Maheshwar in Madhya Pradesh is a temple town on the bank of river Narmada.  It lies in north-west of Madhya Pradesh state in Central India. It is a ancient Hindu pilgrimage town whose reference comes in the great Hindu epics ‘Ramayana & Mahabharata’ as a glorious city which was known as ‘Mahishmati’, was the capital of southern Avanti at the time of King Kartavirya Arjun. Maheshwar is famous for its glorious history on Holkar dynasty who ruled over Malwa region for many centuries and maintained the dignity of this region. Now a days, Maheshwar is a popular pilgrimage destination with river bank temples, bathing ghats, glorious fort complex which stand in quiet beauty and splendor mirrored in the river Narmada. In addition to this its exquisitely woven ‘Maheshwari sarees and handloom industry is popular among tourists. 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 Madhya Pradesh. It is a Narmada river-bank city located on north bank. The commercial capital of the state Indore is at the distance of 91 km from Maheshwar. 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.


Foundation of Maheshwar city was laid by the King Mahishman of the Som dynasty. Various scriptures and Ballads make a mention of the historical facts of this place, which is even known to be the arena for different battles that were fought during the periods of Ramayana and Mahabharata, The history of Maheshwar revealing the fact that this place has an ample status in religious obsessions, with many myths those interconnected with this place to other epical tails. Maheshwar is built in the place of Shastrarjun Kshatriya’s ancient city. It was a capital of Southern Avanti in ancient time of King Katavirya Arjuna, who is mentioned in Mahabharata and Ramayana Epic. Mahishmanti was the capital city of the southern kingdom of Avanti, whose others names are Janpad and Nimad. Mahishmati was a very prosperous city and had connections with other popular ancient centers like Avantika, Patliputra, Paithan, Kashi (Varanasi), Bhadauch, Kutch etc. It had itself become a popular centre for spiritual, religious, administrative, literature, and cultural activities. There is a fort at Maheshwar that was constructed during the rule of the mughal King Akbar. The mughals were replaced by the Peshawars and in 1767 the Queen Ahilyabai of the Holkar kingdom made Maheshwar her capital city. Her rule continued up to 1795, since she defeated by British, the capital was moved to Indore, Maheshwar is now a pilgrimage and many tourists from across the globe come here to have a look over stunning Mheshwar Fort which soars over the Narmada River, numerous temples and the picturesque Ghats.


One day the king along with his 500 wives went to the river for having good time with them, he was requested behalf of his wives that there were not enough place to roam around freely and playing some games then he stopped the mighty river Narmada with his 1000 arms. Ravana was flying by and when he seen beneath a dry river bed, he thought it could be the idle place to worship Lord Shiva, he landed in that dry place and started praying and making Lord Shiva’s sand Lingam. During all his hard work to built lingam and praying soul deeply, the King Shastrarjun and his all wives done and planning to go back, while leaving the place Shastrarjun let the water flow. And then mighty water stream of Narmada swept Ravana along with his Shiva lingam messing up his prayers, angry Ravana got up and challenged Shastrarjun, The mighty Sahastrarjuna with the 1000 arms pinned Ravana to the ground. Then he placed 10 lamps on his heads and one on his hand. After tying up Ravana, Sahastrarjuna dragged him home and tied him up to the cradle pole of his son. A humiliated Ravana stayed prisoner until his release was secured.

Another tale correlate upper incident in little different way, where the King Sahastrarjuna was bathing with his wives in the river when some people around challenged him to stop the waters flow by his thousands hands effort and he did it effortlessly, but by doing this the water level of the mighty River Narmada growing up, the Ravana was doing his prayers and meditation nearby and so he became furious as he got disrupted. He challenged Sahastrarjuna for the battle and hence there were a gigantic fight between them, since then this place is marked for Ravana’s defeat and capture.

One another tale added that, there was a king in Maheshwar named Nila, who blessed with a beautiful daughter, the God of Fire Agni fell in love with her and a secret love story began between them. God Agni who assumed the form of a Brahmin to hide this secret to the king, started meeting with the princess every day, when the king learnt about it, he became angry and ordered Agni to be punished. But then Agni assumed his true form and threatened that he will destroy everything if someone would try to harm him or his beloved princess. The king Nila begged forgiveness and since then girls of Maheshwari rather became unacceptable to others as wives, thereupon incident stated that God Agni blessed them sexual liberty so they may take any Man they pleased to.


