The winter had just started to recede and spring was in the air. I was visiting my hometown in Indore and I decided to go for a quick getaway with some old friends one weekend. We decided to head towards Omkareshwar in the Khandwa district. Although this ancient temple town is known as a famous pilgrimage destination, our objective was just to escape somewhere quieter and away from the city.
I usually prefer the fastest mode of transport and shortest route, especially when traveling alone. But when traveling with friends or family, I have discovered that it’s more fun taking a road trip. Also, I have come to realize that some of the best places in India are better explored when driving or trekking. It gives such an intimate look into the place, which we would otherwise never find when taking a flight, train, or a bus. Avail a top-rated Indore car rental with an experienced driver, so we could relax on our much-awaited weekend and not bother about which route to take, where to exit and enter the highway, or what shortcuts to follow.
I have always been fascinated by the landscape of Madhya Pradesh, not only because it is my homeland, but because it truly is a geological wonder. If there are rugged mountains and arid plateaus on one side, then there are also fertile river plains and dense forests on the other. The landscape boasts a perfect blend of earthy colors with cool and warm tones. And the further you explore into the hinterlands of the state, the heart of India opens up with more warmth. With our reliable taxi from Indore to Omkareshwar, we passed through the winding roads and hilly terrains. Although it was warmer in Indore city, the weather was comparatively cooler and more pleasant as we moved southwards. It was only a two-three hour drive and most of our time went by enjoying the scenic route, listening to the car radio and catching up with each other after a long time.
Since it was a day trip, we started early from Indore, so we could be back by night. We made our first and only stop at Barwaha. We indulged in some nostalgia and sugar rush at the Madhuvan Sweets in town. It’s an iconic place and has a huge assortment of confections that one can imagine. We washed down the calories with tea and headed back on the road. If you are traveling in the day time and want to stop for a quick meal on the highway, then head further down the road to Hotel Gopal Midway. Their meals are known to be the best in the neighborhood.
Omkareshwar: First Look
When we reached, it was still morning, and the day’s activities had just started in the town. The best thing about Omkareshwar is its location. It nicely sits on an island formed by the Narmada and Kaveri Rivers. Since early morning, the temple sees a rush of devotees, especially if it’s a Monday or a Saturday. The overall energy of the place was divine, as always, with an ancient vibe about it; a far cry from the metro life we are used to. The Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga Temple, after which the town got named, is said to be a sacred site for Hindus and enshrines one of the Jyotirling of Shiva. Without getting into the religious and mythological details, I can say that this is the main attraction of the town and draws pilgrims from far and wide. But our objective of the trip was not to explore the temple as much as it was to rediscover the natural wonders of Omkareshwar.
An architectural wonder
With our cab available to us for the entire day, so we could stop at different places and have a proper day out in the outdoors. After a brief tour of the river island area and a few photographs, we headed straight to the Siddhanath Temple. Although this is technically a temple, it has more historical significance than a religious one. It is an archeological site as well and houses ruins from the 13th- century The red sandstone structure still boasts its carved pillars and archways, which have managed to stands tall, fighting through the sands of time and was a pure visual delight. The temple covered a huge area in an almost-empty neighborhood, making it an interesting site to explore. At some places, the stone sculptures of gods, goddess, and dancers were quite prominent, while some parts of the temple lay in ruins. The decadent beauty of the ruins was quite inviting and made for the perfect canvas for a hobby photographer like me.
We spent quite a few hours there and rested under the shades of the temple porch. It turned out to be a refreshing break from the city life and into a place where time seems to have stopped.