KHANDWA: Madhya Pradesh hosts India’s biggest water carnival, the Jal Mahotsav. The third edition of the festival concluded on January 2, 2018.
The Jal Mahotsav is organised every year in Hanuwantiya in the state’s Madhya Dweep islands – touted to become the country’s first aqua city in the near future. Hanuwantiya is located in the backwater of Indira Sagar Dam on Narmada River. Blessed with clear skies and azure waters, the entire region is spread over 955 sq km and is home to 119 islands, Madhya Dweep.
In recent years, the government has been developing this unexplored territory to promote aqua tourism, the first of its kind in the state. Facilities for water sports and aqua safaris have been introduced at Hanuwantiya, with similar plans for the islands of Sailani and Boriyamal.
Furthermore, Cottages, Swiss-style camping tents and houseboats have also been made available for tourists. Every year in October, the island transforms into a tent-city that hosts the Jal Mahotsav for eighty days
Visitors can take part in adventure activities on land, air, or water – everything from parasailing and water zorbing to hot air ballooning and All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) racing. Other water activities include jet skiing, surfing, motor boating, snorkelling, scuba diving, jet skiing etc. Incorporating elements of eco-tourism into Jal Mahotsav, birdwatching expeditions, night camping in the wilderness and forest treks have also been introduced at Hanuwantiya and its neighbouring islands.
Moreover, regular cultural performances are held at the festival grounds, with colourful folk dances and foot-tapping music livening up the atmosphere.
With the target of creating India’s first aqua city in mind, the state government now plans to develop similar facilities at other islands of Madhya Dweep through a PPP model. To ensure that the destination remains sustainable over a long-term, efforts will be taken to make the region plastic-free.