The peaceful riverside town of Maheshwar has long held spiritual significance – it’s mentioned in the Mahabharata and Ramayana under its old name, Mahishmati, and still draws sadhus and yatris (pilgrims) to its ancient ghats and temples on the holy Narmada River. Away from the ghats and historic buildings, Maheshwar’s colourful streets display some brightly painted wooden houses with overhanging balconies.
Maheshwar is a captivating place that packs a lot of punch in a very small area. The ghats are a whirl of colour and interest and the compact old quarter is a pleasure to explore. In many ways, Maheshwar is a sort of refined, spit-shone Varanasi in miniature and the fact that it's well off the beaten tourist path means that the many smiles you'll receive are genuine. If you want to encounter old India at its best, then Maheshwar fits the bill.