An introduction of Maheshwar
Maheshwar, a temple town on the bank of River Narmada, mentioned in the great Hindu epics ‘Ramayana & Mahabharata’, a glorious city which was known as ‘Mahishmati’, was the capital of southern Avanti at the time of King Kartavirya Arjun. A city famous for its temple, bathing ghats, mighty fort complex which stand in quiet beauty and splendor mirrored in the river Narmada and obviously its exquisitely woven ‘Maheshwari sarees, revived to its ancient position of importance by the Holkar queen Rani Ahilyabai of Indore, who transformed this land into a land of tranquility and prosperity. These sariees are famous throughout India for their excellent floral designs. Maheshwar is a town situated at the geological coordination of 22.11° North and 75.35° east, in the Khargone district of Central Indian State, Madhya Pradesh. The town lies on the north bank of the Holy River Narmada. The commercial capital of the state Indore is at the distance of 91 km from Maheshwar.
Figure 1: Ahilya Fort
A glorious city from a very old time, Maheshwar’s temples and massive fort-complex presents an unusual charm of architectural grandeur. The city opt its name ‘Maheshwar’ from the great Lord ‘Shiva’, a grand lord in Hindu religion, which literally meant to be the abode of Lord Shiva. The ancient name of the city was Mahishmati, later it changed into Maheshwar. It sustained rich art and cultural heritage under it. Tourism and religion also hold immense significance in and around Maheshwar. Some of the ancient Temples here are Shiv Jyotirlingam Mandleshwar, Bawangaja and Mandav. Towards 65 kms east of Maheshwar lies Onkareshwar temple, which is one of the 12 most popular Shiv Lingam temples in India. Charmed to its natural, spiritual & historical beauty, many Bollywood & Tamil movies have been shot here like Ashoka, Tulsi. The place witnessed some renowned names of Bollywood, The place also being visited by many foreign nationals round the year, those having strong interest in Indian art & spiritual values.
Besides, Maheshwar is known for its spiritual importance, which is mentioned as Mahishmati in the famous Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. In addition to all these, Maheshwar is popular for making unique and delicate cotton and silk blend handloom saris. It is recognized for its huge production of Maheshwari sarees and this makes this popular tourist destination a perfect paradise for shopaholics.
Facts about Maheshwar
- Maheshwar is a centre of Handloom textile since 5th century and a home to one of the best handloom fabric traditions
- The city has a number of Shiva temples that throngs plenty of pilgrims from all across the world
- The scenic beauty of the town and Narmada River is captured in loads of Bollywood and Tamil Movies.
Maheshwar is a holy destination but in addition to it one can have many other activities to do like boating, enjoying heritage buildings like fort, palace, cenotaphs, ghats. There are about 28 ghats in Maheshwar out of which important ones are Ahilya-ghat, Mahila-ghat, Peshwa-ghat and Phanse-ghat. Out of number of important and small temples, ghats, cenotaphs, here we have tried to cover some of the important ones for convenience of tourists:
- Maheshwar Fort: It is a 16th century fort and is famous for its elegant architecture & spectacular view from Narmada River. It is located on the bank of river from where one can enjoy best view of river, boating, sunrise and sunset. This place was constructed by a greatest queen Ahalya Bai Holkar and was her residential place, a queen India ever had seen. Click for More.
- Ek Mukhi Dutta Temple: It is also called Shiva Datta Dham and one of the newly constructed temple in Sahastradhara, Jalkote at Maheshwar. It is spread over an area of 30 acres where as temple area is 10000 sq. feet.
Figure 2: Ek Mukhi Dutta Temple
- Jwaleshwar Temple: Adjacent to Narmada River, Jaleshwar temple is located on a hill-top. It is about 3 kms. away from Ahilya ghat and can be reached by walk adjacent to river.
- Kaleshwar Mahadev Temple: It is temple at confluence of Maheshwar river which joins Narmada river at this point. This temple is dedicated to lord Shiva. One needs to cross the river to reach this temple. It is located in deserted area so can be termed as fortified temple where tourist rarely visit
- Sahastrarjun Temple: It is also called Sri Somavamsha Sahasrarjuna temple. Original temple was built in 2nd century but was demolished in Muslim attacks. Later it was rebuilt in 13 century. Sometimes it is also referred as Sah-bahu temple.
- Rajrajeshwari Temple: It is a lord Shiva temple, one among many temples in Maheshwar. It is a temple of eleven akhand jyoti deepak (eternal flame lamp) and known for nice architecture and sculpture work on structure. Temple is close to Ahilyeshwara temple.
- Baneshwar Mahadev Temple: It is a small temple on island at Narmada river. In middle of river it can be visited through boat-ride. It is believed that a heavenly line from North-star passes through this temple to the center of Earth. This single-celled shrine, rising atop on a rock was built by Anand Raj Parmar in 5th century.
How to Reach
By Air: The nearest airport to reach Maheshwar is the Indore Airport, which is located at the distance of 91 km.
By Train: Madhya Pradesh State is well connected by Indian railways network. Most of the major railway tracks passes through this state due to its central location. All important cities and tourist destinations are linked with direct trains to Madhya Pradesh like: Jaipur, Agra, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Ranthambore, Udaipur, Ahmedabad, Puri, Haridwar, Varanasi etc. There are number of railway junctions inside Madhya Pradesh like Itarsi, Katni, Bina, Indore, Ujjain, Gwalior, Chhindwara, Dewas, Khandwa etc. Recently luxury tourist train called “Maharaja Express” has been started which passes through Madhya Pradesh station like Gwalior, Khajuraho and Umaria (Bandhavgarh).
By Train: Madhya Pradesh State border touches 5 states: Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Chattisgarh & Maharashtra. All these states are well linked from cities and towns of Madhya Pradesh by road. Some major National Highways like NH-7, NH-12A, NH-25, NH-26, NH-27, NH-69, NH-3, NH-92, NH-12 etc. passes through this state. Major tourist destinations close to Madhya Pradesh, linked by Road are: Agra, Jaipur, Varanasi, Tadoba National Park, Ranthambore, Raipur, Vishakhapattnam, Ajanta, Ellora, Ahmedabad, Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Mount Abu, Chambal Sanctuary, Lucknow etc
 Maheshwar, available online at: http://www.madhya-pradesh-tourism.com/tourist-attractions/maheshwar.html
 “Twenty Years Perspective Plan of Tourism for the State of Madhya Pradesh”, February, 2003, JPS Associates Consultants, New Delhi
 “The Tourim Policy”, Govt. of MP, Tourism Department, available online at: http://madhyapradeshtourism.gov.in/Downloads/TourismPolicy.pdf