Got a weekend to spend in Madhya Pradesh? Head to Mandu and Maheshwar this time. 

Tripoto
22nd Sep 2018

The majestic Mandu!

Photo of Got a weekend to spend in Madhya Pradesh? Head to Mandu and Maheshwar this time. by Juhi Gautam

This short trip in Madhya Pradesh is packed with various kinds of flavours- Lots of history and mythology, a generous sprinkling of valor, a dash of romance, topped with beautiful landscapes and scenic beauty. And there is no dearth of the real, lip-smacking treats for the foodies too!

Just what's prescribed for a long weekend if you are in or around the capital city of Bhopal and have a weekend to spare. Our road trip in September 2018, started from Bhopal, via Indore, Maheshwar, Mandu, ending back at Bhopal on the 4th day.

If you're driving from Bhopal in the morning like we did, do stop by at the well known Highway Treat Dodi for the quintessential poha-jalebi breakfast. A simple, no fuss kind of place, but thronging with crowds always due to its wholesome, delicious food. (Indore is the nearest hub to reach Mandu and Maheshwar by flight or train, followed by a drive of around 2 hours)

Day 1. Indore

You could spend a day in Indore or head straight to Maheshwar instead. While at Indore check out the Rajwada Palace, residence of the founder of the Holkar Dynasty, Malharrao Holkar, built in 1747 AD. (We had to skip this since we had limited time and were meeting family in Indore).

The Khau Gully (quite literally, the food street) comes alive every evening in Indore with a wide array of delicacies and is every street food lovers' paradise. This place is also known as the Sarafa Bazar with narrow, serpentine lane of jewellery stores, shutting down as the night approaches and food stalls of all kinds taking their places.

There's a long list of must-haves here so make sure to eat light during the day! Go for the more common Indian street food like Dahi wada, Chaat, Samosas, Sandwiches, Kulfis or the local specialties like the Bhutte ki Khees (made out of grated corn with spices), Nariyal Pattis ( Savoury dish with a coconut filling) and the surprising variety of Paans.

Day 1

Joshi Dahi vada house

Photo of Sarafa Bazar, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India by Juhi Gautam

Ever heard of smoking paan?

Photo of Sarafa Bazar, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India by Juhi Gautam

The quintessential Indian Tikki Chat

Photo of Sarafa Bazar, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India by Juhi Gautam

Day 2: Maheshwar ( 91 kms from Indore)

The entrance to Maheshwar Fort. Looks familiar? Some scenes from the movie Padman were shot right here!

Photo of Got a weekend to spend in Madhya Pradesh? Head to Mandu and Maheshwar this time. by Juhi Gautam

Maheshwar was the capital city of the Holkar dynasty under the rule of the Maratha Queen Ahilyabai Holkar. The moment you step into the Maheshwar Fort complex from the present day town, the surroundings transport you to the grandeur this city must have witnessed in that age.

Banks of river Narmada. The waters appear brown since this was right post the monsoons. During the winters apparently, it's a beautiful sparkling blue.

Photo of Ahilya Fort, Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh, India by Juhi Gautam

While you may have seen bigger and more well maintained Forts, this one being situated right on the banks of the mighty Narmada river, has a unique peaceful aura to it. Try visiting early in the morning or around sunset for the most beautiful experience.

The beautifully carved sandstone structure on the banks of the serene Narmada

Photo of Ahilya Fort, Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh, India by Juhi Gautam
Photo of Ahilya Fort, Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh, India by Juhi Gautam

A short boat-ride into the Narmada will also take you to this temple in the middle of the river. Indian Ocean's popular composition 'Ma Rewa..' totally came to life for me after being here! (Rewa is another name for Narmada).

A short boat ride into Narmada brings you this ancient temple

Photo of Got a weekend to spend in Madhya Pradesh? Head to Mandu and Maheshwar this time. by Juhi Gautam

Just while you exit the Fort, there's a handloom unit adjacent to it, for those interested in seeing the traditional Maheshwari weaving art.

Photo of Got a weekend to spend in Madhya Pradesh? Head to Mandu and Maheshwar this time. by Juhi Gautam

A section of the Holkar palace is also open to visitors- quite an unassuming, but very charming old 'wada' style residential structure. The palace itself has been renovated and converted to a beautiful heritage resort by the descendents- do check it out in case you're planning to stay a night in Maheshwar.

