Jul 30, 2012

Forts of India- Maheshwar

Maheshwar is a small town in Madhya Pradesh popular for two things- an amazingly beautiful fort and stunningly beautiful hand-woven sarees. In fact, I visited Maheshwar by chance. I was looking for transportation from Mandu to Omkareshwar and happened to get off at Maheshwar per bus conductor's advice. I didn't regret, many thanks to him!

Some facts (from wiki)-  Maheshwar is an ancient city, mentioned in epics Mahabharata and Ramayana as Mahishmati, but now very popular for the 18th century fort built under the rule of Rajamata Ahilya Devi Holkar. The fort overlooks the holy River Narmada and it is a beautiful sight. 

The legend says the King Sahasrarjuna pinned down Ravana to the ground with all his might and lit eleven lamps on 10 heads and a hand of Ravana!

The fort now houses a heritage hotel, Ahilya Fort. It seems parts of film Asoka was filmed here in this fort. From the fort, enormous stone steps lead down to river Narmada and the holy ghats.

A main Shiva temple inside the fort is ornate with fine carved pillars, arches, ceilings and an elevated spire. The walls, the doorways and the friezes, every inch has finest and intricate stone carving. I clicked most number of pictures here than in any other place on my trip. There is another temple right opposite to Shiva temple which was closed. It has one of the beautiful dome-shaped gopura I have ever seen.

There is a boat service to cruise on the river Narmada. When I was here it was very hot afternoon and so skipped it. I am sure it will be an unforgettable experience cruising in the morning and evening. Walking along the ghats further will take you to few more temples. 

The side walls and friezes are too very intricate, and interestingly have elephants every where. Usually in Indian architecture different animals, like horse, lion, boar and peacocks also are represented. 

Base of the temples had ornate square side panels each one was unique. The floral patterns, flowering creepers, entangled serpent, intricate jali and so on. I sarted taking pictures of each one and then I was exhausted, they were so many and all of them were beautiful! I have posted few of them here. 

There is Raj Gaddi, Royal Palace of Rajmata Ahilya Devi. One has to remove shoes to enter the palace. It is very simple. The pictures of Holkar's are displayed here. The shrine of Lord Shiva and the religious items made of silver that belonged to the Holkars are also on display. 

Maheshwar is also popular for the cotton and silk handlooms. Stunningly beautiful sarees and suites are available here. The colors and color combinations are pleasant and the zari work is exquisite! While backpacking I usually try to avoid shopping. But, here I couldn't resist buying. I bought a blue silk saree for my Mother which I later couriered home :) I must say they are simple, elegant yet gorgeous sarees! 

There is a textile shop inside the fort where one can see people weaving, dying the thread etc. The shop personnel were kind enough to keep my backpack so that I could see the fort without any burden on my back. Thanks a ton to them! 

Maheshwar is about 90KM from Indore. There is regular bus service from Dhar and Indore. Since I was coming from Mandu I had to change two buses even though the distance was too short. Ride in a local bus was slow, hectic and equally fun!

It was a short trip to a beautiful fort. I proceeded to Omkareshwar and all the way I was thinking about the intricate work on stone.

Leave a comment to share your beautiful thoughts :)

Click HERE to read more articles about Forts of India. To check complete Backpacking India series click HERE.

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Scrapbook- A Travel Blog by Kusum Sanu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


  1. Quite a place you have discovered by chance. And such a beautiful palace at the banks of the beautiful Naramada. This was the first time I heard of this place, but its looks beautiful.

  2. Quite a place as Jenny said:) Nice place

  3. Wow.Simply magnificent & spectacular !

  4. Aweome carvings. Nice article, Kusum.


  5. Beautifully presented. I love this place. Out of 16 Janapadas, Avantika is one. This is the name of the present day Malwa. It had two capitals. One at Ujjaini and the other one at Mahishmati.

  6. Kindly consider removing the "word verification". This is an irritant. Does not also help much.

    1. Per your last request I removed the word verification! I too find it annoying! But, why do you see again? It is not enabled in my blog settings!!

    2. Kindly recheck. I am finding it even today.


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