Maheshwar was a glorious city at the dawn of Indian
civilisation when it was Mahishmati, capital of King Kartivarjun. This
temple town on the banks of the river Narmada finds mention in the epics
of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Revived to its ancient position of importance
by the Holkar queen Rani Ahilyabai of Indore. Maheshwar's temples and
mighty fort-complex stand in quiet beauty, mirrored in the river below.
What to See
Rajgaddi and Rajwada
A life-size statue of Rani Ahilyabai sits on a throne in the Rajgaddi within the Fort Complex. This is the right place to begin a tour of Maheshwar, for this pious and wise queen was the architect of its revived importance. Other fascinating relice and heir looms of the Holkar dynasty can be seen in other rooms which are open to the public. Within the complex is an exquisite, small shrine which is the starting point of the ancient Dussehra ceremony which is the starting point of the ancient Dussehra ceremony which is the starting point of the ancient Dussehra ceremony which is carried out even today. The image on this day is installed reverently in a splendid palanquin and carried down the steep fort road to the town below to receive the yearly homage of the people of Maheshwar.
Peshwar Ghat, Fanase Ghat and Ahilya Ghat line the river Narmada, flights of steps lead down from the sandy banks of the river, and through the day a kaleidoscope of rural Indian can be seen here, in the pilgrims and holy men who sit here in the ferry loads of villagers who cross and recross these surging waters. Lining the blanks, too, are poignant memorials in stone to the satis of Maheshwar, who perished on the funeral pyres of their husbands.
With their soaring spires, the many - tiered temples of Maheshwar are distingushed by their carved overhanging balconies and their intricately worked doorways. Temples to see are : Kaleshwar; Rajarajeshwara, Vithaleshwara and Ahileshwar.
Introduced into Maheshwar 250 years ago by Rani Ahilyabai, the sarees are renowned throughtout India for their unique weave. Woven mostly in cotton, the typical Maheshwari saree has a plain body and sometimes stripes or checks in several variations. The mat border designs have a wide range in leaf and floral patterns. The pallu is particularly distinctive with five stripes, three coloured and two white alternating, running along its width. Maheshwari has a reversible border, known as bugdi.
How to Reach
By Air : Nearest airport in Indore (91 km), connected with Mumbai, Delhi, Bhopal and Gwalior.
By Rail : Nearest railheads are Barwaha (39 km), Khandwa (110 km), Indore (91 km) and Mhow on the Western Railway.
By Road : Regular buses are available from Barwaha, Khandwa, Dhar and Dhamnod.
Best Season : July to March.
Where to Stay
Ahilya Trust Guest House, PWD Rest House.
Dharamashalas and Lodges.