The Narmada is a river in central India in Indian subcontinent. It forms the traditional boundary between North India and South India, and is a total of 1,289 Kms (801 mi) long. It is one of only three major rivers in pensinsular India that run from east to west, along with the Tapi and the Mahi river.
It is the only river in India that flows in a rift valley. It rises on the summit of Amarkantak Hill in madhya pradesh state, and for the first 320 Kilometres (200 miles) of its course winds among the Mandla Hills, which form the head of the Satpura Range, then at Jabalpur, passing through the 'Marble Rocks', it enters the Narmada Valley between the Vindhya and Satpura ranges, and pursues a direct westerly course to the Gulf of Cambay.
It flows through the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Gujarat, and empties into the Arabian Sea in the Bharuch District of Gujarat. The Narmada Valley is a graben, a layered block of the earth's crust that dropped down relative to the blocks on either side due to ancient spreading of the earth's crust. Two normal faults, known as the Narmada North fault and Narmada South fault, parallel the river's course, and mark the boundary between the Narmada block and the Vindhya and Satpura blocks or horsts which rose relative to the Narmada Graben.
The Narmada's watershed includes the northern slopes of the Satpuras, and the steep southern slope of the Vindhyas, but not the Vindhyan tableland, the streams from which flow into the Ganges and Yamuna. The Narmada valley is considered extremely important for paleontological studies in India. Several dinosaur fossils have been found in the area including Titanosaurus indicus found in 1877 by Richard Lydekker and the recently discovered Rajasaurus narmadensis. The Narmada river is considered extremely holy by Hindus.
It is said that just the sight of the river is enough to wash away all sins. The river has beautiful ghats built on its banks in Hoshangabad. Its longest tributary is the Tawa, which joins the Narmada at Bandra Bhan in Hoshangabad District, Madhya Pradesh. After leaving Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, the river widens out in the fertile district of Bharuch. Below Bharuch city it forms a 20 kilometre wide estuary where it enters the Gulf of Cambay.
The Narmada river is not only used for irrigation, but for navigation. In the rainy season boats of considerable size sail about 100 kilometres above Bharuch city. Seagoing vessels of about 70 tons frequent the port of Bharuch, but they are entirely dependent on the tide.
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