Maheshwara is believed to have been built on the site of the ancient city of Somavanshya Shastrarjuna Kshatriya and was the capital of King Kartavirya Arjuna, (Sri Shastrarjuna), who is mentioned in the Sanskrit epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. According to a popular legend, one day King Sahasrarjuna and his 500 wives went to the river. When the wives wanted a huge play area, the king stopped the mighty Narmada river with his 1000 arms. While they were all enjoying, Ravana flew away in his Pushpak Vimana. When he saw the dry river bed, he thought it was a perfect place to pray to Lord Shiva. He made a Shivling out of the sand and started praying. When the wives of Sahasrajuna had finished playing and they came out from the bottom of the river, they let the water flow. The huge river was flowing downstream carrying Ravana's Shivling, thereby obstructing his prayer. Enraged, Ravana locates Sahasrajun and challenges him. The mighty Ravana armed with weapons was in a great surprise. The mighty Sahasrarjuna with 1000 arms threw Ravana to the ground. Then he placed 10 lamps on his head and one on his hand. After tying Ravana, Sahasrarjuna dragged him home and tied him to the pillar of his son's cradle. A humiliated Ravana remained captive till he was released.
In the late eighteenth century, Maheshwar served as the capital of the great Maratha queen Rajmata Ahilya Devi Holkar. He adorned the city with many buildings and public works, and it is home to his palace, as well as several temples, a fort, and riverside ghats (wide stone steps leading to the river).
Maheshwar is full of festivals and celebrations, some are Nag Panchami, Gudi Padwa, all Mondays of Shravan month, Mahashivratri, Samoti Amavas, and all other Indian festivals. There are many places of interest here like the golf swing also belongs to him and it is located in Rajwada. Maheshwar also has a temple of Goddess Vindhyavasini Bhavani, one of the 24 Shaktipeeths of Goddess Parvati.
Mahamrityunjay Rath Yatra in Maheshwar City:
This Mahamrityunjaya Rath Yatra was started by Shri Harvilas Asopa for the welfare of humanity and is known as the first of its kind in the world. The journey ends on the banks of the holy river Narmada, the Ayurveda idol of Lord Sadashiv Mahamrityunjaya.
Maheshwar is a culturally rich city and its importance is described through Puranas and history. It is a religious city and the people here are simple and pleasant.
Maheshwari's Palace (Rajwada)
The palace and the Rajwada inside the fort are the places to see in Maheshwar. This area is the place from where Ahilyabai used to sit for administration and justice for all. There is a statue of Rajmata Ahilyabai Holkar sitting on the Rajgadi. And many things of that time were used by the queen herself. There is a huge idol of Goddess Ahilyabai near the palace in front of Rajwada, this 13 feet high metal idol is of Shri Anil Kumar Gote, MLA of Maharashtra. All the deities that Ahilyabai used to worship every day are in Rajwada. There is also a golden swing in the place of worship.
Maheshwar is a city of temples, most of the temples are of Lord Shiva. Most Mahadev temples in Maheshwar changed the name of the city to "Gupta Kashi". The famous temples here in Maheshwar are Shri Rajarajeshwar Mahadev, Kashi Vishwanath, Ahilyeshwar Mahadev, Jwaleshwar Mahadev, Baneshwar, Kaleshwar, Saptmatrika, and Kadambeshwar. Some newly built grand temples are also in the form of Datta Dham in the Sahastradhara area.
It is said that there are more than 100 temples in Maheshwar. It seems that these temples are telling the long history of Maheshwar.