Situated on the banks of river Narmada, Maheshwar appeals to both, the pilgrim as well as the tourist in you. The town possesses a treasure trove of beautiful temples that calm the soul, alongside man-made creations that please the eyes.
A centre of handloom weaving since the 5th century, Maheshwar has been producing the exquisite Maheshwari saris and fabric. The town also holds the distinction of being the capital of Rajmata Ahilya Devi Holkar’s empire during the 18th century.
This historic town weaves spirituality and folklore with the beauty of nature and Maheshwari saris, bringing alive child-like awe in you. this gorgeous town is largely referred to as the temple town of Madhya Pradesh. It also holds a lot of mythological and historical importance given the fact that it has found a mention in the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata.
This was the capital of Rani Ahilyabai Holkar’s province, Holkar. She beautified the city with many buildings and public works, the Maratha architecture and this city was also home to her extravagant palace. Renowned majorly for its production of Maheshwari sarees, which makes this place a paradise for shopaholics.
Places to Visit
As the name itself suggests, this was the opulent palace of Rani Ahilyabai Holkar which the reason why it is also known as the Queen’s fort. This fort was also the administrative headquarter of Rani Ahilyabai during her reign and currently it has been converted into a guesthouse, which is managed by the son of the last Maharaja of Indore, Prince Shivaji Rao Holkar.
This palace is the zenith of the Maratha architecture. To add to this, the palace is also host to a weaver’s cooperative society in its premises. This structural marvel is sure going to teleport you to the ancient times.
5 km away from Maheshwar is the town of Mandleshwar which is also situated on the banks of river Narmada. This city was founded by a woman named Mandana Mishra.
Mandleshwar has also been the headquarters of the Nimar Agency and Cantonment under the British from 1819 to 1864. One of the well known leaders of Maheshwar, Tukoji Rao Holkar II built a palace here. It also hosts a dam based in the river Narmada.
Narmada Ghat is another off-beat destination in close proximity to the town of Maheshwar surrounded with lush green environs. It is a nice spot for picnicking and to enjoy a day off from all the worries and stress one has. It is located on the banks of river Narmada and is one of the many places constructed by Rani Ahilyabai.
In keeping with the trends of the various temples in Maheshwar, Jaleshwar Temple is also dedicated to the third god in the Hindu triumvirate, Lord Shiva. He has many benevolent and fearsome forms.
At the highest level Shiva is limitless, unstoppable, unchanging and invincible. To honour this, the Jaleshwar Temple was constructed as a structure of gigantic proportions, to showcase the strength and Grandeur of Lord Shiva.
This splendid architectural wonder was constructed under the rule of one of India’s most powerful female leaders, Rani Ahilyabai Holkar, As the local legends term it, And they are supported by a Vast number of tales from around the nation.
Surprisingly, the edifice does not only display Maratha architectural styles but it also boasts of designs inspired from Mughal and French trends. One of the major attractions of this monument is the statue of Rani Ahilyabai standing tall right at the entrance.
While Maheshwar is a City of great importance, It also boasts of being in Khargone district of Madhya Pradesh state, in central India, which has History of itself to brag about. The City lies on the north bank of the Narmada River. It was the capital of the Malwa during the Maratha Holkar reign.
Khargone, formerly known as west Nimar district, is a district in Madhya Pradesh.The district has a long history. In ancient period, the Haihayas of Mahishmati (present-day Maheshwar) ruled this region. In early medieval age, the area was under the Paramaras of Malwa and the Ahirs of Asirgarh. In late medieval age, the area was under Malwa Sultanate of Mandu. In 1531, Gujarat sultan Bahadur Shah brought this area under his control. In 1562, Akbar annexed this territory along with the whole Malwa to Mughal empire. In 1740 Marathas under the Peshwa brought the area under their control. Hence, this place is of great historical importance.
This temple unlike others, which is largely dediated to Lord Shiva, it is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the protector of the whole universe and not Lord Shiva. Legend has it that at the end of the Dwapara Yuga, Lord Krishna incarnated on the eighth day of the dark fortnight in the holy month of Shravana.
Due to this, Lord Krishna is also called Pandrinath. This temple like the other temples of Maheshwar is also an architectural marvel. The best of complicated artistry can be reflected on the doors of the temple, which is said to behold the gaze of anyone, who look upon it, by its sheer beauty.
This is just an another temple that is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Ahilyeshwar Temple is also testament to the splendid architectural skills of the Maratha workmen.
