Narmada means ‘Magnificent Mother’. The word ‘nar’ means sweet as in fragrance and ‘matha’ means mother. The holy river Narmada is the embodiment of Goddess Narmada,who like Ganga removes the sins of those who bath in her waters. So holy is Narmada that, to remove all sins of all lifetimes, one must bathe three years in the Saraswati, seven days in the Yamuna, one day in the Ganges, or merely glance at the Narmada.
The legend of river Narmada is related to Hindu God Shiva.Shiva was once meditating at Amarkantak hills when Narmada was formed from his skin. Shiva blessed her with lifelong freedom. Devas (demi-gods) tried to capture her, but she slipped through their hands, taking the form of a river. Narmada is also called Shankari, meaning daughter of Shankar or Shiva. The banks of river Narmada had hermitage of many important sages like Bhrigu, Kapila, and Markandeya. The pebbles at the bed of river Narmada are of the shape of Shiva Lingam, the abstract symbol of Shiva.
Narmada is shown here as four-handed, holding Trishul (trident), Kalash (pot), and Shiva Lingam. She is shown as riding on her animal mount, Crocodile.
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