INDIA TRAVEL - MAHESHWAR - THE TEMPLE CITY OF MADHYA PRADESH

Hello friends! I am back with my new post. I am going to talk about a beautiful city on the banks of river Narmada in Madhya Pradesh, India. It is called Maheshwar. This name itself is made of two different words. Maha and Eshwar. Maha is great and Eshwar is God. Means Great God. Maheshwar is one of the many names given to Lord Shiva.

Maheshwar is a town in the Khargone district of Madhya Pradesh state of India. Situated 91 km(57 mi) from the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh(MP), Indore, it is 13 km(8 mi) east of Agra-Mumbai highway called National Highway-3. It is located on the north bank of river Narmada. This is the place for both pilgrims as well as tourists. The beauty of Maratha architecture of that time, carved on different temples and forts is breathtaking and one can go on admiring them endlessly.

HISTORY OF MAHESHWAR - Up till 6th Jan'1818, it used to be the capital of Malwa during the rule of Maratha Holkar. Thereafter, Malhar Rao Holkar shifted the capital to Indore. Traditionally, Maheshwar has been an epicenter of handloom weaving. Since 5th century, it has been famous for weaving India's finest handloom fabrics. Maheshwari saree, weaved by handloom weavers here is very famous. Fabrics for other cloths are also weaved here. Rani Ahilya Bai Holkar was the most powerful female ruler of the Holkar dynasty and she built a palace for herself here (more of it later).

BOLLYWOOD CONNECTION - Maheshwar has a very old connection with Bollywood. Many Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and other language movies have been shot here. The latest being Akshay Kumar starrer Padman.

WHAT TO SEE - There are numbers of temples and forts with stunning artistry and architecture in Maheshwar. There are around 100 temples, mostly situated on the right bank of Narmada river near Maheshwar ghat, each having it's own unique style and telling the history of Maheshwar. Most of them are situated in the vicinity of Rani Ahilya Bai fort. Some of them are Sahastrarjun temple, Raj Rajeshwar Mandir, Kashi Vishwanath Mandir, Chaturbhuj Narayan Mandir, Ahilya Mata's chhatris, Chintamani Ganapati Mandir, Gobar Ganesh Mandir, Narsingh Mandir, Anant Narayan MandirKhedapati Hanuman, Ram and Krishna Mandir, Banke Bihari Mandir, Bhawani Mata Mandir and Pandrinath Mandir. A small island in Narmada river has Baneshwar Mandir . Another prominent temple Jaleshwar Mandir is a little far from here. I have tried to include details of some prominent ones here.

Jaleshwar Mandir - It is Lord Shiva temple. Lord Shiva is the third God in Hindu holy trinity of Bramha, Vishnu and Mahesh. Lord Shiva has many forms. He is kind hearted and benevolent on one side but becomes fearsome on the other. But all in all he is considered invincible and has no limits. This temple has been built to honor his these qualities.

Pandrinath Mandir - Located in the heart of the city, this temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, who is considered to be the protector of the universe. It is believed that Lord Krishna incarnated on the 8th day of Amavasya(dark fortnight) in the month of shravana, considered holy by hindus, when Dwapar yuga(era) ended. Pandrinath is another name of Lord Krishna. This temple is a marvel of architectural. Particularly on the doors of the temple, you can see complicated artistry done beautifully.

Ahilyeshwar Mandir - This is again a Lord Shiva temple. But it also has a shrine of Lord Rama. You can see intricate designs and artistry bearing testimony to Marathi architecture in this temple. It has a very calm and soothing atmosphere and you must visit this temple after a busy day to calm your nerves. Here, aartis take place twice a day. Timings are 8 am and 6 pm. It is just 1 km from the center of the city.

Omkareshwar Mandir - Two sacred rivers, Narmada and Kaveri join here and this temple is situated at their confluence. That's the reason it is regarded as the most pristine temple in Maheshwar. Legend has it that once Danavas(demons) had defeated Devtas(Deities) in war. Lord Shiva then took the form of Omkareshwar to defeat Danavas. It is situated on an island named Mandhata, which is 59 km(37 mi) from the city. This island is in the shape of Om.

Raj Rajeshwara Mandir - Again a temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, this is very close to Ahilyeshwar temple in the center of the city. This temple has 11 akhand jyoti deepak or eternal light lamps which are considered very sacred. Devotees offer ghee as offering, which is used to light these lamps. You will find more rich and intricate architecture in Raj Rajeshwara temple.

