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Indore History


The history of Indore reveals that the ancestors of the founders of the city were the hereditary Zamindars and indigenous landholders of Malwa. The families of these landlords led a luxurious life. They retained their possessions of royalty, including an elephant, Nishan, Danka and Gadi even after the advent of Holkars. They even retained the right of performing the first pooja of Dussehra (Shami Pujan). During Mughal rule, the families were granted confirmatory sanads by the Emperors Aurangzeb, Alamgir and Farukhshayar, confirming their 'Jagir' rights.


Rao Nandlal Chaudhary Zamindar was the Chief Zamindar and received a special place in the emperor's court of Delhi. He was presented two jewel studded swords, which are now displayed in the Royal British Museum. He was also friendly with Raja Savai Jai Singh of Jaipur. He gifted him with a special "Gold Langar" which guaranteed a special place to him in all the Durbars of India. In 1713, Deccan plateau was handed over to Nizam. This renewed the struggle between the Marathas and the Mughals. Read on to know more about the historical background of Indore.


From time to time, Maratha invaders kept harassing the people of Malwa Rao Nandlal Chaudhary. Being the chief Zamindar, he had an army of 2000 soldiers. Once, while visiting the banks of river Saraswati, Rao Nandlal found a location surrounded by rivers on all sides. To protect his people from harassment by Marathas and Mughals, he started moving his people to this place and constructed the fort of Shree Sansthan Bada Rawala. This city was named Indrapur after Lord Indreshwar, and eventually came to be known as Indore.


In 1743 AD, Baji Rao Peshwa finally received the Viceroyalty of Malwa. However he was bound by a treaty from infringing upon the rights of Zamindars. Malhar Rao Holkar was one of the four signatories of the treaty. So, on victory, the Peshwas appointed Malhar Rao Holkar as a "Subhedar". This marked the beginning of Holkars' reign in Malwa. Indore also came under the rule of Maratha Maharajas of the Holkar dynasty. In 1733, the dynasty's founder, Malhar Rao Holkar (1694-1766), was appointed as the Maratha Governor of the region.


By the end of his reign, the Holkar state was independent. He was succeeded by his daughter-in-law Ahilyabai Holkar (1767 - 1795). She ruled from a palace-fort at Maheshwar, situated to the south of Indore. Ahilyabai Holkar had a passion for architecture. She used to donate money for the construction of Hindu temples, across the Indian subcontinent. In 1818, the Holkars were defeated by the British in the Third Anglo-Maratha War and the Holkar kingdom became a part of the British Empire.

After the defeat in the Battle of Mahidpur, the treaty of Mandsaur was signed. According to which, the Cantonment town of Mhow was handed over to the British. The treaty also declared the shifting of the capital of the Holkar state from Maheshwar to Indore. In 1947, after India's independence, Indore, along with other princely states, became a part of the Indian state of Madhya Bharat. Indore was elected as the summer capital of the new state. Finally, on November 1, 1956, Madhya Bharat was merged into Madhya Pradesh.

Indore Location

The geographical location of Indore is 22.2 - 23.05o North Latitude and 75.25 - 76.16o East Longitude. It is the largest city of the Central-Indian state of Madhya Pradesh; with an area of 3898 sq km, and is situated on the Malwa Plateau. The location of Indore makes it central to the Indian subcontinent. The city once used to serve as the summer capital of the former state of Madhya Bharat. The location of Indore is just south of the Satpura range, at an altitude of 553 meters above sea level.


It is the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh and is also the administrative headquarters of the Indore District and the Indore Division. As a result, the city has become a hub of industrial, technological and educational activity. Indore was once the capital of the princely state of Indore. The strong historical background has given the city rich culture and heritage and it is therefore a popular tourist spot today. The strategic location of Indore has also contributed to its manifold development.


People

As per historical records, the Maratha warriors were in constant battle with the Mughal Empire. During the war, their army transit camps here attracted the local Zamindars (landlords) for trade. The landlords were lured by the promise of lucrative trade and settled in the villages on the banks of River Khan and Saraswati. This laid the foundation of the commerce centre of Indore in 1715. Later in 1741, the temple of Indreshwar was built in the town, from which it derived its name Indore.


Since then the Indore city of India has changed drastically. Today, the major population of Indore belongs to different parts of India. They have actually migrated and settled in the heart of Madhya Pradesh for various reasons like livelihood, education and its peaceful environment. People of Indore are from all castes, creed and color. As a result, Indore boasts of a true cosmopolitan city culture with multi ethnic and multilingual people living in perfect harmony. The local people of Indore reflect the true spirit of unity in diversity.


They are highly social and progressive and present a beautiful blend of all the cultures. The diverse culture is quite visible even in the food habits of the people. The food variety ranges from South Indian 'Idli Dosa, Vada Sambhar' to 'Dal-Bafla', a typical Malwa Food. Indore is famous for its wide variety of "Namkeens'', Gujarati & Chinese food restaurants and Bengali sweets. However, a survey on the food habits of the people has shown that Indore people are prone to diseases like hypertension and heart problems.

