Holkar Fort, built in the 18th century is an amazing tourist attraction in Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh. Located on the beautiful banks of river Narmada, Holkar Fort is also famous as Ahilya Fort. The Ahilya Fort was then the residence of the queen of Malwa, Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar.
Tourists, in the fort’s premises, can see various Chhatris and a seat which the queen used to occupy during her stay in the fort. This ancient monument also consists of temples dedicated to several incarnations of lord Shiva. The fort owes its appreciation to Queen Ahilya Bai Holkar who was a powerful ruler and had made efforts to protect her kingdom.
Presently, the fort is a heritage hotel maintained by Prince Shivaji Rao Holkar, the son of the last Maharaja of Indore. The hotel was, however, founded by Prince Richard Holkar. With its splendid architecture of the Maratha period, this fort stands apart as among the prior preferences for tourists.
The Narmada Ghat was built in the 18th century by the then ruler of Holkar state, Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar. It is believed that Narmada is the holiest of all the sacred rivers in India. There are also sayings about Ganga taking the form of a black cow at night and coming to cleanse herself in Narmada when she feels unclean.
The Narmada Ghat is always crowded with devotees who visit the Ghat in order to take a holy bath. The view of the river from this Ghat is breathtaking. Since it flows through the entire state, Narmada holds an inseparable position in the hearts of the people of Madhya Pradesh.
Distinct in itself, Narmada Ghat has been a sacred part of Maheshwar since ever. Tourists visiting Maheshwar are bound to get amazed by the fact that every day there come thousands of people who consider bathing in Narmada as a gesture of extreme devotion and sacredness.
The Rajarajeswara Temple is situated on the calm and serene bank of river Narmada. This temple is one of the many temples consigned to Lord Shiva. This temple lies in proximity to the Ahilyeshwar Temple. A beautiful stone paved way leads to this temple from the Ahilyeshwar Temple. From the Rajarajeshwara Temple one can see many Shivalingas and idols of Nadi on the Ghat of Narmada river.
This splendid temple of Lord Shiva is visited by thousands every year to seek blessing of the residing deity. The temple is famous for the eleven eternal lamps or Akhand Jyoti Deepak that it houses. The peculiarity of Akhand Jyoti Deepak is that these lamps are not allowed to lit out.
An adequate amount of ghee is poured into the lamps to keep them eternally lighted. Just like the other temple at Maheshwar, this temple too displays brilliant architectural design on the walls. The ceiling inside the sanctum sanctorum is decked with multi-faceted mirrors.
The Ghats of Maheshwar are sites which are never empty. Alongside the sacred Narmada river, the major Ghats of Maheshwar are mainly Peshwa, Ahilya and Fenese Ghats. These Ghats are visited by numerous devotees every day who spend hours sitting by the river side. A bath in the holy Narmada is a must for devotees.
These Ghats also have some exceptional stone carvings depicting several memorials. These carvings are efforts to commemorate the Satis of Lord Shiva, rather, that of "Maheshwar". Along the banks of these Ghats, there stand various temples dedicated to Lord Shiva which purify the environment with feelings of extreme devotion.
Devotees occupy the banks either to bathe in the holy river or to spend time along the riverside. These Ghats are therefore considered sacred since the time they existed.
Kasrawad, located 17 km away from NH-3, is known along with Maheshwar for weaving colourful cotton saris, with designs distinct and attractive. Kasrawad is basically a shopping hub. Kasrawad is fast developing with markets rich in local crafts. Tourists, after visiting sites in Maheshwar can head towards Kasrawad for relaxing and enjoying the local culture of this small town.
Few attractions of Kasrawad include the Bhawani Mata Temple and Baba ki Mazar situated on Gangaleshwar Parvat and the ancient Kailask Kund. The winters of Kasrawad are filled with colours during the celebrations of the Gangaleshwar fair where hundreds to visitors throng in every year. Kasrawad is therefore a small town ensuring tourists a peaceful stay with fun and relaxation.
Mandaleshwar is situated in Khargone district in the state of Madhya Pradesh. It is a small but noteworthy town of historical as well as religious importance. Mandaleshwar is located alongside the sacred river Narmada. Attractions in Mandaleshwar include temples like the Kashi Visheshwara, Ram temple and Ganga-Zira.
The Shree Datta Temple and Chappan-Dev Temple also add to the list. There are several other historically relevant places like Hathani, Sahastradhra, Ramkund and many more. Since it was a kingdom long back, the monuments are worth seeing. Mandaleshwar folks widely celebrate festivals like Holi, Narmada Jayanti, Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, etc.
Ram Ghat in Mandaleshwar is another famous site in the town. Mandaleshwar has developed a lot in recent times. With a blend of historical structures and modern development, the town appears distinct from other neighbouring towns in the district.
Kaleshwar Temple, located on the northern shore of the holy river Narmada, is a shrine constructed in the 12th century AD. Kaleshwar, the deity worshipped in this temple is considered as the form of Lord Shiva. The wonderful temple of Kaleshwar stands on an elevated platform, which is an unusual shrine in glittering red colour.
