It was a cool sunny day in Jabalpur and I was ambling around near Dhuandhar (the misty waterfall) on the Narmada River. In India, life often revolves around the rivers and the water is considered holy for purification of self. It is a common sight to watch people taking a holy dip before and after a worship ritual. Often, children are seen playing around in water in the hope of collecting the coins that are offered by the pilgrims and more often than not it is a game of challenge to identify the swiftest among themselves. I sat on a rock, watching them prance around in the water with hawk like looks not to miss a single coin and then dry themselves around a fire made from paper and dried coconut rind. A young one who was new to the process asked me to throw one just for him while the others were away so that he could get his spoil for the day.
A short distance away, the effervescent Narmada in Dhuandhar slowly finds its way through the Marble Rocks on either side. We were on a boat ride through the high cliffs when a young boy not more than 10 or 12 years shouted out from the top that he was ready to jump straight into the river if someone offered him 10 Rupees (Indian Currency) Before, I could realize, my friend offered him the currency note and as the note floated down towards the cliff, he plunged down into the river from the top. I gasped for breath! I wonder whether it is the carefree call of childhood that drives them to perform such an act or to fulfill the basic needs of life !!
Travel Tip: Dhuandhar and Marble Rocks are a part of the Bhedaghat area in Jabalpur located about 28 kms from the town centre. If you are travelling to Bandhavgarh or Kanha National Park via Jabalpur, do take a detour for a few hours to visit these places. Jabalpur is connected by air to Delhi and by rail to all major cities in India