How to Reach Indore

Before you actually start travelling to any place, the first and foremost thing you should know is how to reach there. Indore is the largest city in the state of Madhya Pradesh as well as its commercial capital. Therefore, it is well connected with the whole of India by road, rail as well as air transport services. Indore is also a tourist destination due to which the city has proper transport channels. For the convenience of the visitors there are regular services of bus, train and flights. Get more information on reaching Indore.


By Road

Indore is fairly well connected to different parts of Madhya Pradesh as well as India. There are a number of National and State Highways passing from Indore namely, NH3, NH69, 69A, NH86. This makes the place very accessible. The city is connected to all the major and minor cities nearby, via proper roads. There are bus services to and from Indore to facilitate traveling. The prominent cities linked to Indore by road are Bhopal, Barwani, Khandwa, Ujjain, Dewas, Dhar, Ratlam, Khargoan, Jhabua and Agar.


By Rail

Indore lies on the longest functional meter gauge line in India, i.e. between Jaipur and Purna. The railway station of the city falls under the Ratlam division of Western Railways. Indore is one of the few places in India where both meter gauge and broad gauge railways tracks operate. An interesting feature of these lines is that they intersect each other forming a Diamond crossing. Indore is well connected to all parts of the country including the four metros.

There are direct trains to Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata (Howrah) and Chennai. Though the number of trains is less, Indore has train services to other major towns like Trivandrum, Ahmedabad, Pune, Jammu, Jaipur, Lucknow, Bhopal, Nagpur, Patna etc. There are four stations within the city, namely Rajendra Nagar, Lokmanya Nagar, Saifee Nagar and Lakshmibai Nagar. They even run short distance trains connecting Indore to nearby towns and villages.


By Air

Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport in Indore connects it to most of the major cities in the country. It is directly linked to Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Jaipur, Raipur, Nagpur and Bhopal, via major airlines. There are various airlines operating from Indore. These include Indian Airlines, Jet Airways, Air Sahara, Kingfisher Airlines and Deccan Aviation. Indore airport has good infrastructure and facilities. It is proposed to give it international status soon.

Indore Weather

When we are going on a vacation to any place, its weather greatly affects the trip. Therefore, before deciding to leave, it is better to check out the climate of the particular place. Indore is located in Central India, far away from the sea. Due to this location, the city has a moderately extreme weather. One can roughly say that, for traveling purpose, the climate of Indore is best during winters and monsoon. Get more information on the weather of Indore city of Madhya Pradesh.


Summers

During the summer months i.e. between April-June, the temperature of the city is quite high. The approximate temperature of a summer day is between 35 deg C and 40 deg C. During the month of May, when the sun shines with all its glory, the day temperature even touches 45 deg C. However, unlike other places in Central India, the summer nights in Indore are quite different. It is located on the southern edge of the Malwa Plateau. Therefore no matter how hot it may be during the day, in the late evening, cool breeze blows in the region. This makes the evenings quite pleasant.


Winters

The winter months are quite enjoyable in Indore. Traveling can be fun during this time of the year. During the winter season, i.e. between November and February, the night temperature is around 10 deg C. During the month of January, when the winter is on its peak, the temperature can go down to as low as 2 deg C to 3 deg C. The lowest temperature recorded till date is as low as 1.5 deg C.


Monsoons

On an average one can say that the weather of the Malwa region is quite pleasant throughout the year. This is because the region gets a moderate rainfall, making the weather pleasing. Indore also gets a moderate rainfall of 30-35 inches (80cms). The maximum rainfall takes place during the months of July-September due to the South West Monsoon. Therefore, the peaceful surroundings of Indore can be best enjoyed during the monsoon.


Best Time to Visit Indore

Best Time To Visit: October-March




Indore is situated on the Malwa Plateau, just south of the Satpura Range. It is situated in the center of the state of Madhya Pradesh away from the sea. Due to this Indore experiences an extreme climate. There is a huge variation in the weather of the city. During summers, Indore is quite hot. The day temperature at times reaches 45o C, making the heat pretty severe. But the nights in Indore are unusually cool. Infect, this is the most peculiar feature of the place as far as the climatic conditions are concerned.


The reason for the pleasant weather of Indore during night is the cool breeze, known as 'Shab-e-malwa', which blows in the region. Thus, no matter how hot it might be during the day, the nights are always cool. During the winters, the weather is quite nice. The temperature may reach as low as 10 deg C, making the weather chilling cold. But still, the city remains quite enjoyable during this time. On an average, the tourists visit Indore during the months of October to March, making it the best time to visit Indore.


