tribes and Tigers.
Taboos and Tattoos.
Smiles and Smiles.
Gulf of Khambhat is around the City of Cambay or Khambhat. A gulf is “a deep inlet of the sea almost surrounded by land, with a narrow mouth.”.
Khambhat or Cambay was a princely state during British times. It was formed by the penultimate Nawab of the Mughal Empire Mirza Ja‘far Mu’min Khan I.
This region of Cambay is also the southernmost region of Harappa Civilization. It still has an old practice of agate stone beads making which is supposed to have originated during the Harappa civilization. A couple of photographs from the Gulf of Khambhat before we bid adieu to the river as it merges with the Arabian Sea.
And a video shot by Harsh Goutam and available on Harsh Goutam Photography youtube channel.