Ek Mukhi Datta Mandir - Also called Shiva Datta Dham and built on 30 acres area, this is a newely constructed temple in Sahastradhara on the bank of Narmada river. Sahstradhara means 100 streams and it is so called because at this point river Narmada breaks into many small streams and flows forcefully. The main attractions in this temple are very beautiful idols of Lord Ek Mukhi Datta, Maa Narmada and Lord Ganesha. An adventure water sports center is also supposed to come up here.

OTHER ATTRACTIONS IN MAHESHWAR - 

Ahilyabai Fort or Holkar Fort and Palace - The most powerful female ruler of Holkars lived here and she also used it as her administrative headquarter during her rule. Situated just 1 km from the city center, this structural marvel will transport you to the ancient times. This palace is an example of the prime of Maratha architecture. Currently it is being used as a guest house. It also houses weavers cooperative society in it's premises.


A view of Ahilya Bai Fort at Maheshwar
AHILYA BAI PALACE

Narmada Ghat - Built on the bank of Narmada river, it is around 1 km from the center of the city. Ghat is a flight of steps leading down to the river. Narmada ghat has lush green surroundings. This is one of the many places constructed by Rani Ahilya Bai. It is a wonderful spot for a picnic. Devotees come here to take bath in the holy river.


Narmada Ghat at Maheshwar
NARMADA GHAT

Rajwada - This architectural marvel was again constructed by Rani Ahilya Bai. But apart from amazing Maratha architecture, it also has French and Mughal inspired designing trends. A tall statue of Rani Ahilya Bai, right at the entrance is a major attraction in Rajwada. It is located just 1 km from the center of the city.



Rajwada at Maheshwar
RAJWADA

Rehwa Society - This is heaven for shoppers. Here you will find whole variety of hand woven Maheshwari sarees. This society was found about 250 yrs ago by Rani Ahilya Bai.

MAJOR FESTIVALS - There are some festivals which are celebrated with a lot of devotion and excitement in Maheshwar. Major among them are Nag Panchami, Gudi Padava, Teej(onset of Hindu new year).

Mahamrityunjay Rath Yatra - Swadhyay Bhavan Ashram located in Mahalakshmi Nagar organises a Mahamrityunjay Rath Yatra ( Chariot rally) every year. It is held on the Sunday just preceding Makar Sakranti( that is the Sunday just before Sun is about to enter Capricorn) which culminates on the bank of river Narmada. First of it's kind in the world, it is held for the welfare of humanity.

Mahashivaratri - Considered to be the most sacred day in Hindu mythology, this is believed to be the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Shiva ling is bathed with milk, honey, curd and sugar etc. It is believed that we are freed of our past sins by Lord Shiva by worshiping him. It is considered a very significant day for women, both married as well as unmaried, who observe fast to please Parvati. They believe that Maa Parvati will bless married women with a long and prosperous married life and unmarried women would be blessed with a husband like Lord Shiva who they consider as an example of ideal husband.

HOW TO REACH - Maheshwar can be reached easily by air, rail and road.

Air - The nearest airport is Indore, which is about 91 kms(57 mi) from here. All the major cities of India are connected to Indore airport. From here you can hire taxis to reach Maheshwar.

Rail - The nearest railway station is Barwah, which is about 39 km(25 mi) from Maheshwar. Again, you can hire taxis from here. But this is not a major rail station, so all trains do not stop here. The nearest major rail stations are Indore and Khandwa. Khandwa is 118 km(74 mi) from Maheshwar. Again, you can hire taxi from there.

Road - It is well connected by road to all the major cities of Madhya Pradesh. You will easily get taxis from there to this place. State run buses are also available from Indore, Barwah and Khandwa to reach Maheshwar.

WHERE TO STAY - There are many hotels in Maheshwar to suit all budgets and you can choose one as per your requirement. 

The best time to visit Maheshwar is October to March. After March, weather becomes hot and it becomes a little uncomfortable to roam around in the city.

HAPPY TRAVELLING!!




4 comments:

  1. Looks like a great place to visit, thanks for sharing this!

    ReplyDelete
  2. As usual there's some great content here Vismal! I like that include sites AND festivals. I would love to visit during the Chariot Rally. Sounds so exciting. Please continue with your excellent travel guides!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Carrie. Glad you liked the post. There are so many more places and festivals in India. Keep reading my blog to know about them.

      Delete

Would love to know your thoughts on this post.