Ahilya Fort


Ahilya Fort at Maheshwar (Madhya Pradesh, India) is an experience straight out of the 18th century. Situated high above the banks of the sacred Narmada River,

Ahilya Fort in India is an ancient riverside stronghold that was once the capital of one of India's celebrated women rulers - Ahilya Bai Holkar. It is now a great place to stay - a fabulous luxury hotel right on the banks of the Narmada River.

Host at Ahilya Fort is Prince Shivaji Rao Holkar, son of the last Maharajah of Indore. Fort has temples dedicated to various avatars of Lord Shiva, as well as crematory cenotaphs of the rulers of Indore. A boat trip in the afternoon takes you to Baneshwar Temple in the middle of the river, and a swim in the Narmada's cool and unpolluted waters

An ancient craft in Maheshwar, revived by the Holkars and now a famous and thriving cottage industry.
Ahilya Fort is a maze of domes, balconies, verandas and patios. You’ll be able to wander round temples, enjoy a swimming pool and smell fragrant plants in the exotic gardens. You may stumble upon classical Indian musicians performing by oil-lamps, a classical flute recital or local hand-weavers practising their traditional craft.

Ahilya Fort is an excellent base for local excursions. 60 kilometres away is Mandu, a 15th century marvel of early Islamic architecture, set amongst forests and ravines at the edge of the Malwa plateau.

The Fort is far from the normal tourist trail, deep in the fertile plains of Madhya Pradesh near Maheshwar. It’s a luxury escape that is also a taste of a real India that visitors rarely glimpse.

If you are lucky, Prince Shivaji Rao Holkar, your host, will be in residence, but either way you will be scooped up with maternal tenderness by housekeeper Kuntabai and Ahilya's fine team of kind and courteous staff. Bedrooms are exquisitely furnished; wood, copper and stone keep any sense of the modern world at bay; fresh flowers float in ever altering designs in pots and tanks; and hundreds of tiny oil lamps will light your way to dinner.

The Ahilya Fort boat is always on hand for one to view the Fort from the river herself, tea and cake or beer and snacks appearing miraculously from a basket depending on the time of day. Longer overnight boat trips with moonlit picnics and river side camping can be arranged with advance notice.
The ruined hilltop city of Mandu is near enough for a day trip, as is the temple town of Omkareshwar, but you may find it hard to drag yourself away.

Location info:

Address: Ahilya Fort , Khargon, Madhya Pradesh, India.
District: Khargone
Nearest City: Maheshwar,Rajgadi (royal throne) of Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar, state archaeological museum, Sahastradhara waterfall, cenotaphs and more.
Best time to visit:


Weather Generally pleasant October to March although Madhya Pradesh does get cold over the winter months (January and February). The monsoon is hot, yet it is a dramatic time to see the Narmada River as it should be


Ahilya Fort was the capital of one of 18th century India's celebrated women rulers - Ahilya Bai Holkar. Her fortress has now been converted into an elegant heritage hotel. Prince Shivaji Rao Holkar, son of the last Maharajah of Indore, plays host to guests at Ahilya Fort.

The ramparts of the fort were built in the 16th century, by the renowned Mughal emperor Akbar; Maheshwar itself has been continually inhabited for some 4000 years, Guests who wish to explore the fort and its many temples walk down to the riverside, and stroll along India's most beautiful ghats-a word, which in India suggests the French "quai".

Land That Saw The Manifold of History

In the epicenter of the cultural land of India lies the land that has been an attestant of the thousand years of grandeur and aura. Madhya Pradesh has seen it all. Ruled by almost all the thriving kingdoms of the country, the history of Madhya Pradesh goes back to the 6th century B.C, which saw the emergence of Avanti (now Ujjain) as a major center and chief city of the territory. The uniqueness of the state lies in the co existence of the different kingdoms on the same land at the same time. Due to its extensity in terms of area this land was divided into many regions and as a result was ruled by various kings. Ancient Chronicles of the Land. Medieval period saw the rise of the Rajput kingdom and Pramara King Bhoj, a prolific writer and an intellectual genius. However, during the medieval period this land saw the rise and downfall of various kingdoms. The transition from the medieval to the modern era was covered by the Mughal ruler Akbar, who ruled this land for around 100 years. After the death of Aurangzeb in 1707 Ad was the time when the Mughal control began to weaken. The Marathas under the supervision of the Peshwas were the next rulers of the state. The third battle of Panipat in 1761 however marked an end of the Maratha kingdom in Madhya Pradesh. Then came the British who made this a princely state and an agency that was known as Gwalior Agency and it was the fourth most populous agency in India.

