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Magnificent Shulpani hills of Narmada Parikrama

Excerpts from the book of Vivek ji: Narmada Parikrama -Walking the 3,000 kilometres of sacred Riverbanks of holy Narmada

Shulpani hills
Vivek ji in Shulpani hills

Shulpani villages nestled in the midst of dense forests and towering mountains. The houses are scattered far apart, with several kilometres of walking distance between them.You could walk from house to house all day and still not reach the end of this village. Inquiring about the name of the village we had departed from six hours prior, its appellation still lingered on our tongues.

While walking under the scorching sun, we came across a place where there was no shade on the mountain. However, we found a small tree and decided to gather around it and rest for a while. From that spot, I was able to observe my surroundings. The view of Mother Narmada was breathtaking, with a visibility of several kilometres in the range. The mountains resembled ocean waves, and the terrain was an endless expanse of hills with small houses scattered throughout the area. I expressed a desire to stay overnight, however, the other individuals were hesitant due to the lack of prior arrangements made for accommodations. During our conversation, a farmer who did not speak Hindi, Marathi, or any other language approached us to offer water. Although we already had water, we appreciated his humility and kindness in offering us water that he had fetched from a distant location. I engaged in conversation with him and utilised nonverbal communication to convey my thoughts. Upon conclusion, we provided the gentleman's family with sarees, t-shirts, and other miscellaneous items. This is what one would find throughout Shulpani. Throughout the entire afternoon, we did not encounter any individuals except for one person. This emphasises the individual experience of walking without the presence of a group.

A significant number of parikramavasis opt to traverse the roads that are situated at a considerable distance, while only a handful choose to journey towards Shulpani due to the challenging terrain and the scarcity of amenities and rest stops. However, I made a conscious decision to embark on the latter route as I desired to be in close proximity to Mother Narmada and follow the path that has been taken for centuries before. Earlier in the plan, the organising committee had not discussed this route, and its alteration came as an unexpected development. Consequently, it became apparent that any aspect of the plan could be subject to change, and thus, it was imperative to remain prepared for any eventualities. As a result, the team made a conscious effort to be ready for any changes that might arise on a daily basis. During this period, we adhered to our regular routine, but gradually began to exceed our expected timeline. Many Parikramavasis express apprehension regarding potential delays while traversing through the Shulpani forests. However, I maintain that those who embark on this journey are bestowed with the divine blessings of Mother Narmada, which serves as a motivating force for them to continue. This is precisely what occurred with our team.

Excerpts from the book of Vivek ji: Narmada Parikrama -Walking the 3,000 kilometres of sacred Riverbanks of holy Narmada


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