The Land of Ahilya
The Land of Ahilya
The heritage and temple town of Maheshwar on the banks of the river Narmada is blessed with divine temples like Kaleshwar, Rajarajeshwara, Vithaleshwara and Ahileshwar temples. One can imagine the town’s significance given that it finds mention in the mythological epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Maheshwar is blessed with a rich history.
The landscape around Maheshwar is typical of the Nimar plains – hot in the summers and warm during the winters. This undulating land is composed of iron-rich, fertile red soil, which itself is derived from the ancient lava rocks that once covered the region. This area has been home to humans for millennia. In fact, Maheshwar is one of the few places where historical continuity can be traced from the pre-historic to the modern times.
The glory days of Maheshwar ended with the decline of the Paramara Empire. From then on, sovereigns struggled for supremacy over Maheshwar. Sultan Ahmed I of Gujarat conquered the city in 1422. It changed hands once again in 1601 when it was taken over by the Mughal Emperor Akbar. The death or Aurangzeb in 1707 ended the long Mughal rule over Maheshwar and much of Malwa and they were replace by the Marathas under the Peshwas.
Peshwa Baji Rao I gifted Indore and its surrounding regions, which included the ancient towns of Imkareshwar and Maheshwar, to Malhar Rao Holkar in 1773, in recognition of his significant role in the Maratha conquest of Malwa. When Ahilya Bai, the widowed daughter-in-law of Makhar Rao, succeeded him to the throne in 1767, she chose Maheshwar as her capital. During her reign, Maheshwar rose to prominence again, becoming the centre of politics and trade in Central India.
The best time to visit Maheshwar is from October to March. Shivratri and Namrada Jayanti are celebrated here with gusto and draws pilgrims from all over the country. The Panch Kosi Yatra, a 5-day long pilgrimage along Narmada`s banks, attracts about 10,000 devotees each March.
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