The majestic 250 year old Ahilya Fort sits on the edge of a cliff, high above the mighty Narmada River, surrounded by the beautiful and unexploited town of Maheshwar.
The views over the river and ghats are exceptional. Replete with myth and legend, Ahilya Fort offers guests a rare chance to get off the tourist trail and an abundance of things to see and do. With the fabulous, deserted city of Mandu and the famed island temple of Omkareshwar nearby, this is a place at which to spend time and relax but from where you can also explore the area, undisturbed by other tourists. One may even spend a couple of hugely romantic nights camping under the stars, in your personal, luxurious, portable tented camp which follows you as you cruise downriver. The architecture is outstanding and a stroll down through the town, via the exemplary school, to the ghats is a must.
Visit the renowned workshops of the Rewa Society, whose lady handloom weavers produce some of the finest saris and cloth in all India. Being a gourmet himself, your host (should he be in residence at the time), Prince Shivaji Rao Holkar, has the highest standards and the food here is delicious and principally organic, from the fort’s vegetable garden. It is all inclusive so, once here, you pay for nothing – be it food, alcohol, massages, local excursions or e-mail! The pool is lovely; terraces and shady areas abound; meals are taken in different areas of the fort; and the charming rooms and tents have superb views, balconies or gardens. A boat trip at sundown is something you will never forget. Sit back whilst being rowed past temples and offered refreshing drinks and a delicious dinner. Watch the reflections and the moon shadows on the river as the moon emerges – an extraordinary experience.
Truly a memorable place where you are transported back in time and where one could spend days or weeks!
Ahilya fort uses solar energy for the kitchen and laundry. The rooms are too scattered to make it viable to provide energy for the rest of the fort.
They currently have 3 solar panels but 15 are planned which will be used to light the public areas and paths in the fort. They have an organic vegetable garden which provides the vegetables for the hotel, as well as an organic farm providing the hotel's wheat, lentils, etc. They have an energy plantation for organic fire wood production, making them self sufficient. The owners are deeply involved in the conservation of Maheshwar's heritage, and Unesco and the French government are also involved. The Unesco involvement means Maheshwar is chosen as one of the 18 'Indian Heritage Cities Network' as also has a Unesco promoted heritage walk. Under an agreement signed between the French and Indian governments, Maheshwar and Chinon will cooperate in heritage based projects and exchange programs.
The Rehwa Society is an NGO founded by the Holkars (owning family) in 1978, with the ambitious objective of improving the lives of Maheshwar's handloom weavers, giving women employment, by reviving and popularizing the Maheshwari textile tradition. This not-for-profit Society utilizes its surpluses exclusively for the welfare of Maheshwar's weavers. One of the Society's marked successes is the Ahilya School, also founded by the Rehwa Society, in 1989, with an initial supporting grant from the German aid organization, BORDA.
For reservations please contact your tour operator, your local travel agent,or the hotel direct.
Visit the extraordinary deserted city of Mandu. Enjoy a magical ‘floating’ dinner on the river surrounded by flickering candles, or on the island with a blazing log fire.
By air to Indore from Bhopal, Delhi or Bombay, followed by a 2 - 3 hour drive. Alternatively drive from Mandu, Dhar, Mhow or Omkareshwar.