The most exciting thing after Mandu, in our Madhya Pradesh tour was the road trip from Hanuwantiya to Omkareshwar and Maheshwar. We were told that the roads are in excellent condition and it would be a smooth ride. Still we made sure to start by 8am so that we get maximum time to enjoy the spots and also not rash drive.
Hanuwantiya is a small place and the Madhya Pradesh Tourist Department have few cottages on the bank of the huge and awesome Indira Sagar Lake, the man made lake create for the Indira Sagar Dam. There are provisions for water sports there and we were quite recharged for the day long trip after enjoying the activities the previous morning and spending the rest of the day in a leisurely manner. There is a huge thermal power plant nearby and the initial few kilometers were not that pleasant. Bumpy and broken at places road. These are the times when a good CEAT Tyre comes handy. It makes your drive so much easier.
Once we crossed the Thermal Plant and reached the state highway, the ride became smooth. Agricultural fields on both sides and small villages in between greeted us we sped towards Omkareshwar. Traffic was also very light. Actually everything was in favour of boosting the speed. But it should also be kept in mind that one should never get carried. Or else it would be really tough to control the car in case of any emergency. A steady hand, clear mind, attentive eyes and good grips on your tyre will surely help you enjoy driving fast, yet stay safe. It was a great experience to zoom past everything on both side.
The traffic started increasing as we neared Omkarehwar and we rolled safely on one of the car parks inside the busy market place of the city. This place has one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Shiva. The temple is located on an island and there are two footbridges to cross the river Narmada. The views from the river was mind blowing. The temple, though almost renovated to a modern one, still have some old carvings and sculptures and they were beautiful.
After visiting the temples we drove a little uphill to reach the Narmada Resort for our lunch. It is a MPTDC property and the view from its dining room is excellent. Omkareshwar being a vegetarian place, we had a tasty and filling lunch of North Indian veg. Now it’s time to speed towards Maheshwar, our second destination for the day. The road was excellent as before, but the surroundings started changing. In place of flat agricultural lands it was a more rocky and uneven terrain with small hillocks. It was fun locating interesting structures and temples on top of the hillocks as we approached the city of Maheshwar.
Maheshwar is a fort city on the bank of Narmada and the capital of Rani Ahilya Bai Holkar. We enjoyed the fort, the beautifully sculpted temples and the river banks. We even took a boat ride in river Narmada and enjoyed the sunset here. This is a place where I can spend atleast a weekend. Hope would be able to return here soon and stay at the resort on the fort.
It was already dark when we started driving towards Mandu, our night halt. It was smooth ride on the highway until we took the diversion towards Mandu. The road was bumpy and a careful drive was needed. Soon we started driving uphill. The dark winding roads with trees on both sides were looking magical as the light from the car fell upon them. Soon we started rolling downhill and in few more minutes reached Malwa Resort, where we would be staying for the night before exploring Mandu the next day. It was a day well spend enjoying history, culture, religion and a great ride.