A short drive (75 minutes) away are the ruins of the 15th century fortified city of Mandu on the edge of the Malwa plateau. One of India’s most romantic sites, these Islamic buildings pre-date the arrival of the Mughals and are scattered over 60 square kilometers of forests. The Royal centre is built around a lake, and the nearby tomb of Hoshang Shah served as a model for the Taj Mahal. Mandu is especially attractive in the months of August and September.
In the town of Omkareshwar, an hour’s drive upriver from Maheshwar, is one of the 12 most revered temples of followers of Shiva. The main idol is a lingam, or phallic symbol of Shiva’s creative power, which is believed to have sprung out of the earth by itself. A very important Hindu pilgrimage site; all visitors are welcome.
Baji Rao was a very important ruler in the 18th century. His scenic chattri, or crematory cenotaph, is perched above the Narmada River, and is about an hour from Ahilya Fort. A visit there can be combined with a visit to Omkareshwar.
Our organic 15 acre farm is a 10 minute drive from the Hotel. The farm provides much of the livestock and produce used in our kitchen. We use traditional and organic farming methods, and our our ploughs are still pulled by our sturdy local bullocks.
Our massage treatment room is located in the Lingaarchan area of the Ahilya Wada. In our effort to work within the local community, our masseurs and masseuses are trained in-house and give the traditional nimadi maalish massage of the region.
Sivananda style Yoga sessions are held on the Fort’s southwestern turret, overlooking the river. They are guided by yogini Nirdhara, a certified teacher and member of Y.A.C.E.P., and are an excellent way to start the day.
A 20 minute ride across the Narmada River are the two sleepy villages of NaodaTodi and Bothu, very much in contrast to bustling Maheshwar town. Guests can enjoy a pleasant 45 minute walk through a typical village of the region and its fields, and your boat can collect you at the end of the walk. Trail bikes are also available.
The not-for-profit Rehwa Society was started in the late ‘70s by the Holkars. Its objective was to revive the ancient hand weaving craft of Maheshwar, and give employment to women. Today over 80 weavers find work, and our textiles are famous throughout India. Situated a five minute walk from the Hotel, the centre has traditional wooden hand looms, and we have our own dye house. Surpluses from the sale of textiles support the adjoining Ahilya School, which was started for weavers’ children. Both can be visited in the same morning.
The Royal BazBahdur picnic takes place in one of Mandu’s secluded ruins. Guests arrive to discover an elegant service with tables and chairs, linen, glasses all served by our uniformed waiters.
Roopmati’s picnic takes place in one of several locations on or along the Narmada river. Roopmati was the Hindu princess who married Baz Bahadur, the Muslim ruler of Mandu. Our staff organize an elegant served dinner picnic, under the stars.
Experience vedic blessings in a Ganesh puja, or prayer service, in the Ganesh temple located in the centre of the Ahilya Fort Hotel.
Guests can enjoy a leisurely two and a half hour float down the river on our traditional paddle boats. Our boatmen will serve you light refreshments.
When booking an activity, do give us a day’s notice so that we may plan a memorable experience for you. Some activities are chargeable so please be sure to enquire about rates from our guest relations team or when making your booking.
What a wonderful treat and treasure! Thank you for your gracious and warm hospitality in a place of such history and the legacy of a Queen. We are very grateful for the experience.Mrs Clinton (United States), March 2018
This place has been absolutely incredible, the staff is amazing, the service was everything and this fortress is stunning. I wish all the staff members best of luck and may you be blessed with kindness you have shown me.Ms. Coffy (United States) June 2018.
To Ahilya Family thanks for a wonderful stay filled with tons of love and warmth. Hospitality is at its best. Came back after 5 years I didn’t realize I missed this place so much in the last few years. It’s like falling in love all over again. Thanks for everything.Mr. & Mrs. Sharma (India), March 2018
This is a little slice of heaven here. Amazingly warm and efficient service. Felt like we had four days in old India. The spot on the river we will never forget. Thanks for everything.Robin & Rick (United States) September 2017
Ahilya Fort is a real gem - hidden India. All the staff was very helpful and friendly Kunta and Garva took great care of us. Food good(not over spicy for us) and our room Imli, looking the river was very comfortable. We appreciate no TV & phone. A real hide a way for us.Richard & Jan (Australia), September 2017
Quiet, Serene, Quaint!!! A magical place to contemplate and discover hidden gems of art & architecture. Kudos to REHWA for keeping our heritage alive. Feels like home because of Koonta Bai and her team. Will be back.Supriya and Nandani (India), September 2017
Thanks for a warm and wonderful weekend. delightful ambiance, wonderful food and beautiful environment. We really hope to come back soon.Leo and Avni (India), March 2018
We had the loveliest visit here at the Fort. We so enjoyed the company, the meals, the activities and the tent too. I loved speaking french with guests. The meals were superb! Well done on the homemade jams and jellies. We hope to return with my husband and other son.Mrs. Rhys (France), January 2018
It is been such a magical experience staying at Ahilya Fort. We had such a wonderful time staying at the hotel and working with local weavers. Thank you for your incredible hospitality we are looking forward to returning soon!Ashton & Devon (United Kingdom), April 2018