First impressions are the best impressions. This turned out to be right in our recent travel to Mandu and Maheshwar along with Wegobond. We were sceptical about a group trip because of the challenges we have seen in some of the other trips. Some of them turned out to be a big cultural shock for us, so we sort of avoided it for a long time.
This trip, however, put all those fears to rest and all of us will remember the anticipation, joy, and thrill of the experiences we had throughout the travel. A bond will always remain with my fellow travellers. The trip was meticulously planned, and we all ensured that it was maintained throughout. So, we enjoyed each of the places in all their beauty, the local delicacies.
We were at Indore by afternoon 3 pm on 9th September, which was day one of our tour. Our trip leader, Rachna, welcomed us at the airport. An Innova took us through the 100 kilometre journey to Mandu, where two beautiful memorable days were spent at the huge lakeside property.
We were a group of six, from different parts of India. Neeru from Jaipur, Neera, Dilraj, and Rachna were from Delhi, Navneet from Kolkata, and us, from Kerala.
The first day was relaxed, and in the evening, headed to Jahaz Mahal for the light and sound show.
With a dramatic rendition in the voice of Ashutosh Rana, one got to know the history of the beautiful town of Mandu in an audio-visual representation. The show also went on to narrate the poignant love story of Rani Roopmati and Baz Bahadur, a romantic saga of history that is filled with emotion and beauty, yet it ends with tragedy and separation. The narration takes you through the exciting tales of the city of joy, and Hindola Mahal comes alive every evening. The entire concept and the light effects are worth an experience for all those visiting this mesmerizing destination. At Hindola Mahal every day at 7 p.m. It’s a never-miss show.
We were back for dinner at the resort, tired and hungry. Each of us ordered different dishes and we shared our food, tasting at least 3-4 varieties of dishes, which reminded me of my school days.
The next day’s schedule and the places we were going to visit were shared during dinner. We were ready by 9.30 a.m the next day for Mandu darshan with great excitement in our eyes. Parvez was our local guide. Well versed with the history, he explained it in detail and interestingly so it was
more than a litany of dates and facts being recited. He also took us to each place of prominence and entertained us with his old Hindi songs. Much of the credit of the enjoyment goes to him!
Mandu or Mandavgad is a ruined city, celebrated for its fine architecture, created during the Malwa period. Located in the Dhar district of Western Madhya Pradesh, Central India, Mandu provides various impressive views of lakes, waterfalls, and incredible monuments, to attract tourists.
With its architectural magnificence and remarkable history, Mandu fascinates its tourists with a rich and varied past that witnessed the love and romance between Prince Baz Bahadur and Rani Roopmati. The love story of this beautiful couple, who once ruled the region, is immortalized through marvellous structures, monuments, and palaces, built-in their memories.
We walked around Jahaz Mahal, which resembles a ship about to sail. Hindola Mahal resembles the alphabet “T”. Baz Bahadur Palace, its finest water conservation system and the Afghan architecture were a sight to behold.
After a lot of walking, we headed to taste the local delicacies. Tasty “dal-baffla” and “paniye” were kept ready by Parvez’s friends. The lunch was planned at a sunset point but was changed due to a heavy shower of rain! In Mandu, we never know when the cloudy sky would pour on us and within half an hour the sky becomes clear with a rainbow. So be ready with a raincoat and a pair of closed shoes if you’re visiting Mandu.
In the afternoon we headed to Hoshang Shah tomb. In white marble, this is the inspiration for Taj Mahal. Later in the evening was at Roopmati Pavilion, where Rani Roopmati worshipped Narmada every morning. The Pavilion is accessed by a sloping incline and my mom, was the first one to reach the top. She was an inspiration to all of us.
On day three, in the morning we headed to Maheshwar. On the way, we stopped at Neelkanth temple. There are 70 steps to reach the temple and it is believed to be built by Shah Bagdah Khan for Emperor Akbar’s Hindu wife. There is a natural spring here, a peaceful place to worship.
At Maheshwar, we visited the Rajwada, which showcases Ahilya Bai Holkar’s life and story. And some weaving units. The fort is now converted to a hotel and has the finest Maratha architecture.
Then we went to some weaver’s shops and shopped for beautiful silk sarees, stoles, and clothing material. It was like shop till you drop there. Each material was beautiful and silky. Post a lot of retail therapy, we headed to our hotel, Narmada Retreat, which is on the bank of river Narmada. Such a pleasant stay! We settled in our rooms. In the evening, we headed for the peaceful “aarti” at the Narmada river.
On our last morning, we were up by 5.30 to watch the sunrise at Narmada ghat. I don’t have words to explain the beauty I had witnessed, the breeze, the majestic Ahilya fort behind, the song of the Narmada river, beautiful birds, and the crimson colour of sunrise. It was priceless.
We hired a boat and visited “sahastradhara” which means “thousands of waterfalls”. Its water streams pass through a rocky area, which creates a beautiful collage of waterfalls. Many birds flocked there. Do not miss “sahastradhara” even though it needs some walking. We bid adieu to Maheshwar very soon after, taking away with us, travel memories to cherish for life.