Sanchi Stupa
The Great Stupa at Sanchi

Chandragupta Maurya established the Mauryan empire in Madhya Pradesh in 320 BC. His reigns covered all the regions of the state. Succeeded by king Ashoka this territory flourished in his reign. After embracing Buddhism he made monuments that still stand to speak of his gloriole. After the death of Asoka this land saw a decline in the prosperity ans was ruled by some local clans. However, with time Ujjain reemerged as a commercial an important Buddhist pilgrimage center. After the diminution of the Mauryan age, came into being the classic age when Madhya Pradesh was ruled by the Gupta kings. The attack of the white Huns brought down the Gupta empire which was then captured by King Harsha Vardhan.
During the Midst of Everything

Impact of the Mixed Culture

Today Madhya Pradesh stands as a point of vantage and endures the richness and grandness that was once its reflection. The rise and fall of the sundry cultures is reflective in the culture, traditions and art and craft of the region. The mish mash of cultures created a colourful mixture and caused a great and vibrant impact on the people of the area. Madhya Pradesh is a silent drogue of the rich and dynamic accomplishments of history. A little bit of every rule had added some spice to the culture of the state making it the most exotic in the nation. Come to Madhya Pradesh to experience a specific culture that cannot be relished anywhere else in the country.

Interesting things to do:

In addition to the vast spectrum of experiences that we have just described above, one can always visit the architectural marvels of Dhar and Mandu, or visit the sacred city of Omkeshwar that derives it name from the fact that it looks like the letter OM. Enchanting walks and a swim in the river at a huge waterfall on the river simply add to the charm of this place. Allow us to create an unparallel experience for you during your stay at the Ahilya Fort which is heightened by the fact that the place is off the beaten track and not touristy.

Interesting things to Visit:

Rajgadi (royal throne) of Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar, state archaeological museum, Sahastradhara waterfall, cenotaphs and numerous beautiful temples.

Mobile range info:

Mobile telephones work on the GSM network

How to reach?

Nearest Railway Station:To Barwah (39 kms), Khandwa (110 kms), Indore (91 kms) and Mhow. (INDB)
Nearest Airport:To Indore (91 kms) from Bombay, Delhi and Bhopal, followed by a 2 -3 hour hour drive.
Road Transport:An easy drive from Indore, Dhar, Mandu, Omkareshwar, and Mhow. A longer drive from Bhopal and Ujain. NH 3

Nearest Visiting places:

1. 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 on the river and extraordinary moon shadows as the moon emerges – an extraordinary experience.
2. The architecture is outstanding and a stroll down through the town to the ghats is a must.
3. Visit the renowned workshops of the Rewa Society, whose lady handloom weavers produce some of the finest saris and cloth in all India.
4. Places to see here are Rajgadi (royal throne) of Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar, state archaeological museum, Sahastradhara waterfall, cenotaphs and numerous beautiful temples.
5. Ahilya Fort is an excellent base for local excursions. 60 kilometres away is Mandu, a 15th century marvel of early Islamic architecture, set amongst forests and ravines at the edge of the Malwa plateau

Nearest Petrol Pump:

1.Reliance Petrol Pump
Khargon, Madhya Pradesh

2.Mangal Petrol Pump
Mandleshwar, Madhya Pradesh

3.Reliance petrol pump
Dhar, Madhya Pradesh

4.HPCL Petrol Pump
SH 26, Madhya Pradesh


The accommodation options at this heritage hotel in Madhya Pradesh are classified as Suites, Double Rooms and Tents. The tents have their own unique ensuite bathrooms. Each room has a décor of its own and retains its 18th century ornamentation but do not compromise on modern conveniences. No building has more than two rooms, ensuring complete solitude. All rooms are air cooled in the traditional manner, with natural evaporative coolers perfumed by khas vetiver.

Things to carry:

Digital Camera.

Cell phones.

Tips & Suggestions:

Ahilya Fort offers a range of facilities and services to its guests, including: babysitting service, sightseeing, swimming pool, internet-browsing/email-facility, handicraft shop, traditional massage centre, conference hall, common room with television and games, and boating. The hotel also accepts credit cards, and offers airport/railway station transfers at an extra cost.

Help Line/Phone Number:

Police Station:

1.Police Station
Khargon, Madhya Pradesh

2.Police Station Barwani
SH 26,Madhya Pradesh

Nearest Hospital:

1.Subhishi Hospital Pvt. Ltd.
Gouridham, Diversion Road,, Khargone, Madhya Pradesh 451001

2.District Hospital
Khargon, Madhya Pradesh

3.Sharda Hospital
Khargon, Madhya Pradesh

4.Govt Hospital
Mandleshwar, Madhya Pradesh

5.Asha gram Trust
AshaGram Road, Asha Gram, Barwani, Madhya Pradesh

Society/Community Phone Number:

Hotel Address Ahilya Fort
Madhya Pradesh - 451224
E-mail: info@ahilyafort.com
Web : www.ahilyafort.com

Corporate Sales Office D 368 Defence Colony
New Delhi
E-mail: info@ahilyafort.com