Tourists can witness wonderful vertical projections enhancing the upward pointing spiral domes of the temple. The Kaleshwar Temple has an eye soothing premises of lush greenery that provides the devotees with a feeling of extreme divinity.
As the destructive incarnation or “avatar” of Lord Shiva is worshipped here, Kaleshwar Temple is unique among all the temples at Maheshwar. The shrine, the interiors and the surrounded greenery – it’s complete in its efforts of attracting tourists.
The Ahilyeshwar Temple is yet again a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in Maheshwar. This temple lies on the banks of the sacred Narmada river. This temple also enshrines a deity of Lord Rama. The Ahilyeshwar Temple exhibits the characteristics of the temples of Maheswar as well. The excellent workmanship and the architecture of the domes and spires of this temple are an example of this.
The premise of this temple showcases extremely beautiful carvings of Maratha soldiers and elephants that draw attention of any visitors visiting this temple. The Mandap of the temple is adorned with impressive embellishment.
The overall ambience of the temple presents a picture of peace and purity and especially its nearness to the holy river Narmada. The timing of darshan in the Ahilyeshwar Temple is between 7 in the morning to 6:30 in the evening. Moreover, Aratis are performed at 8 am and 6 pm.
Jaleshwar Temple stands out as an important temple dedicated to Lord Shiva at Maheshwar. The temple houses a deity worshipped as God of Water. The Jaleshwar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and was constructed based on the legend that Lord Shiva protected the earth from River Ganga’s impact when she fell on earth from heaven. The temple is the abode of a “lingam” that is being worshipped since a very long time.
The architecture is undoubtedly exemplary. The temple has towering spires. The carvings are unique. The exceptions are the carved overhanging balconies which give the temple a different look altogether. There, within its premises, prevails a peaceful environment apt for the devotees to worship Lord Shiva as the God of Water.
Swaadhyaaya Bhavan Ashram is visited by hundreds of devotees very year. It is located at the starting point of the Mahaamrityunjaya Rath Yatra which is held every year at Masheshwar. This Rath Yatra is conducted to commemorate the legendary doctor Ayurved Murti Bhagwaan Sadaashiv Mahaamrityunjaya.
This Rath Yatra was first started by Shri Harvilas Aasopaa, and it is first of its kind. It was initiated for social welfare. The rath Yatra is still conducted in memory of this primordial doctor and to seek his blessings.
Pandarinath Temple is an important temple at Maheshwar. Unlike other temples of this place, this temple is devoted to Lord Vishnu. According to local beliefs, Lord Krishna incarnated as Pandarinath on the eighth day of the New Moon day (Krishna Paksha or dark fortnight) in the Holy Hindu month of Sravan. This happened at the end of Dwapara Yuga.
The Puranas mention the worship of Lord Vishnu in the form of Pandarinath or Lord Vitthala. Moreover, the famous Vaishnava Saints who lived during the period 13th to 17th Century have popularized the worship of Pandarinath through their poems, kirtans and teachings to the common mass.
The Pandarinath Temple is embellished with intricate carvings of idols from the Puranas. Exquisite carvings can also be seen on the overhanging balconies of the temple. Eccellent artistry can be seen on the doors of the temple which are adorned with miniature carvings.
Tilbhandeshwar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva is known for its architecture exhibiting beautifully constructed doors and balconies. The most distinct feature of this temple is the increasing size of the idol of the deity residing in the temple. The festival of Maha Shivratri is celebrated in the premises of the temple, and this festival is witnessed by a huge crowd every year.
In the Tilbhandeshwar Temple festivals like Makar Sankranti and Annakoot are also enthusiastically celebrated. Tilbhandeshwar Temple like all other famous temples in Maheshwar is situated near the sacred river Narmada, with its reflection clearly visible on the river’s water.
The tourists are often amazed by the beautiful architecture prevailing on the walls and doors of the temple. The balconies are another masterpiece of the temple. The devotees of Lord Shiva never return from Maheshwar without visiting Tilbhandeshwar temple.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple is another renowned temple occupying the sacred land of Maheshwar. It is dedicated to the Jyotirlinga form of Lord Shiva. Queen Ahilya Bai Holkar built this temple which displays astounding architecture and beauty.
It is believed that once devotees offer prayer to the holy Jyotirlinga residing in the temple, they are relieved from all pains and troubles in life. This temple is one reason of generating tourism in Maheshwar. The darshan of the Jyotirlinga is considered very sacred. Devotees after getting a glimpse of the Jyotirlinga experience righteousness in life.
The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is undoubtedly among the highest spiritual structures of the country since time immemorial. The presence of the temple purifies the nearby environment. The temple is visited by hundreds of people daily. The pleasant weather of Maheshwar adds to its favour in witnessing devotees all over the world visiting the sacred Kashi Vishwanath Temple.