Maheshwar – The town of queen Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar is based on the banks of river Narmada. Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar was born in 1725 in Jwandi town, Ahmedanagar district in Maharashtra. She was sharp and intelligent even in her young age. That led to her marriage with prince Khanderao of Malwa. The story goes like this- At the age of 8, Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar was distributing food to the poor people and this was seen by king of Malwa. He liked this gesture of Devi Ailyabai and that led to the marriage with prince Khanderao.

Indore was the main capital of Malwa state. Malhar Rao trained Devi Ahilya bai in various subjects. She was used to rule the state in absence of her father in law Malhar Rao. She also accompanied him in war. She looked after all war preparations and overall state affairs very finely.

Devi Ahilya Bai and Prince Khanderao had two children – daughter Mukta Bai and son Malerao. IN 1754, Khanderao Malhar rao was killed in his war with Suraj Bhan. At that time Devi Ahilya Bai also wanted to follow the “sati” pratha. But on insistence of her father in law and King Malhar Rao Holkar, she changed her decision. In year 1766, Malhar Rao Holkar took his last breath. After that son Malerao was crowned as king of Malwa but Devi Ahilya Bai looked after all the state affairs. Only after few months King Malerao fell ill and died. It was a great shock to Devi Ahilya but she managed to come out of this sad state thinking about the welfare of  Malwa . Queen Ahilya declared her reign and devoted her entire life for the well being of state.

Devi Ahilya bai Holkar shifted the capital to Maheshwar. Maheshwar is a secured place surrounded by Vindyachal range and river Narmada. It was once the capital of Mahishmati kingdom. It was the place where adi guru Shankaracharya had stayed.

Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar built many temples, dharmashala and wells in her province. Devi Ahilya Bai also rebuilt Somnath temple that was destroyed. She built many beautiful monuments and restored the beauty of broken once.

Dev Ahilya bai worked hard for setting up the handloom industry in Maheshwar. She called all skilled weavers from various places of India and provided them with necessary arrangement to settle in Maheshwar. By 1770, Maheshwar became an important destination for sarees. These were woven with Maratha specific motifs and borders.

Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar stayed at a very simple wada made of wood. She was used to meet her ministers at that place and took many important decisions. Devi Ahilya Bai was an ardent Lord Shiva devotee. She worshiped Lord Shiva daily without fail. Her Idols and all arrangement is kept as it is even now. She had declared that this kingdom belonged to Lord Shiva and not her. All signatures were made in the name of Shree Shankar.

Holkar wada has all the weapons used by King Malhar Rao. They are now showcased to the visitors. It also has the Palkhi .

Devi Ahilya Bai built many temples in Maheshwar like Kashi Vishwanath temple. Raj Rajeshwar temple is one of the main attractions of Maheshwar. Omkareshwar, Kashi and other cities were also decorated with beautiful structures at the banks of Narmada. But most beautiful one is structure in Maheshwar on the banks of Narmada.

On 13 August 1795, Ahilya Bai Holkar breathed her last. Devi Ahilya Bai ‘s life is an example of extreme devotion, care and love towards her people. Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar was a queen of values and principles who implemented them with same rule for everyone in her state. In her remembrance, a monument has been built by her ancestors. The Maheshwari saree borders are inspired by the designs on this monument. The artistic work done on the monument is very inspiring and intricate. Devi Ahilya Bai temple has her idol along with Lord Shiva Idol. Along with that Lord Vishnu, Lord Ganapati, Lord Sun idols are also established. Devi Ahilya Bai is still remembered for her benevolent work and lovingly regarded as Mother and Devi by people world over.

In 1971 when Holkar pariear came back, the started a society called REHWA. First Maheshwari saree was designed by Devi Ahilya Bai herself. The borders and motifs are inspired by river Narmada. In 1971, Richard Holkar and Sally Holkar started REHWA i.e. Rewa- other name of river Narmada. At that time only 700 looms were working as there was no demand for Maheshwari sarees. Looking at the sad state of affairs, Rehwa was established to revive handloom industry in Maheshwar. Now there are more than 7000 looms in Maheshwar. Now these are made as pure cotton, Cotton silk and pure silk maheshwari sarees on pit loom that makes finest fabric. In Cotton Silk sarees the thread count is 25:75 or 50:50 as per the desired fabric and design.

Maheshwari Sarees are best for all occasions. They are soft, light weight, simple yet charismatic in their appearance and feel.

Click here to see our collection of Maheshwari Sarees

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