Handloom weaving in Maheshwar has an ancient history dating back to some 1500 years. This tradition owes its resurgence to Maharani Ahilyabai Holkar, who ruled the former state of Indore from 1765 to 1795 and under whose patronage the weavers prospered. They were also supported by wealthy local families who promoted the fine textiles.
With the coming of Indiaâ€™s independence in 1947, the royal patronage disappeared, leaving the weavers unable to find new markets. Quality declined and incomes diminished.
To countervail this development, the scion of the Holkar dynasty, Richard Holkar and his wife Sally Holkar founded Rehwa Society in 1978 with a grant from the Central Welfare Board.