A guide to navigating Madhya Pradesh’s exclusive winter fest – Jal Mahotsav 2022-23

By Nivi Shrivastava

If you thought Madhya Pradesh was all about dense forest covers and elusive wildlife think again. Beyond the popular tourist circuits and wildlife adventures of MP, there lies an offbeat trail that flows through the banks of the holy river Narmada and takes you to the unseen, unexplored islands in the State. Tapping these untouched water banks and man-made islands in a land-locked State one can explore the wonders of the Jal Mahotsav which takes place annually for two months at the Hanuwantiya tent city on the banks of Indira Sagar Dam in Khandwa District. This year is the seventh edition of the winter carnival that started on Nov 28, 2022 and will be on till Jan 28, 2023 for all tourists.

MP’s Mediterranean appeal:

The new trend that’s picked up among tourists this year is Glamping or ‘glamours camping,’ which is all about spending time in the wilderness and experiencing the best of nature with responsible luxury. Following the footsteps of curated hospitality experiential for adventure travellers, the MP Govt and Jal Mahotsav organizers have developed the project in expansive 17 acres of land around the magnificent water body. There are 104 luxury Swiss tents as well as an AC conference hall for corporate conferences and the State Govt. plans to introduce activities like wellness spa by Kareli group of Kerala, three-day national international anglers angling sport event, music festival, cultural shows, and kite festival during the ongoing winter fest. Some of the main highlights of the festival this year are adventure activities like the flying inflatable boat, scuba diving, night safari at Boriyamal Island, luxury Regal series boat, 40 feet-high rope swing, zip cycle, paramotoring, parasailing, speed boat, jet-ski, hot air ballooning, motor boat riding etc. A place perfect advenuture enthusiats, who swear by water and air thrills.

The luxury glamping tents at Jal Mahotsav

Apart from all the adventure activities, the most appealing part of the stay has to be the brilliant sunset and sunrise views from the cruise that sails on the crystal-clear waters of the Indira Sagar Dam. Painting the horizons in brilliant shades of red, orange and blue as the sun goes down and the skies turn grey, the ride on the cruise is an experience to remember. As you come back to tent city, explore the rainbow coloured installations and artwork around the tents. Perhaps, take your time and pose for the Instagram-worthy memories at the artistic spots and selfie points across the property.   

Instagrammable spots at the Hanuwantiya Jal Mahotsav in Madhya Pradesh

How to reach Hanuwantiya:

After landing in the city of Indore, which is the closest airport and railway station, to reach Hanuwantiya tent city it takes about three to four hours to cover the 150 km distance by road. The route to MP’s Jal Mahotsav is equally enthralling and perfect for discerning tourists, who love a picturesque road trip and yummy street food like poha, jalebi, chaat and local kachoris that are easily available at local food joints and highway dhabas. For those who prefer the train, the closest railway station is Khandwa at approx 50 km distance from the tent city. One can pre-book a pick-up and drop to the tent city on request while booking the accommodation.

Design your adventure circuit:

If you get time from basking in the hearty sun and feeling the fresh breeze from the Indira Sagar Dam, explore around and visit the nearby towns of Omkareshwar and Maheshwar which are not too far from the location. One can easily book a taxi or hire a car on rent to visit the holy twin cities for an immersive experience. While Omkareshwar is a small but significant town famous for the holy Shiv temple and is the revered seat for one of the 12 Jyotirlingas, Maheshwar is famous for its gorgeous Narmada Ghats and Maheshwari saris that are exclusive to the region. Along the route, you can take a ferry ride and visit the Sailani Tapu – an island resort with luxury cottages and amazing hospitality for a serene stay in middle of dense greenery. If you feel like taking a longer route or spending a day extra before heading to Indore, drive down to Mandav and arrive at the historical hamlet of Mandu in approx four hours from Hanuwantiya. (To read more on Mandu click here)

The holy river Narmada in Omkareshwar

This holiday season, head to Hanuwantiya and plan a trip with your family, friends, or colleagues for an offsite tour to experience the wild islands of Madhya Pradesh and secret getaways that are far less expensive than Goa or Maldives. There’s something for everyone and absolutely safe for all groups.  After all, MP ka Jal Mahotsav nahi dekha toh kya dekha?

(Experience and FAM courtesy: MP TOURISM 

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