At the end of a fun-filled day, the luxury tents offer comfort.
Take a day to explore the cities and towns close to Hanuwantiya and head to Indore, Mandu, or Maheshwar. Indore, about three and half hours by road, has some of the best street food in the state while the city’s famous handicrafts can make for great souvenirs.
Mandu, about four hours by road is one of Madhya Pradesh’s oldest historical cities. It can prove to be an interesting outing for the kids as they marvel at Mandu’s architectural gems: the ship-like facade of Jahaz Mahal situated between two artificial lakes; the many darwazas of the walled city; the sloping walls of Hindola Mahal (literally meaning Swinging Palace) and the open courtyards of Mandu Fort and Roopmati Pavilion. On the way back stop at Maheshwar to witness the sunset by the Narmada ghat or visit a weaver’s workshop to see how the famous Chanderi and Maheshwari sarees are made.
Back at the festival, continue this lesson in history and culture at the Craft Bazar. Regional handicrafts including textiles and toys are sold by local craftsmen. Pick up your favourite souvenirs and if your child is interested in crafts, encourage a conversation with the artisans to learn about the making of the things that catches their eye. Also get a taste of local cuisine at Jal Mahotsav’s food stalls which serve up regional specialities.
The festival also has a host of cultural performances.
Head to the festival’s paintball arena and take on your family members in a friendly game. Or, large family groups can divide into teams and engage in a game of tug of war.
A less charged-up but equally enjoyable option fit for kids and adults of all ages is kite flying. The hot air balloons share the space in the sky above the festival grounds with numerous kites. For all those parents who have flown a kite growing up, this can be a nostalgic experience and definitely one to share with the kids. Young children can also enjoy the different rides on the nearby Kids Zone.
After an activity-filled day or an outing to nearby towns, take some time off to relax. There is plenty to choose from. Go star gazing or get on one of the cruise boats for a leisurely sail over the waters of the Narmada. Take your pick from the cruise boats or the two house boats, and spent a lazy evening lounging on the deck. There are regular performances at the festival grounds and Indian and regional dances and music liven up the atmosphere.
One of the best ways to end the day at the Jal Mahotsav is perhaps with stories. The Swiss tents at the festival’s tented city have an outdoor deck with chairs and what is better than sitting under a starlit night sky and have parents and grandparents narrate stories, both fictional and real.
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