The temple comprises of intricate designs and artwork in honour of the deity. Apart from being the shrine of Lord Shiva, this temple also has a shrine of Lord Rama. With a very soothing atmosphere, this place is a must visit after a hectic day. The aartis are fixed at 8 am and 6 pm, which is as soothing as the Temple.
Omkareshwar Temple is regarded as one of the most pristine temples in the province of Maheshwar. It is situated in the confluence of two sacred rivers Narmada and Kaveri.
The story behind this temple is quite interesting. It is believed that Lord Shiva took the form of Omkareshwar to defeat the Danavas who had earlier won the fight against the Devas. On the insistence of the Devas, Lord Shiva decided to decided to take this step. It is located in the Mandhata Island, also called Shivpuri Island, which is in the shape of Om symbol. One of the holiest shrines in the whole of India, the Omkareshwar or Omkar Mandhata temple is one of the twelve revered jyothirlingas in India. The temple is situated on an island called Mandhata, located at the meeting point of the rivers Narmada and Kaveri.
The island is said to be in the shape of the Hindu ‘OM’ symbol. There are multiple temples on this island and the actual jyothirlinga is said to be in the Mamleshwar temple. This temple, apart from the religious values, also boasts of stunning architecture and houses beautiful frescos and carvings.
Kasrawad is a paradise for women shoppers, It can be said so, because it is famous for its colourful cotton saris, which are fabricated with designs like borders, stripes and checks.
This town also is rich in historical significance as it was the capital of Lord Rama’s son Kush’s province. The best time to visit this place would be during the winters when the much anticipated Gangaleshver Fair takes place.
Rajaraheshwara Temple was also constructed in remembrance of the might Lord Shiva. It is situated in close proximity to the Ahilyeshwar Temple and boasts of a very rich and intricate architecture.
This holy shrine is regarded as the temple of the 11 Akhand Jyoti Deepak or eternal flame lamps. One of the major offerings at the temple is the ghee that is used to enlighten the lamps.
While all the festivals are celebrated with equal Pomp and show, but some festivals give Maheshwar, its Unique aura.
Maheshwar is full of festivals and celebrations, some are: Nag Panchami, Gudi Padava, Teez (New year celebrations according to the Hindu calendar), All Mondays of Shravan month, (DOLA of Kashivishwnath on last Monday, bhang is served as prasad of Shiva), Mahashivratri, Samoti Amavas, and all other Indian festivals. There are many visiting places like gold swing is also their and it is situated at Rajwada. Maheshwar also has the temple of Goddess Vindhyavasini Bhavani, one of the 24Shaktipeeths of Goddess Parvati.
Every year on the immediately preceding Sunday of Makar Sankranti (i.e. the Sunday just before the date when the Sun is about to enter the sign of Capricorn as per Indian Astrological / Sidereal calendar), Swaadhyaaya Bhavan Ashram (based at Mahalaxmi Nagar, Maheshwar) organizes Mahaamrityunjaya Rath Yaatraa in the town of Maheshwar. This Mahaamrityunjaya Rath Yaatraa was initiated by Shri Harvilas Aasopaa for the welfare of humanity, and is known to be the first of its kind in the world. The yaatraa intends to invoke blessings of Ayurved Murti Bhagwaan Sadaashiv Mahaamrityunjaya (who is regarded as the primordial and supreme doctor), and it starts from Swaadhyaaya Bhawan Ashram and culminates at the banks of the holy river Narmada.
Best Time to Visit
October-March is the best months to visit this place. The climate in Maheshwar reaches the extremes both during Summers and Winters. The temperature rises to 35 to 40 degrees Celcius during the Summers, and sometimes it goes up to 45 degrees Celcius during the month of May. The Winters drop to a mere 5 degrees Celcius during nights. However, Maheshwar has pleasant winter mornings. The monsoon season has a decent amount of rainfall which shall not be a problem. As this destination believes in worshipping Lord Shiva, the best time to come here would be during the months of Shivratri i.e. during February-March.
Winter (October-February)-: Winter season is the most favourable if one plans on visiting Maheshwar. The temperature range is moderate, with it fluctuating between 15 to 25 degrees Celcius. Mornings are usually a bit chilly, but the weather overall is pleasant for wandering around all day. Also, as all the major festivals, including Diwali and Shivratri, fall around this time, so it might be a good idea to visit Maheshwar, to experience the grandeur of the place and feel the tranquility it offers during festivals.