So, another one begins...
How grateful I am for being able to write those words but not as much as I was when I finally reached the stillness of the river.
Alright, enough of mysterious lines, let's get on with the experience of visiting Dhuadhar - literal meaning "misty flow". A little dose of geography before we proceed, this awesome place is located near the city of Jabalpur- Madhya Pradesh. The river in the setting here was named the "Narmada" a long-long time ago. The way to reach it - well that's where the fun part begins.
It's easy to reach Jabalpur (if you set your mind to it), it falls on the Western Central Rail Line and has direct connectivity to all the metro cities. Once you can locate yourself in the city now comes the part of locating your next mode of transport, to the spot. There is a vast network of metro-buses in Jabalpur and one of them takes you directly to your destination.
I apologize for not being able to provide you with the exact bus number or route as I took it not from the Railway Station but from the famous Gorakhpur area. From what I know, they are of two types - a smaller and less frequent one takes you all the way to the last dropping point; a bigger and more frequent one takes a longer route and touches down a couple of kilometer away from the visit point. But I can surely warn you that their timings are erratic especially if you plan your visit in wee hours. So one other way is to use the ever present tempo, this will cost you a bit more but will ensure that you reach on time.
Now, answering that nagging question in your mind (why will I go in wee hours?), well because you love rainbows (read on) and because I am going to tell you to. Yes, as your advisor and host in the heart of India I suggest you visit in the following manner-
Summers (Mid March to Mid June) - Early mornings / evenings Monsoons - anytime the downpour and your sensibility permits
(heavy flow in river + mud + slippery rock = ... )
Winters (October - February) - after sunrise, to avoid fog (photography spoilsport)
Speaking of photography, one thing to keep in mind is that the flow of river Narmada is towards the Arabian Sea i.e. towards West and hence, the falls have the waters moving from E to W. For those who hated there Geographies in High School, this means that the sun will be on the wrong (front) side of your lens in the morning. But this is a year round phenomena and hence, the busiest hours are in the evening. So if you are anything like me - avoid evenings. I mean, it will be worth not having a good selfie with the bowl (explained ahead) than not being able to enjoy the beauty and serenity... (Please remember the scenario talks about Indian crowd)
Now coming to the ride itself, well it will be a rickety one especially if you take an old tempo like I did for its slow speed that lets you enjoy the countryside. And believe me, all that noise and bumping will be worth it because the villages passing by with their green fields and colorful lives will also add up to the adventure and give you a different experience.
Once you get down on the spot, you will find yourself high above the actually falls. They will be heard and felt but not seen, so take a moment to stow your anxiousness and relish the sounds and the view of high rising mist because when you return, it won't be there anymore (mystery). The infrastructure built to take you to the falls is sturdy and great, the pathways will lead you to all the possible viewpoints. I suggest that you first visit the actual falls and then move on to different lookouts.
Now coming to the promised explanation, well when you reach the viewing platforms you will appreciate this better but still I will tell you, the falls actually have a semicircular shape and hence the water when collected forms a bowl of seemingly bubbling sprite green water. But don't get so lost in the sight that you don't give the view on your back any chance because then you will miss out the rainbow bridge. Another reason to be there in the morning, the sun from the east sets of an amazing rainbow in the west and it looks like a bridge made to go over to the other side.
From here you can walk upstream and downstream and enjoy two very different phases of the river Narmada. The upstream view has a calm and wide, typical Indian perennial river. The downstream is again a calm flowing river but this time trapped between the ridges of marble rocks on both sides and thus giving you a vantage point to see the entire view. The calmness is experienced when one takes a trek along the river side on the opposite direction of flow. The river bed has rocks and this enables mud-free walk.
Now, what else can I tell you... Oh! You can bath here or dip your toes in if you want. This happens because the viewing platform is at the level of the falls and hence the backwaters form 3 feet deep pool for visitors to enjoy. And when feeling famished, enjoy the snacks at the make-shift stall but be ready to dig deeper in your pockets for it because here, you pay over the MRP to cover the transportation costs. Don't forget to check out the market shops for they offer the best souvenirs. My suggestion? Well, I am glad you asked, here -
Marble antiquities like an elephant, turtle, lion etc. with handcrafts on them Marble items like pen, hair stick etc. Marble-Color painting depicting the scene of fall (though carrying it would be trouble) Rock or Marble beads.
Basically, remember that the specialty is marble, as the rocks here are not your ordinary geography rocks.
For those who fall in love with the place and want to stretch their stay, well there is ropeway leading to the other side of the fall where a hotel cum restaurant awaits you. Again can't tell you more about it because it was not on my list but feel welcome to explore it yourself. And as for me, I went on to visit those marble rocks I told you about, but that's a tale for another time.