Ahilya Fort, Madhya Pradesh

Former residence of the Maratha queen Ahilyabai Holkar turned into a hotel by her descendant and son of the last Maharaja of Indore- Prince Richard Holkar. Prince Richard has converted the place as one of the best heritage hotels in India. Resting high above the ghats of Maheshwar, Ahilya Fort overlooks the serenity of the Narmada River. It is without-a-doubt the best place to relax and rejuvenate. This 250 and more year’s old fort is perfect for couples and families. The surroundings of the Ahilya Fort gives you the most authentic rural experience and a classic vibe of the 18th century's hospitality. Ahilya Fort set with beautiful 19 rooms, each decorated with modern amenities and comfort of a home. Not only that, but guests can stroll through the three acres of courtyards, fountains, and gardens that join areas within the Wada. With its marvelous candlelit dinners and exquisite sunset boat trips, Ahilya Fort is your home away from home.

  • 14-Nov-2019
  • Written By: Naila Arif
Location

Location-

Overlooking the Narmada River, Ahilya Fort sits on the outskirts of Maheshwar- a rural town in Madhya Pradesh. From the terrace of Ahilya Fort, you can glimpse the daily routine of Indian life on the banks of the holy river Narmada. On this sacred river, you can see pilgrims immersing themselves and praying to their Hindu God, Shiva.

The nearest airport to reach Ahilya Fort is Indore. You can find frequent flights from both Delhi and Mumbai. From Indore, Ahilya Fort is just about a two-hour drive away, and the hotel offers airport transfers.

Accommodation

Accommodation-

The accommodation section of Ahilya Fort is the pride of the property. Categorized into the five- Poshak Wada, Lingarchan, Darbaar Wada, Naqarra Bagh, and Badam Chowk justifies with the luxury and comfort provided by Ahilya Fort. Here, Poshak Wada is the central courtyard of the Ahilya Fort, which initially used to store the important artifacts of the Holkar state. 

It has six stunning rooms named- BulBul, Nobul Niwas, Champa, Kachnar, Gulmohar, and Gwen Niwas, and all of them set on the first floor above the courtyard. Each room decorated with an ensuite bath gives you a relaxing stay along with the majestic views from the private balcony and garden.

The Lingarchan courtyard has initially been an area where more than a hundred royal priests performed daily blessings for the people of Holkar state. And now the area shades itself by an ancient tamarind tree and houses two peaceful guest rooms- Neem and Imli with river-facing alcoves. The Lingarchan courtyard also houses Ahilya's best massage treatment room. 

During the time of Maharani Ahilyabai, the Darbaar Wada was the fort's most famous building. The first floor of Darbaar Wada was her living quarters, and now it houses four princely category rooms- Haldi Suite, Kesar, Sukh Niwas, and Rang Niwas. Each of them is spacious and has an ensuite bathroom. 

The Naqarra Bagh is on the outer perimeter of the Ahilya Wada and comprises three rooms- Naqarra Suite, Arjun's Regal Tent, and Arianne's Garden Tent. The Naqarra Suites comprise a bedroom, ensuite bathroom, private balcony, and a living room. The suite gives the best views of the river below. 

The Arjun's Regal Tent gives the stunning views of the Narmada River and the magnificent Ahilyeshwar temple, while the Princess Arianne's Garden Tent has a cozy private garden, and a terrace overlooking the temple complex. The tent is ideal for a couple's getaway or a solo traveler's tale. 

To get the best vibe and enjoy a romantic getaway, the Badam Chowk would be the best choice. The magical sunrise and sunset from each room give the most mystical feeling ever. With its princely rooms- Narmada Suite, Hawa Bangla, Badam, and Elaichi, you will go home with lots of great memories.

Dinner

Dining-

The food at Ahilya is an excellent mixture of western dishes and traditional Mughal cuisine. Thanks to the dedicated gourmand Prince Richard, you get everything homemade, including the ingredients from the kitchen garden. Breakfast is à la carte and blends with western staples- Homemade bread, eggs, fresh fruits, and India dishes like Poha (flattened rice).

Lunch served at separate tables set around the grounds. The lunch comprises light dishes like- sorrel soup, homemade quiche, carrot salad, or papaya. If you're going on a day trip, the hotel can arrange picnics along with a basket of cupcakes, biscuits, and tea.

Dinners, however, are lavish affairs at Ahilya with plenty of wine, four or five traditional Holkar family dishes, and grounds illuminated by flickering butter lamps. If you have some special dietary requirements, let them know, and they will accommodate you according to your preferences. 

Activities

Activities-

Activities that you can indulge yourself at Ahilya Fort can be a relaxing massage or an unwinding yoga session in the peaceful gardens. You can also go for the floating-dinners and picnics on a nearby island with an additional charge. 

Visit Rehwa, the Ahilya Fort's weaving center, which not only makes incredible fabrics but also dedicated to sustaining centuries of textile heritage. You can take a day trip to the marvelous Mandu- an abandoned 15th-century city, which is less than a two-hour drive away. It is full of ornate yet scattering temples and palaces. The Ahilya Fort staff can arrange for you a private picnic here among the ruins.