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You sink into well-cushioned sofas on shady verandahs; sit up in battlements to watch river life unfolding below you; take boat trips at sunset, cocktail in hand; and dine outside under neem trees or on one of the many terraces. Perched above the sacred Narmada River, 250-year-old Ahilya Fort is a fascinating, romantic haven set in a little explored part of India. There’s a royal touch, too: this is the home of Prince Shivaji Rao Holkar, son of the last Maharajah of Indore. He acts as host and chef for up to 22 guests who stay in wonderfully appointed rooms or magnificent tents. The surrounding area offers the deserted city of Mandu and the island temple of Omkareshwar, while in Maheshwar, are some of the country’s most beautiful ghats, as well as the famous weaving workshops which produce fabulous textiles – sponsored by the Holkar family.

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