Omkareshwar, Maheshwar

Dairy Entry

                                        duranta pApa tApa hAri sarva jantu sharmadE|                                                         tvadhIya pAda pankajam namAmi dEvi narmadE ||

The destroyer of endless sins and tribulations, who bestows bliss upon every living creature, Hey goddess Narmada, my salutations to your lotus feet!

The father of the present day Hindu religion, Adi Shankara had a close association with the island of Mandhata in the river Narmada. The nine year old who set out from Kaladi in Kerala in search of a guru was threatened by massive flooding of Narmada. When he subdued the river with his spiritual prowess, he finally got to meet his teacher Govindapada in an isolated cave in this island. He was forever grateful to Narmada for bestowing the highest of knowledge and hence extols her in the aforementioned verse. The island of Mandhata is more popular today for housing the temple of Omakreshwar, considered one of eleven Jyotirlingas (places sanctified by the presence of Siva as a metaphorical sacred flame inside a linga).

  (Narmada in Omkareshwar)

Thronged by pilgrims all round the year, the place is a run-of-the-mill tourist hub. It can prove quite an adventure to walk the 2 KM from the bus stand to the temple, avoiding the hundred odd priestly touts pestering every visitor with a host of puja 'packages' to offer. The main island and temple are lack luster sites, where no one would wish to spend more than a few minutes. Thanks to the huge hydro electric project, the plundered Narmada wore a sorry look, lacking in water and vigor. I was however keen on a dip and hence moved to a spot a kilometer away with waist deep water and washed myself in the green hued stream.

 

A terribly slow mini bus brought us to Maheshwar in the scorching heat of the afternoon. The place was quite deserted, which was a welcome treat after the morning ordeal. All places worth visiting lie around the eighteenth century Palace of Ahilyabai Holkar. The best of all monuments is the shrine of Ahilyeshwara. With ornate pillars, carvings on the interior and exterior and a massive spire the temple was quite a treat. The other shrines like Rajarajeshwara and others which were around the same place did not compare to it in their beauty. Just besides the temple were a long flight of stairs leading to the Narmada, instantly reminding me of the Ganges in Varanasi.

 


(Ghats of Maheshwar)

Narmada in Maheshwar is a sedate maiden ambling down with a stately gait. Hundreds of lingas and Nandis can be spotted everywhere on her banks, which speak of the spiritual importance of the river to the people here. Also can be spotted a dozen diesel boats that churn the river floor, leaving the waters turbulent and sometimes even a film of oil to add to the misery. Boys from the village crowded around the banks to beat the heat in the waters. It was too tough to resist the whole setting and i ended taking a second dip in the river.

 (Shrines on the banks of Narmada)

 

Continue to the second page on Mandu

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Itinerary & Tips

 

Click on the image below for a detailed map of all places visited with distances.

Day 1

Reached Khandwa by train at morning 7 AM, took another passenger train going towards Ujjain to Omkareshwar Road (70 KM, 1.5 hrs) and a bus to the temple (12 KM, 30 min)

After visiting temple, took an auto to Badwah (18 KM) and from there another mini bus to Maheshwar (45 Km, 2 Hrs!!) to reach at around 1:30 PM.

After sightseeing at Maheshwar, took a bus to Dhamnod (13 KM, 20 min) , a bus to Mundhera phata (37 KM, 1.5 hrs)  from there and finally a bus to Mandu (14 KM, 25 min).

 

Tips

Badwah is very well connected as it’s on the Khandwa-Indore highway.  Rather than waiting for a direct bus from/to Omkareshwar, it makes more sense to go to Badwah. All buses to Dhamnod go via Maheshwar.

Mandu has only one route, from Dhar in the north. Hence from Dhamnod the only option is to join this route by taking a bus to Dhar and getting down at Mundhera phata. The last bus to Mandu may be around 7-7:30 PM.

 

Album 

 

(Ahilyeshwar temple)

  (Doorway - Ahilyeshwar temple)

(Weaving in progress - Maheshwar)

(Boy takes the plunge into Narmada)