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Ahilya Fort

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A haven of tranquillity, the hassle-free sacred town of Maheshwar is home to one of the loveliest heritage properties in the state. The summer palace of Indore’s Prince Richard Holkar (a whiz in the kitchen with a number of cookbooks to his name), the fort is a labyrinthine 18th-century palace, complete with maintained English flower gardens and evocative battlements of rough-hewn stone. Each guest room is a unique combination of colonial period furniture and personal touches, with smart attention to detail. Choose between a river-facing unit (the ‘royal’ rooms have balconies overlooking the river) or one with a private courtyard, or ask to stay in one of two luxurious tents. Besides visiting Mandu (56km/35 miles away), you can explore the Maheshwar temple just next door or visit the local Holkar-resuscitated handloom center. Have dinner on the river under moonlight, or select a terrace, courtyard, or battlement to be your preferred dining spot; the refined meals are a real highlight.

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