It is said that when lord Shiva was carrying the body of the dead mother goddess (Mai in Hindi) Sati, her necklace (har in Hindi) fell at this place and hence the name "Maihar" (Maihar = Mai+Har, meaning the "necklace of mother"). there is also one fact about Maihar, that related to famous king Alha and his brother Udal.
According to the locals of Maihar, the warriors Alha and Udal, who had war with Prithvi Raj Chauhan, were very strong followers of Sharda Devi. It is said that they are the first ones to visit the goddess in this remote forest. They called the mother goddess by the name "Sharda Mai", and henceforth she became popular as "Mata Sharda Mai". Alha worshiped for 12 years and got the amaratva with the blessings of Sharda Devi. Behind the temple and downhill is Alha Pond. At a distance of 2 km from this pond is situated an "akhara" (wrestling ring) where Alha and Udal used to practice kushti (wrestling). The people of Maihar believe that Alha is still alive and comes at 4:00 a.m. to worship the Goddess Sharda.
Maihar's history can be traced to the Paleolithic Age. The town was formerly the capital of the princely state of Maihar. The state was established in 1778 by Jogis clan, who were granted land by the ruler of the nearby state of Orchha.(Maihar king developed the other state Vijayraghavgarh). The state became a princely state of British India in the early 19th century, and was administered as part of Bundelkhand Agency in the Central India Agency. In 1871 the eastern states of Bundelkhand Agency, including Maihar, were separated to form the new agency of Bagelkhand in Central India. In 1933 Maihar, along with ten other states in western Bagelkhand, were transferred back to the Bundelkhand Agency. The title of the ruler is "MAHARAJA" and the present ruler is HH Maharaja Shrimant Saheb AkshayRaj Singh Ju deo Bahadur. The state had an area of 407 square miles (1,050 km2), and a population of 63,702 in 1901. The state, which was watered by the Tamas River, consists mainly of alluvial soil covering sandstone, and is fertile except in the hilly district of the south. A large area was under forest, the produce of which provided a small export trade. The title of the ruler was maharaja. The state suffered severely from famine in 1896–1897. Maihar became a station on the East Indian Railway (now the West Central Railway) line between Satna and Jabalpur, 97 miles (156 km) north of Jabalpur. Extensive ruins of shrines and other buildings surround the town.
There are so many attractions in Maihar city ,
Maa Sharda Devi Temple : Maihar city is known for the Maa Sharda devi temple (around of 502 A.D.), situated at the top of Trikoota hill which is around 5 km from the railway station. There are 1063 steps to reach the top of the hill.Alongwith stairs,there is ropeway for convenience of the pilgrims developed government authorities. Maihar Devi temple is a travel destination under the supervision of M.P. tourism, Government of Madhya Pradesh.
Gola Math Temple : This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This east facing Pancharathi temple is built in Nagara style and has been built during Kalchuri period(10th 11th century A.D.). It is said that this temple was built in one fortnight only.
Art Ichol: Developed recently in 2014, this fantastic art work gallery is a must visit in Maihar. Situated in Satna Road this is barely 5kms from the town.
Some other attractions are BadiMai Temple, Oila Temple, Alha Temple, Bada Akhada Temple, Pannikhoh Falls and Caves, Purva Falls.
Maihar is located at 24.27°N 80.75°E / 24.27; 80.75. It has an average elevation of 367 metres (1204 ft).The area receives moderate rainfall mostly in the month of July and August which is also the best time to visit the city apart from Navratras otherwise one can visit throughout the year.
As of the 2001 India census, Maihar had a population of 34,347. Males constitute 52% of the population and females 48%. Maihar reported an average literacy rate of 64%, with male literacy at 72%, and female literacy at 56%. In Maihar, 15% of the population is under 6 years of age.
Maihar has more than two CBSE schools: Maharishi Vidya Mandir at Katni Road, Maihar, the Birla factory's school at Sarlanagar and Gyan Vihar Vidya peeth at Satna Road, Maihar. Maa Sharda Devi Mandir Public School (MSDM) and Miniland Academy are other developing schools.Maihar has more than 25 Hindi and English medium schools.
Maihar is placed quite well as far as connectivity is concerned. It is connected via both major rail routes and National Highway 7. The Mahakoshal Express provides a daily direct connection from Delhi's Hazrat Nizamuddin station. The Mahakoshal train (Train no. is 12189(Jbp to Delhi) and 12190(Delhi to Jbp))runs between Hazrat Nizamuddin station and Jabalpur station which is situated about 722 kilometres (449 mi) past Maihar. Maihar railway station is situated in between Katni and Satna stations of the West Central Railway. During the Nav Ratra festivals there is a heavy rush of pilgrims. Therefore, during these days all UP and DOWN trains stop at Maihar for the convenience of passengers. The nearest airports are Jabalpur and Khajuraho.
Pilgrims can reach the temple either by the stairs or rope-way. Rope-way facility is available for all the pilgrims and is a safe, convenient, fast and economic way of reaching the remotely located temple.
Maihar is one of the most developed industrial towns of the state due to availability of lime stone beneath the ground. There is a 3.1 mn tn cement factory near Maihar (Maihar Cement Factory) which provides an industrial touch to the holy place. The factory complex and the township are situated at Sarlanagar about 8 km away from Maihar town on the Maihar-Vijayraghavgarh Road. KJS Cement is also one of the major cement industry at Rewa Road. Reliance opened its first Cement Plant in Katni Road near Maihar in 2014, but due to its financial and industrial issues, Aditya Birla Group took it in 2016. Majority of the population of Maihar is agricultural based and many rely on farming as their source of income.
Maihar has a prominent place in Indian classical music as the birthplace of the Maihar Gharana, a gharana (school or style) of Hindustani music. The greatest doyen of Indian classical music, Ustad Allauddin Khan (died 1972) lived here for a long time and was the court musician of Maihar Maharaja's palace. His students popularised the style in the 20th century and some of his renowned disciples are Pandit Ravi Shankar and Nikhil Banerjee. The first Ustad Allauddin Khan music conference was held by Shri Deep Chand Jain in 1962. Every year, Maihar organizes a 2/3 days Cultural Event in the memory of Ustad Allauddin Khan in month of February.