Maheshwar: Maheshwar is perhaps one of the most beautiful palace-temple-cities that I have ever seen. What made Maheswar so special to me was how the exquisite carvings and the grandeur and magnificence of the palace was twinned with the serenity of the setting.
It was a glorious city at the dawn of Indian civilization when it was called Mahishmati, capital of King Kartivarjun. This temple town on the banks of the river Narmada finds mention in the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Revived to its ancient position of importance by the Holkar queen Rani Ahilyabai of Indore. Maheshwar's temples and mighty fort-complex stand in quiet beauty, mirrored in the river below.
A number of Ghats line the river, flights of steps lead down from the sandy banks to the river, and through the day a kaleidoscope of rural India can be seen here, the pilgrims and holy men who sit here in silent meditation, the rows of graceful women who carry gleaming brass pots down to the holy, life giving river, and the ferry loads of villagers who cross and re-cross these surging waters. Lining the banks, too, are poignant memorials in stone to the satis of Maheshwar, who perished on the funeral pyres of their husbands. With their soaring spires, the many-tiered temples of Maheshwar are distinguished by their carved overhanging balconies and their intricately worked doorways.
Introduced into Maheshwar years ago by Rani Ahilyabai, Maheshwari Sarees are renowned throughout India for their unique weave. Woven mostly in cotton, the typical Maheshwari saree has a plain body and sometimes stripes or checks in several variations. The mat border designs have a wide range in leaf and floral patterns. The pallu is particularly distinctive with five stripes, three colored and two white alternating, running along its width. These sarees have reversible borders, known as bugdi.