Magnificent Maheshwar

13 Jul 2024

  • Witness the life-size statue of Rani Ahilya Bai seated on the throne at Ahilya bai fort and palace
  • Maheshwar is home to the unique and beautiful Maheshwari saris and fabric
  • Several popular Bollywood and Tamil films have been shot across Maheshwar
  • Get spellbound by the beauty and grandness of Ek Mukhi Datta temple
  • Peshwa, Phanase and Ahilya Ghats have stone memorials.

Magnificent Maheshwar

Situated on the banks of river Narmada, Maheshwar appeals to both the pilgrim as well as the tourist in you. If you happen to drive through the main road of Maheshwar, which also serves as a state highway, you may come across several mesmerizing sights of the holy River Narmada, its rich history, and the reflection of the Maratha and Malwa empires that ruled over years.


The glorious city of Maheshwar sits on the banks of the holy river Narmada and finds mentioned in the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. At the dawn of Indian civilization, it was known as Mahishmati, the capital of King Kartivarjun. This holy town was revived to its ancient position of importance by the Holkar queen Rani Ahilyabai of Indore. The town also holds the distinction of being the capital of Rajmata Ahilya Devi Holkar's empire during the 18th century.

After the death of Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb in 1707, the area of Indore, Maheshwar, and nearby Omkareshwar was acquired by Malhar Rao Holkar, the founder of the Holkar dynasty and a prominent cavalry commander in the Maratha Confederacy. He was then succeeded by his widowed daughter-in-law, Rajmata Devi Ahilyabai Holkar. The pious queen was known for her charitable and religious work.

The famed fortress, long and well-documented history, rich traditions and beautiful temples in this treasure trove calms the soul. Alongside these attractions, man-made creations please the eyes of every visitor. It is also said to be the place where Adi Shankaracharya is said to have defeated Mandan Misra in philosophical dialectics in the 8th century AD.

Mandana Misra was a perfect ritualist with more than half of his life dedicated to learning and preaching and mimasa. Adi Shankara being young and inexperienced, Mandana himself reasoned that it would be unfair to debate with a youngster in his twenties and allowed Shankara to choose his judge. Shankara was quick to decide that none but Mandana Misra's wife herself can be the most appropriate judge for the debate. The debate commenced and continued for months reaching a point where Mandana Misra was almost ready to accept defeat. Ubhaya Bharati, wife of Mandana Misra then interfered and declared that to defeat a man in debate the opponent should also defeat his wife.


A center of handloom weaving since the 5th century, Maheshwar has been producing exquisite Maheshwari sarees and fabric. Introduced almost 250 years ago by Rani Ahilyabai, these sarees are renowned throughout India for their unique weave. Found mostly in cotton, the typical Maheshwari sarees are available with a plain body or stripes and sometimes even with checks in several variations.

A few decades ago, the art of weaving a Maheshwari Saree was almost at its deathbed. However, it was revived by the current Scion of the Holkar family with a paltry grant from the Indian Central Welfare Boards in 1979. They started a weaving project involving the local women and called it the Rehwa Society.


The best time to visit Maheshwar is between October and March. However, during the day, even in the winter months, the sun can be very sharp. It is always a good idea to carry drinking water and keep one's head covered. Loads of pilgrims can be seen in this place during the festivals of Shivratri and Kartik Purnima. The maximum temperature during the summer months can go as high as 46-degree Celsius, while in the winters it can go down to 5-degree Celsius. Monsoon starts in the first week of June and stretches till August/September.


Located on the banks of the holy river Narmada, Maheshwar is a package destination with an array of activities to participate in. Starting from exploring the beautiful architecture of Maheshwar through heritage walks to tasting delicious Dal Bafla thali at Shri Bake Bihari Palace, the exploration places in this town never end.

Book your stay at the MPT Narmada Retreat and start your day exploring the beautiful temples located in the massive Maheshwar fort. By afternoon, you can explore the sumptuous roadside dishes and then plan a visit to the Rehwa society for shopping authentic Maheshwari Sarees. By evening enjoy the serene views at the ghat near Maheshwar fort.

If you are planning to visit Maheshwar during November around Kartik Purnima, make sure to include Nimar Utsav in your itinerary. It is an annual 3-day event held at Maheshwar that comprises music, dance, drama, and activities such as boating and canoeing.


Being an amalgamation of culture, heritage, and architecture, Maheshwar is a prime destination in the heart of India. The picturesque town is accessible from Indore and Omkareshwar.

From Indore, it is almost 100 km away by road and 66 km by flight.

From Omkareshwar, it is situated almost 80 km away by road.


Ahilyabai fort and Palace:

The massive fort stands on a hill with the holy Narmada on one side and the modern town of Maheshwar on the other side. The Ahilyabai fort and palace house a beautiful life-size statue of Rani Ahilyabai on a throne and a Shiva temple.

Ahilyeshwar Temple:

Situated on the banks of river Narmada, this temple is dedicated to Lord Rama and has pictures of Maratha soldiers and elephants. It is also known as Ahilyabai's chhatri and is said to be built by her daughter, Krishnabai to honour the queen.

Ek Mukhi Datta Temple:

Located close to Sahastradhara waterfall, Ek Mukhi Datta Temple is a temple dedicated to lord Datta. Dedicated to Lord Dattatreya, this temple is constructed on 30 acres of area. The temple has admirable architecture and fantastic history.

Narmada Ghat:

Situated at the foot of Ahilyabai fort, this place is a must-visit destination in the holy town of Maheshwar. Throughout the day a kaleidoscope of rural India can be seen here, in the pilgrims and holy men who sit here in silent meditation.


A public courtyard-cum-hotel, Rajwada has a glass-cased statue of Ahilyabai. It also houses a Shiva temple with a golden lingam. This east-facing palace is simple in its design and portrays the austere lifestyle of Rani Ahilyabai Holkar.

Rehwa Society

This society in Maheshwar was formed to support the local weavers and sustain their craft. Society now provides an outlet for their work and also a medium for Maheshwari saree lovers to buy these beautiful sarees.

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Rehwa Society for Maheshwari Sarees

Rehwa society, an outleft for the local weavers work, also allows the purchase of Maheswari sareers.

Labboo'z Cafe

Located in the gatehouse of the 18th-century Ahilya Fort in Maheshwar, Labboo'z cafe is a little lodge and cafe for tourists.

Best Places to visit

Ahilya Bai Fort and Palace

Akhileshwar Temple

Ek Mukhi Datta Temple

Narmada Ghat


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MPT Narmada Resort, Maheshwar

Price: INR 1990 - 4590 Phone: (07283) 273455

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Chaturvedi home stay

Price: 1000 Phone: 9926528316

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