Maheshwar - Cultured by Ahilya Bai Holkar

Once the devil Ravana took up a fight with King Sahastrabahu. However, the result did not go as per his expectations and Ravana was taken as prisoner by king Sahastrabahu. The place where Ravana was kept as prisoner is mentioned as “Mahishmati” in Ramayana.

Yes, the same “Mahishmati” which was mentioned in blockbuster movie Bahubali. But where this city Mahishmati is or had existed in the past? After finished our exploration of Mandu, we were all set to Maheshwar, 45 km. from Mandu situated along the banks of river Narmada.

This small and peaceful town is noted for its mammoth Ghats, temples, and Sarees. Lots of pilgrims and saints come here to offer prayers and worship sacred river Narmada. Lot of Saints, why? Reason being - The mythological city of Mahishmati “, is now known as Maheshwar. Our spirits soared to unprecedented heights to realize that we were standing in legendary mythological city of “Mahishmati”.

To thank the Gods for this fortunate trip, we went to the banks of Narmada River for thanksgiving. That is the first thing to be done in Maheshwar. Neat and clean mammoth structures alongside the Ghats (riverbanks) will ensure every moment spent here is worth. Ahilya Ghat is the most prominent place of worship on river Narmada.

Do try fresh spiced Guavas, salad snacks and lime water on the Ghats. Trust me kids will also have a gala time here.
Mighty Maheshwar Fort alongside the Narmada Ghats is another architectural masterpiece. Get on to the first floor of the fort to enjoy breath taking views of river Narmada.

The fort has been carved with beautiful figures.

Other attractions inside the fort are Sri Ahilyeshwar (Lord Shiva) temple and a Vithoji Chatri (cenotaph). Check out the temple.

After defeating Ravana, Sahastrabahu had placed 11 lamps on Ravana. Till date 11 lamps are lightened at this temple to keep the memory alive on this below memorial. 

Opposite to Sri Ahilyeshwar temple is the Vithoji Chatri (cenotaph of younger brother of Yeshwant Rao Holkar, ruler from 1806-1811). The walls and podium of this beautifully embossed cenotaph has been carved with Elephants and with figures of musicians and dancers.

This fort is also much sought out spot for film shootings, Lucky visitors can catch a glimpse of their favourite actors in action.

Maheshwar town rose to prominence in 18th century during reign of Ahilya Bai Holkar, who made Maheshwar the capital of Holkar state and a palace was built inside the Fort premises to run the administration. Check out the Rajwada to get a glimpse of residence of Holkars:

Holkar kingdom achieved its peak under the regime of Ahilya Bai Holkar (1767 - 1795). Ahilya Bai made Maheshwar the capital of Holkar dynasty She is still remembered for her wisdom, women empowerment steps and some amazing temples built during her tenure.  One of the most important initiative was developing the Maheshwar Sarees weaving here. In fact, the first Maheshwari Saree was designed was the queen herself. Now when it comes to ethnic women wear, Maheshwari Sarees are recognised as one of the most popular brands in India. With due respect Ahilya Bai Holkar is fondly addressed and remembered as “Devi” Ahilya Bai Holkar. Her influence is clearly visible on every part of this town, check out this life size statue on entrance to Maheshwar Fort. 


Though Maheshwar has been a centre of handloom weaving since long back. However, exquisite Maheshwari saree and fabric has put Maheshwar on world map for Indian Sarees. One may buy these Sarees from the market.

To summarize, Maheshwar may be a small place as compared to other destinations in India, but the peace and richness of culture of this place is something you will take back.

Keep exploring Guys…

Gaurav Verma

A passionate Traveler who wants to see the whole world before hanging his boots. Always ready to explore offbeat and hidden spots. MBA + Engineer from Ivy league colleges, Gaurav is much sought after for his choice of lifestyle activities and Brand promotional campaigns.

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