Overlooking the north bank of the mighty Narmada River, 91km southwest of Indore, Maheshwar was the site of King Kartvirajun’s ancient capital, Mahishmati, a city mentioned in both the Mahabharata and Ramayana. In the eighteenth century, Maharani Ahilya Bai built a palace and several temples here, giving the town a new lease of life. Today, it’s a prominent port of call on the Narmada Hindu pilgrimage circuit, but well off the tourist trail.

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