Maa Rewa tharo paani nirmal
Khal khal behto jaaye re…
This song by the band ‘Indian Ocean’ soothes your mind and so does the city ‘Maheshwar’ which is located on the bank of river Narmada which is also called Rewa. It is nearly 90km away from the city Indore. Maheshwar holds religious as well as historical value. Earlier, Indore was Holkar’s capital but later it was shifted to Maheshwar. You can also find the mention of Maheshwar in epic Ramayana and Mahabharata. There are stories of Raj Rajeshwar Sahastrarjun and Ravana related to this place. It is a worth-visiting place and the architecture of the fort never fails to amaze you. In this article I will take you to the different places of Maheshwar which you can visit during your trip to Maheshwar.
History of Maheshwar
It is situated on the bank of Narmada and it is an ancient town. You can find its mention in ancient Indian scriptures as Mahishmati. The story related to this town is that Raj Rajeshwar Sahastrarjun imprisoned the mighthy Ravana here for six months. In Maheshwar there is a temple named Raj Rajeshwar temple which is dedicated to Raj Rajeshwar Sahastrarjun. The name of Maheshwar is also mentioned in our epics such as Mahabharata and Ramayana. It was ruled by Mauryas, Guptas and Harshvardhan and later by Delhi Sultanate and Mughal Emperor Akbar. It came under the rule of Marathas in 18th Century. As Ahilya Bai took the charge she shifted the capital from Indore to Maheshwar.
Places to visit in Maheshwar
You can visit all the places in Maheshwar within one or two days as it is a small town. The flow of the river Narmada and the architecture of the forts and temples in Maheshwar will leave you spell bound. By taking a glance of these places you, yourself can feel the glory of Maa Ahilya and Holkar samrajya.
1. Rajwada/ Ahilya Fort
This is now a heritage hotel which is managed by Shivaji Rao Holkar. As it is a heritage hotel now the residential area is open for the guests who want to stay here. You can easily see the reflections of Maratha as well as Mughal and French architecture. The major attraction of this place is the huge idol of Rani Ahilya Bai in pink odhani at the entrance. You can also see various boards here which tells you about Holkars, Rani Ahilya Bai, and about the restoration work which is done by her across the India.
2. Rehwa Society
This is a society which is managed by Shivaji Rao Holkar and his wife to encourage local handloom weavers. It is situated in the premises of Ahilya Fort. In the late 1700’ s Rani Ahilya Bai invited weaver community to Maheshwar to teach her citizens the art of weaving. So that, her citizens arrange their livelihood. Now, the Maheshwar is not only famous for its architecture and Narmada Ghat but it is also prominently known for its handmade Maheshwari Sarees. You can visit Rehwa Society and purchase Maheshwari sarees, suits, shawls and stoles here.
3. Court of Rani Ahilya Bai
It is an open veranda where Rani Ahilya Bai used to have her court proceeding. A Gaadi is placed in this veranda in the same way as it was in the time of Rani Ahilya Bai. She used to sit on that Gaadi with a Shivalinga in her hand. You also find portraits of various Holkars on the top. This court also has a mural of the Maheshwar Fort.
In the Rajwada premises there is a Palki which is still taken out for a procession on every Monday. Here, you can experience the simplicity of Ahilya Bai Holkar.
4. Narmada Ghat
Ghats are the major attraction of Maheshwar. These Ghats are lined up with some Chhatris and small temples which you can witness from the top of Ahilya Fort. While walking on the ghats you can witness big and small shivlingas. The prominently known Ghats of Maheshwar are Ahilya Ghat, Peshwa Ghat, Phanse Ghat and Mahila Ghat. Here, you can experience the serenity of river Narmada and it gives you an exceptional experience. If you are willing to stay here you can also be a part of Narmada Aarti which is once in a life time experience.
5. Temples and Chhatris of Maheshwar
It is believed that every stone found on the bank of Narmada is Lord Shiva. There are many big and small temples in Maheshwar but here I m going to mention some famous temples which you should visit during your trip to Maheshwar. Ahilyeshwar Shivalaya, this beautiful temple is said to be built by Krishna Bai, Daughter of Ahilya Bai. In its Garbh Grah there is a Shivlinga along with a statue of Rani Ahilya Bai. The temple’s architecture will leave you spell bound. In the same complex there is a small temple which is dedicated to Lord Ram and Hanuman.
The Raj Rajeshwar Temple is an ancient temple which is not too far from Ahilyeshwar Shivalay. In the same complex there is a small temple dedicated to Raj Rajeshwar Sahastrarjun who is famous for imprisoning Ravana.
Then you find Narmada Temple which is located on Mahila Ghat. It is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. In Maheshwar you can also find a re-creation of original Kashi Vishwanath temple situated in Kashi.
Another worth-visiting temple is the Baneshwar Temple which is situated in the middle of the river Narmada.
You can also visit Chhatri dedicated to Yashwant Rao Holkar’s son Vithoji. It is situated just opposite to the Ahilyeshwar Shivalaya. The architecture of this chhatri is eye- catching.
Though, Maheshwar is a small town but it has everything to amaze you, from temples to Ghats, Forts to handloom industry, a rich culture, historic and religious value and what not. There are some other places also which I have not mentioned here but if you have ample time you can pay a visit. These places are Sahastradhara, Ahilya Sangrahalya and you can also attend a special pooja which is performed by 11 Brahmins, between 8-10 AM in Ahilya Fort every day. So, you can pay a visit to Maheshwar on a weekend to run away from your worries and have a soothing experience.