Photo of Got a weekend to spend in Madhya Pradesh? Head to Mandu and Maheshwar this time. by Juhi Gautam

Laboo's cafe, with its quirky interiors, tastefully done decor and chilled-out vibe is a good place to catch a bite before heading out.

Photo of Got a weekend to spend in Madhya Pradesh? Head to Mandu and Maheshwar this time. by Juhi Gautam

Day 3 and 4: Mandu (100 kms from Indore)

The spectacular Mandu!

Photo of Mandu, Mandav, Madhya Pradesh, India by Juhi Gautam

You'll enter Mandavgarh, more popularly known as Mandu, through a series of ancient gateways, almost beckoning you to explore the romance and architectural beauty that this ruined city embodies. While Mandu enjoyed historical significance under various Hindu as well as Mughal rulers, the tragic love story of Rani Roopmati and Baz Bahadur is the more popularly enjoyed folklore in this region.

It will be worthwhile to stay a night at Mandu, the sunset from Lohani caves is mesmerizing! You could check out Hotel Jahaz Mahal, which is where we stayed. The property is beautiful, the rooms and service can be better. But a decent stay overall.

Photo of Hoshang Shah’s Tomb, Jahaj Mahal Internal Road, Mandu, Mandav, Madhya Pradesh, India by Juhi Gautam

Jami Masjid

Photo of Jami Masjid, Jahaj Mahal Internal Road, Mandu, Mandav, Madhya Pradesh, India by Juhi Gautam

A good spot to get a click for the memory lane!

Photo of RANI ROOPMATI MAHAL, Mandav, Madhya Pradesh, India by Juhi Gautam

This palace had quite a well planned water supply system. This was one of the channels

Photo of RANI ROOPMATI MAHAL, Mandav, Madhya Pradesh, India by Juhi Gautam
Photo of RANI ROOPMATI MAHAL, Mandav, Madhya Pradesh, India by Juhi Gautam

The amazing symmetry of these arches !

Photo of RANI ROOPMATI MAHAL, Mandav, Madhya Pradesh, India by Juhi Gautam
Photo of RANI ROOPMATI MAHAL, Mandav, Madhya Pradesh, India by Juhi Gautam
Photo of Baz Bahadur's Palace, Mandu Road, Mandav, Madhya Pradesh, India by Juhi Gautam

View of Rani Roopmati's palace from Baaz Bahadur 's palace

Photo of Baz Bahadur's Palace, Mandu Road, Mandav, Madhya Pradesh, India by Juhi Gautam

Dal Paniya- a local dish you will see being cooked right on the street near Jahaz Mahal

Photo of Jahaz Mahal, Mândû, Madhya Pradesh, India by Juhi Gautam

Climb up the stairs to get a better look from the 'ship'.

Photo of Jahaz Mahal, Mândû, Madhya Pradesh, India by Juhi Gautam

Of all the sights of Mandu, one can see why Jahaz Mahal is the most popular one. An interesting vision for a palace, the structure is built on a narrow strip of land between two lakes, giving it a mysterious appearance of the ship that never sailed. The palace was built by Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din Khilji supposedly as a large harem. Though quite rundown in places, the palace manages to effuse its original glory through the ornate pools, graceful arches and beautiful vistas.

Photo of Got a weekend to spend in Madhya Pradesh? Head to Mandu and Maheshwar this time. by Juhi Gautam
Photo of Got a weekend to spend in Madhya Pradesh? Head to Mandu and Maheshwar this time. by Juhi Gautam

Hindola Mahal or the Swinging Palace, so named because of its unique sloping walls.

Photo of Got a weekend to spend in Madhya Pradesh? Head to Mandu and Maheshwar this time. by Juhi Gautam

Lohani caves- Worth a quick look around. Do stop by here for a spectacular sunset!

Photo of Sunset Point Mandu, Mandu, Mandav, Madhya Pradesh, India by Juhi Gautam

Guide services are available between Rs.1000 and 1500 for a complete Mandu tour. While some of the information they share really helps you visualize the amazing history behind this place now in ruins, do take their stories with a grain of salt :-)

If you have another day to spare , Omkareshwar ( 77 kms from Indore) one of the 12 jyotirlinga shrines in India, is another popular spot you could add to the itinerary.

Thanks for stopping by this post and actually scrolling through right till the end :-)

Happy Travels!

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