Maheshwar was a glorious city at the dawn of Indian civilization when it was Mahishmati, capital of king Kartivarjun. This temple town on the banks of the river Narmada finds mention in the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Revived to its ancient position of importance by the Holkar queen Rani Ahilyabai of Indore. Maheshwar's temples and mighty fort-complex stand in quiet beauty, mirrored in the river below. Today, Maheshwar is also known for its distinctive handwoven sarees called Maheshwari.
Did you know ?
Peshwa Ghat, Fanase Ghat and Ahilya Ghat line the river Narmada, flights of steps lead down from the sandy banks to the river and through the day a kaleidoscope of rural India can be seen here, in the pilgrims and holy men who sit here in silent meditation; in the rows of graceful women, who carry gleaming brass pots down to the holy, life giving river; in the ferry loads of villagers who cross and recross these surging waters. Lining the banks too,
are poignant memorials in stone to the satis of Maheshwar, who perished on the funeral pyres of their husbands.
Rajgaddi and Rajwada - A life-size statue of Rani Ahilyabai sits on a throne in the Rajgaddi within the fort complex. This is the right place to begin a tour of Maheshwar, for this pious and wise queen was the architect of its revived importance. Other fascinating relics and heirlooms of the Holkar dynasty can be seen in the other rooms which are open to the public. Within the complex is an exquisite small shrine which is a starting point of the ancient Dussehra ceremony which is carried out even today. The image on this day is installed reverently in a splendid palanquin and carried down the steep fort road to the town below to receive the yearly homage of the people of Maheshwar.
Temples - With their soaring spires, the many-tiered temples of Maheshwar are distinguished by their carved overhanging balconies and their intricately worked doorways. Kaleshwar, Rajarajeshwara, Vithaleshwara and Ahileshwar are the temples to be seen.
Maheshwari Sarees - Maheshwari Sarees were introduced into Maheshwar 250 years ago by Rani Ahilyabai, and are renowned throughout India for their unique weave. Woven mostly in cotton, the typical Maheshwari saree has a plain body and sometimes stripes or checks in several variations. The mat bordered designs have a wide range in leaf and floral patterns. The pallav is particularly distinctive with 5 stripes, 3 coloured and 2 white alternating, running along its width. Maheshwari has a reversible border, known as bugdi.