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Would you believe it if you heard that there is a Grand Canyon even in India? Shocking but true! There actually exists a captivating canyon as beautiful as the Grand Canyon in India. So where is this enchanting place? Is it really like the Grand Canyon?
Located 24 kilometers from the town of Kota, Rajasthan stands one of India’s best kept secrets — Garadia Mahadev, our very own Grand Canyon. The Garadia Mahadev temple is located on a gorge formed by the river Chambal, one of the largest tributary of the Yamuna. Garadia Mahadev is a short detour on NH-76 connecting Chittorgarh to Dabi. Garadia Mahadev gets its name from the archaic Mahadev temple located on the precipitous cliffs created by the gorge of the river Chambal. The river gently chisels through the rugged Malwa plateau carving its own canyon as it meanders its way through Chambal Ghati. Garadia Mahadev has become a major-tourist destination of the sleepy town of Kota. It is the second most popular “Things To Do” in Kota according to the widely used travel web portal – Trip Advisor. The place owes its popularity to an exceptional combination of religious belief and natural splendour. The ancient Garadia Mahadev temple is definitely worth visiting. On most days, you will hear the local priests chanting Shiv Stotra’s in the most picturesque locations that you can imagine. Listening to the powerful hymns while sitting on the cut-outs in the cliff with the backdrop of the gorgeous Chambal gorge is a surreal experience. The beauty of the river Chambal can be experienced in its full glory at Garadia Mahadev. The scenic imagery created by the gorge is truly remarkable. The horse-shoe bend in the crevasses at Garadia Mahadev offers exceptional vistas of the gorge.
Garadia Mahadev is a popular destination for nature enthusiasts, wild-life lovers, college students and the ubiquitous Indian couple in search of “privacy”. Peacocks, monkeys, langurs are the more commonly seen animals. The river itself is very popular among ornithologists. The boating expedition offers a chance to see storks, babblers, falcons and sarus cranes to name a few. Wild life enthusiasts have also reported sighting the gharial crocodile, leopards and jackals on several occasions. Its stunning panorama offers photographers and Instagrammers unparallel images of an unseen and unexplored spectacle of our incredible country. The Chambal River is considered to be one of the cleanest rivers in India. And it owes its current day pristine form to an amazing folklore from the time of the Mahabharata. As the folk tale goes, the Pandavas lost all their wealth and the respect of the lovely Draupadi to their cousins — the Kauravas in a dice game played on the banks of the Chambal River. Draupadi was immensely angered at this humiliation and she cursed the river Chambal for being a silent witness to this shameful incident. Draupadi cursed anyone drinking the waters of the Chambal would be filled with an unappeasable thirst for retribution. Ironically, this curse given thousands of years ago proved to be a boon for the river– protecting its beauty and purity from the damage unfurled by mankind. Unpolluted by the human race, the Chambal remains one of the most pristine rivers of India today.
Garadia Mahadev is definitely worth a half-day visit from Kota. Having a picnic on this spot is a lot of fun. Since infrastructure facilities in terms of food, water and toilets are limited, it is recommended to plan your visit accordingly. Beware of the monkeys, if they see food they are going to get it from you! Also, remember to wear comfortable foot-wear if you want to explore the region. A visit to this hidden gem will keep you wanting to go back again.
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