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. Their 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 arrange some of the important place to visit in Maheshwar:
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.
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.
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. Some times 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. Outside
Royal Ghats: To fulfill the un-impressive look of Ahilyabai Holkar's cenotaph, her daughter-in-law Krishnabai gave special interest in building these impressive royal ghats. In most of the Maheshwar images, you will find pictures of these ghats from where tourists usually do boatride in Narmada river.
Ahilya Mata’s Cenotaph: Main building of cenotaph is simple but its surrounding is even more beautiful and shows better sculpture work as it was developed later by her daughter-in-law. She commissioned two artisans brothers Bhujdar adn Gajdar to redesigh and construct both the retaining wall and the new cenotaph. In court their is cenotaph of Vithoji Rao also which was Holkar prince. In middle of the court it was Islamic looking domed structure. One of the gate of this court opens towards river Narmada.
Bakawan: It is a popular village, across the Narmada river, at Maheshwar region. It is popular for making and supply of Shivalingam to various places in India and even outside India. It is the only village in the world which succeeds in making of Narmadeshwar Shivalingams. Their is special religious importance of Narmadaeshwar shivalinga as it is made from the stones found on this river. In addition to this it is also popular for the statue of Lord Balrama, located in front of Lord Rama temple. Here also we can find the religious work done by rani Ahilya Bai Holkar.  
Bhawani Mata Mandir : Bhavani mata mandir is located on city center, close to bus stand thus easy to locate and visit.
• Boating : While doing sightseeing in Maheshwar, we highly recommend boatride on Narmada river. Here width of river is very good thus boatride will be more enjoyable. Through boatride we can do better photography of Maheshwar fort and ghats. Similarly their is a Baneshwar temple at mid of river which can also be explored through boatride. Here motor boats and manual boat options are available at reasonable rate thus morning or evening boatride is an enjoyable experience.  
Kashi Vishwanath Temple : It is replica of original Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga temple of Varanasi. It was built by rani Ahilya Bai Holkar. It is located along with the ghat.
Jaleshwar 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 need 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.
Sahastradhara: It is about 2 kms from main Maheshwar ghat or Maheshwar fort. It can be reached after 40 minutes boatride from main ghat area. Due to volcanic rocks presence, here water flow splits in to various channels, all flows in same direction which gives impression as if hundreds of narrow rivers flowing in same direction thus its name is called Sahastradhara. Sahastra means one hundred and dhara means flowing water.
Ahilyeshwar Temple: It is a magnificently carved temple, located on the bank of Narmada river. It is counted among beautiful temples in Maheshwar in which engraving stone work is superb. It is located on the Ahilyeshwar ghat. It shows 9 avtaars on its 9 pillars, keeping Kalyug as vacant.


Maheshwar is a religious township thus here all Hindu festivals are celebrated aggressively in most cultured way. As this region was mostly under Holkar dynasty, hailing from Maharashtra thus Marathi cultural touch can be well understood in celebration of fairs and festivals.

By Air:
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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. Their 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 state: 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.



Though Maheshwar can be visited throughout the year, but it can be a splendid experience during the months of October to Mid of March as the water level of Narmada River remains within normal, during summers it might be little unpleasant which is between March to June the temperature can be a searing experience, rest of time the place remain cool and hassles free. The place can be paid a visit during the months of February to March, as during this time some of main festival of Lord Shiva being celebrated here in their full charm.



Maheshwar lies in Malwa region with is comparatively arid region. Here vegetation is not dense thus gives impression of dry region  but it doesn't means that land is not fertile. Actually this region received healthy monsoon but vegetation is not so dense. Here land is also fertile thus farmers are with good status.


Being a important tourism region, Madhya Pradesh state is visited by tourist through out the year. Broadly we can divide Madhya Pradesh tourism in 3 parts. Heritage tourism is active in Northern part of state which is more rocky and destinations comes under this region are Gwalior, Shivpuri, Orchha, Khajuraho, Panna, Chanderi, Datia etc. All these destination offers major palaces, forts, temples, cenotaphs of state. Best time to visit this region is from October to April as during this time climate remain pleasant and good.


Southern part, south-west region and some of the Northern region of Madhya Pradesh are rich in Wildlife which includes Tigers, Leopards, Sloth Bear, Hard-ground Barasingha, Indian Gaur, Wild Dog (Dholes) and atleast more than 250 bird species.



One can have good accommodation facility through out Madhya Pradesh state weather you are in Jungles, heritage sites, pilgrim sites or in a hill station. It is the Madhya Pradesh State where all 04 luxury safari lodges of Taj Group is located with world class facilities. You can find 5-star category hotels in Gwalior, Indore, Bhopal cities.


As we have already specifed that states Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra & Chattisgarh shares their state border with Madhya Pradesh so one can go to any of these states for tourism & holidays.

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