The word Maheshwar is a sobriquet of Lord Shiva, meaning Great God. Unquestionably, a significant religious town worth visiting, for its cultural influence, and explicit mention in Puranas. Both Maratha Holkar and Malhar Rao Holkar III reigned this 18th-century capital of Malwa in central India. As you walk past the Fort walls, you will observe the evident narration of its ruling history sculpted wherever you look. Additionally, Maheshwar has an edge, for being on the bank of the great Narmada River and housing one-of-the oldest handloom factories.
How to reach Maheshwar in Central India?
Maheshwar is located 95 Kms from Indore and takes 2-3 hours to reach by car. Alternatively, catch a bus or rent a private car to approach this route. From Indore, take the road to Pithampur which leads to Manpur. Thereafter, head in the direction of Dhamnod and keep looking for Ajanta Talkies or the local police station. Take a left from the Talkies and keep driving on the Dhamnod road. A right turn from the Thana will direct you to the Chapai Handloom of Maheshwar. From here, you can decide to take a direction of your choice to either explore the Fort or the market.
The 5th-Century Handloom Heritage of Maheshwar
Handloom imbibed its textile weaving roots in Maheshwar, in the 5th century. Ever since then, Maheshwar has been home to India’s finest handloom fabric heritage. The best part is that each one of these colourful Maheshwari sarees symbolises women empowerment. Here’s a glimpse of the weaving centre located inside the historic Ahilya Fort. More than 130 weavers work here to produce 1 Lakh metres of fine fabric each year.
The Culturally Prosperous Town of Madhya Pradesh
Maheshwar is the reconstructed model of the ancient city of Somvanshya. Once ruled by King Arjuna, this city came to light through its mention in the mythological epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Arjuna’s friends Jamadagni Rishi, Renuka Devi, and Lord Parashurama also lived nearby in Janapav.
Read more: The Ayurvedic Secrets of Janapav
What should I visit in Maheshwar?
Let me make it easy for you and lay down a day-chart with a variety of activities.
10:00 AM: Start with touring the late 18th-century Ahilya Fort, built by the Maratha Queen Ahilya Devi Holkar. Ahilya Devi’s sophisticated taste in art can be observed throughout Maheshwar. All the city buildings, temples, and riverfront ghats are adorned with unique sculpted embellishments. However, from the broad stone steps carved down to the river, to the intricate interiors, Ahilya Fort is an exclusive delight worth exploring. At present, the son of the Prince Shivaji Rao Holkar, last Maharaja of Indore, is managing this fort.
11:30 AM: After you finish taking the Fort tour, visit Narmada, RajRajeshwar, and Akhileshwar Temples, situated right next to the site.
1:00 PM: By this time, you will be tired of walking long distances inside the Fort and the Temples. Take a breather and head to Labboo’s Cafe outside the Fort! Here, enjoy local snacks along with a cup of hot or cold coffee. This economic cafe features an open-air setting along with washroom facility.
2:00 PM: Your next stop should be Mahalaxmi Handloom Stores or Maheshwari Handloom Sarees Store on the same road. These are the best stores in the city to get authentic Maheshwari styled attires and fabrics. These gorgeous Sarees use a blend of cotton and pure silk fabric. The Sarees are furthermore, enriched with Zari-brocade work in numerous designs including floral, stripes, and check borders.
3:00 PM: You can grab late lunch at Narmada Retreat, Panchvati Palace, Indian Heritage Food, Maheshwar Cottage Restaurant, or Rajrajeshwar Bhojnalaya.
4:30 PM: Head back to Indore. If you are planning to stay overnight, then Ahilya Fort Heritage Hoel and Narmada Retreat are the most favourite hotels in this city.
Maheshwar’s Historical Heritage is complemented by its Natural Beauty
Many movies and TV serials have captured the exquisite beauty of Maheshwar and Narmada River. Bajirao Mastani, Ashoka, Yamala Pagla Deewana, Neerja, Tulsi, Tevar, Mahashivratri, and TV serial Jhansi Ki Rani are a few good examples. Be it family, or couples, Maheshwar is a preferred destination for all travellers. Typically, sightseeing in Maheshwar takes half a day, however, to explore it thoroughly, you will need at least 3 days. Not to mention, the best time to visit Maheshwar is around monsoons or winter.