Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Fond Memories of MP - Maheshwar and Indore

The night at Mandu seemed to have passed really quickly, in no time the alarm was ringing and it was time for us to leave. To save time we paid our bills the previous day. We had to dig last bit of our money as we had underestimated how much we could drink and eat.

Having done all that to save time we reached rcar and found the driver sleeping peacefully. He had not set his alarm. It was half an hour delay before we started.

Originally we had planned to skip Maheshwar, but the guide had convinced us that it was must see. This place has the largest ghat for River Narmada. He told us that there was a short cut that we can use. Said the road was bad but manage able.

Little did we realise how bad it was… after a point there was no road. It was an abrupt end and the car had to get off the concrete platform to a path of just stones and mud. There was not a single soul around to ask if we were on the right track. Finally after an hour we managed to get to the main road and head towards Maheshwar.
At Maheshwar we asked the driver to stop at some place which served poha. He promised to take us to the best. We stopped at a small roadside shop. Our breakfast was going to be poha and jeelabis. Being a sweets freak I was hoping to eat only jeelabis for breakfast, but I was disappointed the jeelabis didn’t live up to the hype. The poha was good, AK who loves poha approved it.

From here we headed to the Ghat, wanted to be there before the crowd. Almost managed it. We walked around in our own pace taking pictures. It was peaceful. There were some temples and a fort to explore. But decided to do it after a short boat ride. Though we thought 100 Rs was too much for a short ride, we enjoyed it. It helped us get some good shots of the place.

The next bit was tiring. We had to go up the stairs to Ahilya bhai’s palace/ temple (She is worshipped in this region). The view from the top is nice. The palace itself was a disappointment. I expected more I guess.

But the best bit of the climb was that we saw a handloom factory and showroom called REWA. They manufactured Maheswari cotton and silk. We got permission to walk around the factory. It was an awesome experience. Both ladies, AK (non shopoholic) and me (the other extreme) went mad shopping when the guy confirmed that they accepted credit card. But when we finished and time came to make payment the cards wouldn’t work. After couple of tries he said we could try the ATM. The only ATM in this town and in the neighbour town wouldn’t work. So finally the people at the factory suggested that we make payment in Indore at their show room (Rarely you get to see ppl trust someone like this).

After a quick cup of tea in Laboo’s café (a café and hotel by the local prince) we were off to Indore.

The journey to Indore was dusty and tiring. We took short cut through villages and bad roads and finally we reached Indore. In Indore we did a quick stop at the Lal Bhag Palace and then checked into the hotel. The hotel was a good surprise. All of us were very excited about our rooms.

Quickly changed and headed to Chapan Dukhan (56 Shops). This was mentioned as a must visit for good food and sweets. It was a disappointment. Only thing that we liked was the shop that sold smoke work (a kind of embroidery). While we shopped Sharan went and paid at the REWA showroom closeby for our purchase in the morning.

From here we went to Rajwada Market. We had to walk, walk and walk. Suggestion would be to take an auto from Chatri. Only saving grace was Shikanli (drink like badam milk ) that we had. It was yummy and AK, who belongs to I hate sweets club liked it and drank a whole glass. The shopping complex is large and you have people at every 2 steps inviting you to their shop and willing to help. Shopped again and one more hole in our pockets.

We headed back to the hotel by now we had a better car; the one we used earlier had broken down because of the bad roads I think.

After some rest we were to head to the food street called Sarafa Market. AK backed out as her back was hurting. Sharan and I were off at 10:30 pm. This place is a paradise for junk food eaters. We started with Kachori and Samosa at the first shop. This place also had Garod (Tapioca) marinated, fried and serve with spices sprinkled a local delight and awesome tasting.

After we ate that we went looking for Bhutte ka kees (This is a dish made of grated corn). We were directed to a shop which was the best and featured on Times Now. Having tasted it we packed some for AK as well. The shop’s dahi ballas were also popular, Sharan tried it. As we walked we found sweets like Gajak, Malpua, Kulfi, Badam Milk, Jamoon, Icecream, all of which we ate. I am sure I weigh 5 kgs more after that.

Having stuffed ourselves we headed back to the hotel and went to sleep. Had another long day coming up.

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