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Narmada from Mandu through ASI telescope

CAN ONE see the Narmada from a vantage point of Mandu, especially the Rani Roopmati pavillion, 26 kms away from the river? Is the stretch, which appears like a long white serpent, a mirage?

india Updated: Oct 18, 2006 18:30 IST

CAN ONE see the Narmada from a vantage point of Mandu, especially the Rani Roopmati pavillion, 26 kms away from the river? Is the stretch, which appears like a long white serpent, a mirage?

All such questions will soon be answered when the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) installs a telescope making viewing the flowing river possible.

Tourists and local residents alike can now view the silvery line. People all along believed that the white line they saw was the river. Some argued that to be an illusion even when seen from the top of Rani Roopmati pavilion, the highest point of the Mandu plateau.

Legend has it that Rani Roopmati used to begin her day only after a ‘darshan’ of the river. According to Pandit Somnath, a resident of Mandu Roopmati, the daughter of Dharmapuri zamindar Than Singh, was an exponent of classical music from her childhood. She had great command on dhrupad, raga Sarang and raga Basant. Roopmati became a legend for her rendition of raga Basant.

Roopmati, according to local folklore, was inspired by the Narmada, which she worshipped. The pavillion was constructed by Mandu ruler Baaz Bahadur so as to enable Roopmati to come to his court to sing.  The monument there after was came to be known as Rani Roopmati Pavilion.

Pandit Somnath, however, admit that there are contradictions regarding the visibility of the real Narmada from Rani Roopmati palace due to the limitation of human eyes.

According to Mhow-based ophthalmologist and eye surgeon Dr N D Tonpey the farthest a healthy human eye can see was about four to six kilometers, and that too if it was a tall structure.

“When we stand at a higher altitude, we feel a water body like thing at the end of our sight, which is either due to mirage or misty conditions,” he says.

But, with the initiative of the ASI Mandu circle to instal a long-range telescope at the Roopmati Pavilion, people will ‘actually’ be able to view the river and other monuments and sites in and around Mandu.

According to ASI sources it would cost Rs 1.50 lakh of which Rs 80,000 will be spent on procuring telescope. The construction of the base and a transparent base will cost Rs 70,000.

The cost will be recovered by charging Rs 5 for each ‘darshan’. The telescope is likely to be installed by this week. ASI’s official guide and writer of ‘Mandu Darshan’ Vishwanath Tiwari told Hindustan Times that a telescope was a long pending demand of the tourists and the pilgrims of ‘Narmada parikrama.’