Home > Indore getaway, Travel > Maheshwar – a forgotten capital

Maheshwar – a forgotten capital

Lest I forget, here is the tripsheet of our latest jaunt from college. November 20 is the date. It is yet another wintry Sunday. I have an early breakfast and gather the other two. I also borrow a camera for our trip. His Pulsar and my Splendor are our trusted companions. It is 10am by the time we start. Curse our luck, my bike has a flat tyre. I ride the deflated bike to the railway gate, where we get it repaired. A big nail has made the tube useless and we get a new tube. It is the third in the life of my bike. After an hour or so, we start for our chosen place. It is now quite hot by now. The vagaries of extreme weather are visible in our city. We have a few grapes before we start one more memorable ride.

Maheshwar is our chosen picnic spot. Google tells us that it is about 100km away from here, 15 km away from NH3 (Agra-Bombay AB road) at Dhamnod. We fill petrol about 4km away from Rau. At Mhow, we take the by-pass road and find it full of lorries. The roads on this part of the country are definitely not worth writing about. It’s indeed strange that they call themselves NHs. We pass Mhow soon and stop at the lake past it. We whizz past ITC echoupal on our way. Our next stop is Manpur village, about 20km away from Mhow. We have tea and ask our way to Maheshwar. We are not even half-way, though. All the usual guides say that there is only one route. But our teawallah and another guy who looked like a typical village president (?) tell us there is one more route, which is better than NH3.

Never the ones to miss taking the road less traveled, we ventured on via the Narmada Project road from Manpur to some village. This is the same route we had taken to the Sitala Mata waterfall in September. We go past the right run to the cascade and motor along. The road is definitely not wide, but there is a lake along and quite a few pleasant sights. The road is lined with trees on both sides and we are enjoying the experience. I wish that it should have been raining. The countryside would make for a much better viewing experience if that were the case. We meander along the secluded road, with hardly any one for company. We find a medium climb coming our way and ride up the hillock to come to a gate which says “Private road” or some such sign. We clarify with a watchman that we are on the right track. There is a pressure tank of the Narmada project here. This place is also called Wanchoo point, one popular spot for the militarymen from Mhow. In spite of the fact that it has not rained for more than two months, this point looks green. By the sheer fact of its height, it indeed is a nice place to spend some quiet time admiring the sheer delight of the Malwa plateau.

Now starts the descent. We find a few big pipes down the mountain. Maybe, there is a dam somewhere. There is no need to ride the bike now. The road carries the bike. After a few winding turns, we get to the plains where it is really hot. It is more than a hour and a half. We ride fast till we reach the Badwah-Maheshwar/Dhamnod road. Here we take a right turn for our destination. This road completes the circuit. Indore to Badwah (on to Omkareshwar), Badwah to Maheshwar, Maheshwar to Mandu (via Dhamnod) and Mandu to Indore (back via Dhar). These four places make up all the well-known tourist spots within 100km south of Indore. You don’t have to touch Mhow too. On the same route, we stumble upon Mandaleshwar, another historic town on the banks of the Narmada. Taking the advice of a local, we do not stop and proceed to Maheshwar about 8km away.

We are famished after an hour of non-stop riding in the sun. We start to see few ads for the famed Maheshwari handloom sarees now. By 1.30pm we get to the Maheshwar bus stand and ask our way to the Ahilya Fort, our first spot for the day. We ride through the narrow road through the village and go up the road to the fort. Laboo’s cafe is a prominent eatery just in front of the Fort. A helpful tourist guide offers his services, though we decline it. We have Chota drinks at the cool drink bar outside. On the owner’s tip, we want to have our food near the bus-station. We have vegetarian North Indian food and come back to the fort. It is about 2.30pm now. We see a few saree shops. I think of getting a saree for Abi, now that I will be going home in December.

Fort Ahilya is an expensive resort (for my standards), named as one of the New Year destinations in this week’s Sunday Express (No.21). We get inside the fort and walk to the Narmada. There is a decent crowd, enjoying a pleasant Sunday afternoon with home-made food. We get into the Rehwa society saree display center and I am pretty shocked with the prices they display. The sarees start at 1500 and the salwars at 800. I am tempted since they accept Visa cards. We are not allowed to see the weavers from arms’ length as there is no official to permit us. We take a couple of pictures from behind the grills. The society also offers us coupons for free boat rides on the Narmada. We are glad that we have come here. Anything free makes good sense. Our next halt is the Narmada boat ride. We have a delightful 30minute ride. The view of the ghats and the fort from the boat is scenic. We are not sure if we should tip the friendly boatman. We don’t.

We sit inside the fort and take a few pictures. We go to the Ram Mandir. I take a short nap, pretty tired from the ride and after. It is 4.15pm. We take a look at the handloom shop right at the entrance of the fort and feel that they are also priced on the higher side. So I put to rest any shopping plans and we start our long ride back. 4.30 is when we start. We now take the other road, hoping that we won’t have to take the steep climb up if we traverse back on the route we came by. 15km from Maheshwar is Dhamnod on NH3. We turn right to Mhow and Indore. We go non-stop. The wind gets chilly pretty sooner than we think.

6.30pm We stop at the ITC echoupal, planning to have a look. We see the food court. First is food, then comes shopping. We are surprised to see South Indian food. The first order is for the idlis and the vadas. The sambhar is amazingly tasty and I decide to dine there. One onion oothappam is all I need along with a glass of fine lemon juice. We step into the mall and find it stocked with a lot of things. We pick up a few including a football and ride back in the cold and the dark to our havens in the hostel. Thus ends the last trip of this term.

PS: Of course, you know where to find the pictures.

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Categories: Indore getaway, Travel
  1. sk
    14 December 2005 at 8:24 pm

    Hey
    Nice write up! Makes me want to go on a bike on a lonnnng drive!
    Hmm miss those here.
    Miss the sambhar vadai and idlis also.

  2. A
    14 December 2005 at 11:28 pm

    Ah, a trip :-)! I love these short trips with a sightseeing, eating and shopping thrown in. Looks like there are a lot of pretty places near Indore…

  3. 16 December 2005 at 6:29 pm

    Shyam also used to go ga-ga over your travelogues. I like them too. 🙂

    Will take a few leaves outta your book

  4. 16 December 2005 at 10:56 pm

    hey symphoney, did you see shyam’s latest adventure? am jealous 🙂

    a, yes there are pretty places everywhere!

    sk, seekiram bangalorele settle aaga vendiyadu daane.

  5. Jo
    17 December 2005 at 9:13 pm

    me thinking abt our nandhini hills trip and so many other shopping trips we made…Do you still have the same old hero honda bike?

  1. 17 January 2009 at 8:40 am

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