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The magical and mystical medieval town of Maheshwar is located in Madhya Pradesh state of India. It is known for its cultural, historical and religious importance. This was one of the town that was always on my bucket list. It’s a town steeped in history and known for the legendary queen Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar who ruled this place in 18th century. Today her residence along with entire fortification is called Ahilya Fort complex. The Fort complex houses Palace, temples, cenotaphs, Hotel, restaurants and River banks. Apart from history it’s a place of incredible natural beauty too as it’s located on the banks of Naramada River. This make this place very fertile with full of plantations and rich agricultural lands. Narmada River is sacred and the lifeline of Central India.

On my business trip to Indore I could not resist myself to visit this town so I did a day trip from Indore. Maheshwar is 90 Km (02 hours drive) from Indore and can easily be done in a day but if someone has more time in hand then I definitely suggest to stay in Maheshwar for at least 02 nights. The best Hotel to stay in Maheshwar is Ahilya Fort Hotel. Ahilya Fort Hotel is a heritage property that houses 19 rooms of character, set in six buildings of the 18th century, with modern amenities and comforts. Guests stroll through 3 acres of courtyards, fountains, and gardens. The Hotel is well located to explore the highlights of Maheshwar, including its bustling village markets and riverside complex of temples and cenotaphs.

I reached Maheshwar around 1000 hrs and hired a local tour guide at the main entrance of Fort. I was damn sure that without a guide I would not be able to learn the history & struggle of this place. So my decision was truly worthy.

As soon we were ready to start the tour the monsoon rain started to pour down and we had to wait under the main entrance gate for rain to stop. This was normal phenomenon during monsoon season here and luckily after 30 minutes rain stopped.

As you enter the main gate you will find a cool restaurant on your right side. We were not hungry so instead we proceed through the pathway to enter the Palace of Queen Ahilya Bai Holkar. 

This gate is also entrance to heritage Hotel that was recently converted into Hotel. The Hotel houses 19 Rooms of unique characters. Then we continued to the inspiring statue of Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar which was built in one of the gardens of the Fort. It was really great know from my guide about Maharani’s contribution towards the welfare of its people. She devoted all her life in the well being of people and doing social-religious works across India throughout her life. My guide made sure I visited her audience hall, her sitting place, her Room and place of her worship. It was truly a great feeling.

Then it was time to come out of Place and see the temples, cenotaphs and River Bank. As soon as you exit the Palace you see the sights of Narmada River and temples. I was completely thrilled to see the architectural wonders of Shiva temple.

After visiting temple I stepped down to River Bank from where you see the clear and majestic view of Narmada River. You realize the beauty of this fortification when you see the entire complex from River Bank.

Then I decided to opt for a 30 minutes boat ride of Narmada River. This turned out to be the highlight of my trip. I was able to get some breathtaking views of Narmada River that is almost 01 Km wide here in Maheshwar.. Narmada River is a natural boundary between North & South India.

After an amazing time spent of Narmada Banks I visited a silk & cotton Saree weaving factory. Maheshwar is known for weaver community who have dedicated themselves in saree weaving. Its an old & traditional business here and was such a great experience to witness it.

Finally it was evening time and I had to say goodbye to this magical and mystical place. I promised myself to return to this place very soon. Narmada River truly won my heart.

Source: Hemant Kaushik - We Must Travel

To learn more about Maheshwar and other destinations in India please contact your local Mondo Travel Specialist on 0800 110 108. 

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Bangkok is one of the most visited cities in the world, and although its nightlife is a major drawcard, it is also known for its dazzling temples, spectacular palaces, a world-famous floating market and colourful Chinatown.

The flight from Auckland to Bangkok takes around 12 hours and 15 minutes. Contact your local Mondo Travel Specialist to find the best possible airfares and suggestions to design your ideal holiday - call 0800 110 108 or email info@mondotravel.co.nz.

Although the capital city of Thailand is known to the world as Bangkok, local people refer to it as Krung Thep but even this is a shortened version of the actual name which consists of 169 characters and makes for a challenging tongue twister. The full name is: Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahinthara Yutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udom Ratchaniwet Mahasathan Amonphiman Awatansathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukamprasit.

This roughly translates to: City of angels, great city of immortals, magnificent city of the nine gems, seat of the king, city of royal palaces, home of gods incarnate, erected by Visvakarman at Indra’s behest.

Aside from Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha) and Wat Arun (the Temple of Dawn), which are all quite close together, there are a number of other temples fit for exploration.

  • Golden Mount – Wat Saket (an Ayutthaya-era temple on top of a hill in the middle of Bangkok)
  • Wat Khaek – Sri Maha Mariamman Temple (a Hindu shrine in Silom)
  • Wat Mangkon Kamalawat (a chinese temple in Chinatown with Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian deities
  • Wat Traimit (also in Chinatown, containing the world’s largest seated gold Buddha, weighing 5.5 tonnes)
  • Wat Bang Phra (the original sacred tattoo temple, which is just outside Bangkok)

Yaowarat the local Chinatown in Bangkok is the world’s largest Chinatown and is home to over a million Chinese people. Yaowarat is also one of the most vibrant places in Bangkok to shop and eat.

Bangkok is built over a dozen of canals, and its buildings stand on stilts just like Venice. Although most canals have now been filled and paved, Bangkok is still popular with tourists as Venice of the East.

Spread over 27 acres of land and divided into 27 sections, Chatuchak Weekend market is one of the world’s biggest weekend markets and a heaven for foodies and bargain-hunters.

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After several years of exploration, followed by construction with the greatest respect for fauna and flora, the private atoll of Nukutepipi, in French Polynesia, is now ready to be inaugurated and to welcome its first visitors. Housed in the endless blue of the ocean and framed by beaches of pristine white sand, this island embodies paradise and invites relaxation.
 
"Nukutepipi is a place of rest, inspiration and discovery for the senses. Appreciating and preserving local flora and fauna is the essence of this seaside resort project, as is the desire to pay tribute to the Polynesian cultural traditions to which the island belongs ", explains Guy Laliberté, founder of Cirque du Soleil, the One Drop Foundation and Lune Rouge.
 
Nukutepipi is a stunning island of beauty, as well as a natural sanctuary in which many species live in harmony. Preserving and cherishing the ecosystem of this exceptional atoll is a priority and several initiatives aimed at food self-sufficiency have been instated in recent years.
 
The island is home to many sports facilities (tennis, volleyball, fare yoga, gym, etc.) in addition to a spa, a games room and a cinema. It is also possible to practice a wide range of water activities. In addition to its guests, Nukutepipi also hosts artwork from the Lune Rouge Collection, including internationally acclaimed artists such as Wim Delvoye, Jim Dine and Damien Hirst. Canvas on bark cloth, tikis or bas-reliefs: the chosen pieces all pay homage to the richness of the Polynesian culture.
 
Nukutepipi in numbers :

  • Nukutepipi is located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, less than 1,000 km from Tahiti;
  • The island can accommodate up to 52 guests;
  • There is a main villa, 2 junior villas and 13 beach bungalows;
  • The perimeter of Nukutepipi is 9.54km;
  • There are more than 15 varieties of birds on this atoll.

Nukutepipi is part of Sunset Luxury Villas, a portfolio of private properties carefully selected by Guy Laliberté.

Source: South Pacific Management

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