Home > FAM (Familiarization) Tour, General, Madhya Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh FAM > Omkareswar, Narmada River Boating

Omkareswar, Narmada River Boating


Narmada River Boating

Also see: Familiarization (FAM) Tour of Madhya Pradesh (MP)

Omkareshwar is a river island located in the middle of the Narmada River roughly at the mid point of its source in Amarkantak and its sea mouth in Baruch. The island measures 4 km in length and 2 km in breadth and houses two lofty hills.

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Boating in Narmada River, with Omkereshwar Island in the Background, Omkereshwar, Madhya Pradesh

When viewed from the top it appears to form the sacred Hindu symbol of Om and hence the name Omkareshwar. A sacred Hindu pilgrimage it houses one of the 12 Jyotirlingas and plays an important role in Narmada Parikrama, a pilgrimage consisting of a arduous trek along the bank of the Narmada River.

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The older suspension bridge and the new

Every day thousand of pilgrims, along with a host of tourist, visit Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga Temple and to ease the traffic there are two bridges connecting the island with the main land.

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Gomukh Ghat, main land Omkareshwar

Two bridges connect the southern bank of Narmada to the Omkareshwar Island. The concrete cantilevered bridge with its graceful arch dates back to 1979 and is on the western side.

To cope up with the ever increasing number of pilgrims and tourist the authorities built a second bridge in 2003.

It is located 100 meter east of the old bridge. The 235 meter long suspension bridge facilitates the movement of the pilgrims during the major festivals.

In spite of the two bridges the most preferred entry to the island is by boat. Both the mainland and the islands has numerous ghats with an assortments of colourfull boats ferrying passengers and pilgrims across and even along the river.

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Ghat beneath Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga Temple, Omkareshwar Island, Madhya Pradesh (MP)

Gomukh Ghat, on the main land is the most prominent ghat for a boat trip to the Omkareshwar Island. The ghat on the island, which is just across lies at the foot of Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga Temple.

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One of the ghats of Omkareshwar

Pilgrims at Omkareshwar perform the parikrama, which consisting of walking along the cost of the island.

On the other hand the tourists can circumnavigate the island on the boat. This aquatic parikrama is subjected to water levels, as numerous dams along the Narmada River are responsible for the changing water levels.

Sadly during our visit the water level was too low for the parikrama. But there was a shorter boat ride covering the southern edge of the island.

As the Narmada flows in two branches forming the island of Omkareshwar. The branch on the north is narrower and is navigable during high water, while the broader south branch is navigable almost all times.

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My friend Soumya captures the beauty of Narmada, Omkareshwar

So after the visit to the temples we took a motor powered boat ride along the southern branch of Narmada in Omkareshwar.

First we headed westwards and went past the arched concrete bridge. Both side of the river, were lined with innumerable ghats with host of pilgrims performing various Hindu religious rituals.

We came across a large group, the male members with their shaven heads, were probably performing the last rites of a dead relative.

Just after crossing the concrete bridge we took a U turn and headed eastward and headed towards the suspension bridge.

Omkaresshwar Pano

View from the Omkareshwar Island, Narmada River, Madhya Pradesh (MP)

We sailed beyond the suspension bridge and straight ahead was a giant dam spanning across the river preventing us from proceeding any further. So we again took a U trun and finished our boat trip at the Gomukh Ghat on the main land.

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Narmada River and Omkareshwar Island on left, Madhya Pradesh (MP)

Note: This trip was part of a FAM (Familiarization) trip of Hanuwantiya (Jal Mahotsav), Omkareshwar, Maheshwar and Mandu. Special Thanks to:

  • Abhijit Dhar, Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (MPTDC), Kolkata
  • My fellow FAM participants Uttara Gangopadhyay, Soumya Mukherjee amd Ishandev Chatterjee
  1. May 8, 2019 at 7:20 PM

    We recently visited Omkareshwar temple and it was a wonderful experience. I enjoyed boating there, also participated in the holy dip of the Narmada river.

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