Maheshwar, Land and the River: Gems of Western Madhya Pradesh

Narmada Ghat and Ahilya Fort
                                            Narmada Ghat and Ahilya Fort

Mandu to Maheshwar is a tricky ride with public transport as I had to change 3 busses and all painfully slow. Finally after 4-5 hours in a packed bus, I touched down to Maheshwar. It was already dark so I was in hurry to find an accommodation and a good place to eat. Getting a budget accommodation is not a problem in Maheshwar however restaurants are in sparse. I stayed close to the Ghats of Narmada but still did not visit the shore that evening. After the dinner I returned back to the hotel room but Maheshwar was still vibrant with religious chanting emerging from the temples. That night itself I realized that it was the eve of an important Muslim festival and there was suppose to be big crowd in Maheshwar since Muslim population is significant in this part of India.
River Narmada at Maheshwar
                                       River Narmada at Maheshwar

How to reach Maheshwar:  
From Omkareshwar- There is direct busses to Maheshwar (60 INR, 2 hours, Via Barwah). For more frequent service, come down to Barwah and then get a connecting bus to Maheshwar.
From Indore- Direct busses are available else you can get a bus to Dhamnod (very frequent) and then get a bus to Maheshwar from Dhamnod.

From Mandu: It’s a tricky one and there are two routes
Mandu >> Lunhor>> Dhamnod>> Maheshar Route
Mandu to Lunhor: 10 INR, 10 km, 45 minutes, Catch the bus going towards Dhar and get down at Lunhor
Lunhor to Dhamnod: 40 km, 30 INR, 2 hours, Catch the bus between  Dhar to Dhamnod. Less busses on this stretch
Dhamnod to Maheshwar: 15 km, 30 minutes, 12 INR, Frequent busses on this stretch

Mandu >> Dharampuri>>Dhamnod>> Maheshwar Route
Last bus from Mandu to Dharamapuri departs at 3:00 PM and that’s a major hitch for taking this route. Nevertheless Dharmapuri to Maheshwar is well connected.

Day at Narmada's Ghat
                                        Day at Narmada's Ghat

Stay and Food in Maheshwar: Since Maheshwar falls on a popular pilgrim’s trail of central India; Accommodation is generally not a problem. Budget accommodations are available at the entrance of Ahilya fort towards the bank of Narmada. I will recommend you to lodge somewhere near the bank of Narmada so that you can have frequent visits to the Ghats.  No point of staying near the main road. Guru Kripa is the only decent restaurant (delicious Thali in 60 INR) in Maheshwar which lies opposite to the Bus stand. Ahilyabai Fort, which is now converted into an elegant heritage hotel, is a suitable option for high-end travelers.

Boating and bathing in Narmada
                                         Boating and bathing in Narmada

 

Inextricably linked to the shore of Holy Narmada, the town of Maheshwar lies on the popular pilgrim’s trail of Central India. Since Maheshwar is mentioned in both the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, it has a long held spiritual significance. True to its name, "Maheshwar" is home to thousands of Shiva Temples on the bank of River Narmada. Built on the bank of Narmada, Ahilya bai fort is a splendid building of medieval times and fort complex encloses many temples. Ramparts and balconies of the fort offer spectacular view of Narmada River.
View of Narmada River from Maheshwar Fort
                                   View of Narmada River from Maheshwar Fort

Next morning, I was very eager to visit Narmada first before heading anywhere else and that’s what I did. Often referred as city of Ahilyabai, Maheshwar is home to some of the highly revered temples and many of those lie inside Ahilya fort which is built on the bank of River Narmada. The Ghat beneath Ahilyabai fort is named after it and is the most vibrant Ghat of Maheshwar. Many miniature shrine of Lord Shiva are built on the shore and it’s the prime bathing Ghat of Maheshwar. Fort complex encloses several tiered temples. Among those, Sahastararjun is the most revered and stunning. Maheshwar Fort and its temples depict exquisite work of intricate stone carving and fine sculpturing.
Sahastrarjun Temple Maheshwar
                                            Sahastrarjun Temple

Life at the shore of Narmada is truly inspiring however I was anticipating isolation on the riverside. Maheshwar was getting prepared for a grand festival and its affect was reflected on the bank of Narmada. Bank of the Narmada is adorned with temples those perhaps are the source of strong spiritual vibrations. Boating in Narmada is the best way to experience the life on the river’s shore and to capture the stunning fort which at times seems like sinking in the river. In that hassled atmosphere, I had to hire a private boat to take some photographs of the Ghats and the temples. These boats also take you to the Baneshwar temple which is built in the middle of the river and definitely catches attention of all the visitors.
Bajeshwar Temple in the middle of Narmada
                                  Bajeshwar Temple in the middle of Narmada

In an attempt of escaping from the pilgrims, I headed a bit inland and visited Rajrajeshwar temple, Kashi Vishwanath temple, Peswa Ghat and Museum inside Maheshwar Palace but none of these were as enticing as the vibes at the bank of Narmada. Narmada is irresistible and I was coming back and forth for finding something unknown. Suddenly loads of pilgrims started gathering on the bank of the Narmada for the grand festival. They shattered that vicious circle of love and disrupted my conscientious deliberation of loving Narmada (Read: Narmada River). Forlorn and broken hearted, I folded my belongings and left the town of Maheshwar to find a less crowded shore of my love…Narmada…
Temples inside Ahilyabai Fort Maheshwar
                                               Temples inside Ahilyabai Fort

 

Travel Tips:
* Boating in Narmada at the time of evening prayer is must do while in Maheshwar.
* Poha, Jalebi, Kachori are the best snacks and breakfast
* Maheshwar is also famous for its elegant saris.
* Passenger boat will take 20 INR for journey to the other bank of Narmada. Private boat will charge 100 INR (30 minutes) for a trip till Baneshwar Temple and return.
* Apart from festival time, Maheshwar is a laid-back destination.
* Try to visit the other side of Narmada which looked promising to me.
* Maheshwar is certainly a paradise for Street photographers. Will offer you an opportunity every moment.
* Sahastradhara, where narmada splits into countless thin streams due to rock formations, is worth a visit. It is 2 km west from the Maheshwar town.
 

 

Dear Sir ,This website is

Dear Sir ,This website is much informative and interesting.

 I want some agricultural land near by Narmada bank for a Asram. Pl .inform 

 

 

I wish i can help but i do

I wish i can help but i do not have any clue about purchasing or selling land in Maheshwar or elsewhere for that matter. I wish you good luck.

+- Vishnu

I am vising Maheshwar and

I am vising Maheshwar and Mandu next week and stumbled upon your beautiful blog. I am wondering if there is an option to take a taxi from Maheshwar to Mandu and what it would cost to do so. 

Yes, you can hire a taxi from

Yes, you can hire a taxi from Maheshwar to Mandu... there are many taxi rental service near Ghat... generally they charge per km basic which is approximatly 8.0 INR per km for Indica sort of car...

Beautiful photos. I am

Beautiful photos. I am dreaming of travels in India, taking a local bus or train and go to see off-the-path places. Narmada looks so picturesque. Amazing experience.

yes... make your next trip to

yes... make your next trip to India and at least plan it for 6 months... We will be happy to have you as a guest... keep us posted about your plans....

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