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Ahilya Fort, Maheshwar Overview

Perched on the edge of a cliff in the town of Maheshwar in Madhya Pradesh, and overlooking the pristine river Narmada in the background, Ahilya Fort, also known as Holkar Fort, is a 250 years old monument which was the capital of the Maratha Queen Ahilyabai Holkar between 1766 and 1795. Besides the striking Maratha architecture and the age old charm, the fort also offers magnificent views of the quaint Maheshwar town and its gorgeous ghats

Among the most impressive highlights of the monument are its magnificent chhatris, protruding balconies, well-groomed gardens and not to forget, the royal seat that was occupied by the queen herself in the ancient days. In addition to this, there are a number of temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and his incarnations within the fort premises itself. Currently, the fort has been converted into a luxuriant heritage hotel which is managed and maintained by Prince Shivaji Rao Holkar, the son of the last Maharaja of Indore. However, the hotel was founded by Prince Richard Holkar. You can also enjoy boating here at sundown, that is going to be one of the most mesmerising experiences of your life.

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Things to Do at Ahilya Fort

  1. Rehwa Society and the Ahilya School

    Rehwa Society and the Ahilya School is just a 5 minutes walk from the main hotel premises. It was established by the Holkars’ in the late 70s with the motive to restore the ancient traditional weaving craft of Maheshwar that was dying lately. Facilitated with wooden hand looms and dye machines, the centre provides employment to over 80 women weavers. 
  2. Lingarchan Pooja

    Lingarchan Pooja is one of the most popular activities at the Ahilya Fort. Reviving the age old tradition, the pooja still continues to be performed every morning at the breakfast area by 11 brahmins. There are at least a thousand tiny shivlings made out of earth who are then prayed to, to ask for protection of the Holkar state.
  3. Sunset Boating

    Sunset Boating  to the ancient Baneshwar Temple is one of the prime activities at the fort that is also included in the travel package. The tourists are carried down the River Narmada in a boat that is paddled with a hand pole. On the way, you can enjoy the sun setting in the distance and the horizon is lit up in shades of purple and orange. It is truly a sight worth cherishing. You can later have tea and float clay diyas in the river.
  4. Ahilya Organic Farm

    Ahilya Organic Farm is just a 10 minutes drive away from the fort. Sprawling over 15 acres, the farm produces vegetables and grows the livestock that is used by the in-house kitchen. You can have a little picnic of your own here and interact with the farmers.
  5. Village Walk

    You can take a boat ride to reach the two tiny villages near Ahilya Fort called the Naodatodi and Bothu. In contrast to the bustling lively town of Maheshwar, the sleepy villages can provide you the much needed rest and respite. You can walk through the villages and interact with the locals. And once you are done, the boats can take you back to the fort.
  6. Yoga

    You can also meditate and practice yoga within the fort premises. Daily yoga sessions are organized at the southwestern turret of the fort which are presided by yogini Niradhara, a certified Yoga Alliance teacher and Y.A.C.E.P.

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  7. Massage

    If you are visiting the Ahilya Fort and treating yourself with the luxury and the royal treatment, do not forget to pamper yourself with a massage. The massage section is situated near the Lingarchan area of the Ahilya Wada. There are masseurs for men and masseuses for women who can give you a traditional nimadi maalish.
  8. Moonlight River Promenade

    This one is especially meant for all the romantic couples out there. You can spend an hour with your loved one under the stars in the river. The boat is hand- poled and is surrounded by hundreds of flickering lamps and a couple of local musicians who play for you. 
  9. Dinner at Boleya Chattri

    You can also choose to have a romantic candlelight dinner in the garden of the royal Holkar nobles. You can reach here in a boat. The boatman will drop you off at Boleya Chattri, which is the gated gorgeous garden. And then you can enjoy a sumptuous vegetarian dinner amidst music candles and good vibes.

Property and Rooms at Ahilya Fort

  1. Poshak Vada

    The central courtyard of the Ahilya Fort that connects the guest service area, conference room and the library is called Poshak Vada. It is quadrangle in shape and was originally used to store important artefacts. The area houses six of the Princely category rooms. The rooms in this area are called Bulbul, Nobut Niwas, Champa, Kachnar, Gulmohar and Gwen Niwas.
  2. Lingarchan

    The Lingarchan section was initially used for the daily poojas and rituals that were performed by the 101 priests. Currently, it is shaded by a gorgeous tamarind tree and houses two very beautiful guest rooms called the Imli and the Neem which have river facing alcoves. The area also houses the massage treatment room.
  3. Darbaar Wada

    This section of the fort was originally the living and working quarters for Queen Ahilya. The bedrooms were upstairs on the first floor while the ground floor had offices and the Darbaar Hall. Now, the first floor has four princely category rooms called the Haldi Suite, Kesar, Sukh Niwas and Rang Niwas.
  4. Naqarra Bagh

    The area gets its name from the ‘naqarras’ that were placed here which were supposed to be rung for the opening and the closing of the gates. It is on the outer periphery of the fort and houses three rooms- Naqarra suite; Arjun’s Regal Tent and Princess Arianne’s Garden Tent.
  5. Badam Chowk

    The Badam Chowk is one of the principal courtyards of the fort which is flanked by the family’s Ganesh temple and by a magnanimous Neem tree on the other side. The area houses three Princely category rooms called Hawa Bangla, Badam and Elaichi, and the Regal Narmada Suite.

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