Soaking breathtaking views of Vindhya range on one side and Malwa plateau on the other, while suspending 300 ft in the air, was the highlight of this day. However, every time the gentle breeze rocked me back and forth, I’d get all higgledy-piggledy dangling between adrenaline rush and a feeling of hopeless fear. It was a cloudy morning, and I was inside the newly-launched Cable Car at the Dewas Tekri. A 4-minute, uphill ropeway ride to be remembered for a lifetime! More so, as the brief photo stop of 30-seconds puts life in perspective! Thoughts that stretch beyond the momentarily fear of falling to the rising kingdom of Dewas. Quite soon, the Cable Car began to steer uphill, dragging in slow motion, while flaunting the sweeping aerial views of one of the nine gems of Ujjain.
In the frame, I could get the drift of a low-lying regal town nestled in the lap of flourishing leafage, having its painted homes glaring back at me. Who could have imagined that this historic town, once divided into twin-princely territories, ruled by two descendants of the same royal family, would eventually be crowned as the district headquarters of modern central India? A town located at a merely 30-minute drive distance from Indore, the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh. But before you experience the thrill of heights, let me tell you that the entrance to the Ropeway Ride is just as grand as the former monarchs would have liked it.
The imposing arched entrance, wrapped in a royal maroon shade, redefines grandeur while keeping intact the original Maratha architectural style. Taking delight in appreciating the antiquity of this region, comes for a nominal cost of INR 83 for a one-way ropeway journey. Totally worthwhile and valid! I walked past the ticket counter, only to enter an absolute gorgeous courtyard thriving with well-manicured gardens, a towering structure, and a statue of Mahatama Gandhi in gold.
As for the ‘Cable Cars’ that depart from the 3rd-floor, I had to resort to the elevator, situated right opposite the tower structure. Soon after, the elevator door opened and there I was, reminiscing a sweet nostalgia of Switzerland’s Mount Titlis Rotairs. More so, as the Cable Cars of Dewas bear a strong colour resemblance to the Swiss Cable Cars, shining bright red like the cherry on the top. The very thought of riding it thrilled me to bits! In no time, I saw the red vehicles propelled by a cable loop, approaching the station. A few seconds later, I found myself succumbing to the ‘Whoosh’ sound of the red tramway, a signal of the door opening and that is when I said to myself, let the adventure begin.
This was no ordinary ride! On the other side of the car station, was the gateway to an ancient temple containing a collective source of divine energies. Embarked on the hilltop, Maa Chamunda Temple is MP’s most-visited pilgrimage hot spot for a reason. Note that the localities call it the Hill of the Devi! The exhilaration of touch basing God’s house elevated as the cable-operated railway glided closer to the summit, along a thick, moving rope wire. I couldn’t help but ponder about the influence of the mystical powers of this temple that gave Dewas its name.
Mythologically concurred from two words, Dev plus Vas, Dewas means God’s abode. Upon reaching the hilltop station, stroll through the circular path that links both the Tulja Bhawani (Badi Mata) and the Maa Chamunda (Chhoti Mata) temples. Engage in a conversation with a priest, they will tell you about everything that makes this Tekri (Hill) of great religious importance. On the return journey, I soaked-in uninterrupted aerial views of Dewas from inside this epic piece of engineering.
These Cable Cars, installed by the Madhya Pradesh Government, are the only means of experiencing a 360-degree birds-eye view of this princely state. A district that sees Malwa plateau on its North, and Narmada River on its South. However, during the early reign of the legendary King Vikramaditya and other Maratha rulers, Dewas was assigned under Ujjain as one of its nine gems. Others being Sonkatch, Khategaon, Bagli, Tonk Khurd, Kannod, Satwas, Hatpiplya, and Udaynagar. Nothing has changed, as far as, the territories are concerned. Although, what’s interesting is that renowned novelist EM Forster has mentioned these nine jewels in his book, “A passage to India.”
To conclude the final chapters of his book, EM Forster returned to India in the early 19th-century as Tukojirao III’s private secretary. His book talks about days when each side of Dewas’s streets fell under different administrations of the Puar clan. These Maratha rulers hailing from the same royal family organised separate arrangements for lighting and water supply for their side of the administration. Today, when you peep at those streets from the cable car, you can barely relate to the thought of being ruled by two different administrators.
Irrespective of the divided Monarchism, the Puar clan built Mata Ki Tekri for the unification of faith and little did they expect this temple to turn into one of the most famous pilgrimage venues of the state. Except, with ropeway ride in place, we get to cherish sightings that even the royals could not. I returned historically awakened and spiritually inspired!