This is the most pleasant time of the year and is also regarded as the peak season for Indore travel or the ideal time to visit Indore. Though the city has a varying climate, you can visit it throughout the year. Whenever you plan to explore Indore, don't forget to check out the climate. This will help you in packing your bags. During summers, it is better stick to cottons, while in winters; you can carry your woollens along with you.

Indore Art and Craft

Indore is the commercial capital of the largest state in the country, Madhya Pradesh. It is known for its magnificent monuments, exuberant festivity and blissful solitude. Apart from this, Indore also boasts of a fairly good arts and crafts industry, which has a charm of its own. It exhibits hereditary skills, painstaking craftsmanship and evokes a desire to learn more about the land. The art and craft of Indore are influenced by the neighbouring states, but at the same time, they have developed their own distinctive style and individuality.


Hand Block Printing

Hand block printing is among the most important crafts of Indore. The colours used in this process are vegetable and natural dyes like Indigo, turmeric roots, pomegranate skin, lac, iron etc. These substances create a rich yet subtle effect. The natural colours do not fade easily as they permeate the fabric. This gives the fabric an attractive look.


Tie and Dye

The art of tying and dyeing fabric of Indore is also quite popular. The process is known as Bandhani or Bandhej in Madhya Pradesh. This is a delicate technique which represents the earliest forms of resist patterning. In this process, parts of the fabric are tied with thread to make small knots. Then the fabric is dipped in dye. This leaves a colourful pattern on the cloth. In Indore, craftsmen produce exquisite samples of tie and dye.


Batik

Another art form famous here is quite unique. It is known as Batik. It is a resist process in which molten wax is applied on the fabric and then dyed in cold dyes. Batik is done on quite a large scale in Indore. Multi-colored Batik sarees of Indore are popular for their varied design and attractive color contrast and schemes. Other than sarees, dress material, bed sheets, lungis, dupattas etc. are also made here.


Jute Industry

Besides cotton, Jute is the cheapest and most important of all textile fibers. It is used on a large scale in the manufacturing of different types of packaging material for agricultural and industrial products in Indore. Jute has a coarse character, natural color and heavy texture. It exhibits an earthiness which has a unique charm of its own. Jute handicrafts available at Indore includes items like hanging lamps, baskets, flower vases, swings, hammocks, purses, table mats, footwear etc.


Zari Work

Indore has a wide variety to offer in terms of its craft work. On one hand, it offers handicrafts in crude jute and on the other hand, it also practices one of the most delicate art works called Zari work. The craft of Zari work is very intricate as well as fragile. Practiced in Indore, it is famous for its exquisite craftsmanship.


Stuffed Leather Toys

Another most famous craft in the region is stuffed leather toys. These toys are available in various forms and sizes. They are skilfully crafted and casually painted to look very attractive. Craftsmen in Indore specialize in making leather shoes, jutties, leather bags, mushk, etc. But with time, the craft has evolved and new leather articles have come up. Today, Indore is even making leather garments on a big scale.

Indore Festivals

Owing to its rich cultural background, Indore Festivals are celebrated with great zest and are one of the main attractions of the city. Though growing westernization has been a reason behind the celebration of events like Valentine's Day, Friendship Day and New Year's Eve, Indore has not lost its traditional values. The city still celebrates a host of traditional festivals which originated centuries back. All national festivals, like Diwali, Holi, Eid-ul-Fitr and Rakhi, are also celebrated in Indore with the same enthusiasm as in the other parts of Madhya Pradesh as well as India.


Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated quite differently in Indore city. Earlier, when textile mills flourished here, the workers of the mills contributed money and labor to arrange a carnival of floats ("Jhanki") and celebrated the festival with great pomp and show. Another festival celebrated here is Makar Sankranti, also known as the Kite Festival. The sky over Indore is rendered colorful as people fly kites and organize competitions on this day. It is celebrated on 14th January each year. Some other major festivals celebrated in Indore are.


Anant Chaudas

Anant Chaudas is celebrated around the month of September. On the night of Anant Chaudas, large processions are taken out and huge idols of Lord Ganesha are immersed in water. The festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm by the people.


Rangapanchami

Rangapanchami is celebrated five days after Dulendi or Holi, but it is not the usual Holi colors that paint the atmosphere around, rather it is the color of music that fills the air. Indore has its own style of celebrating Rang Panchami. Here, it is celebrated like Dulendi, but colors are mixed with water and then poured on others. On the event of the festival, the local municipal corporation sprinkles color mixed water on the main streets of old Indore. Earlier, they used Fire Brigade vehicles for this purpose. Rangapanchami is an age old festival, which was celebrated during the Holkar reign and continues to be celebrated till date.


Ahilya Utsav

Ahilya Utsav is an annual festival celebrated in Indore. It is celebrated to commemorate the death anniversary of Rani Ahilya Bai, the brave queen of Indore.


Navratri

Though Navratri is celebrated throughout the country, it has a special relevance for the people of Indore. The temple of Bijasen Mata is located on a small hillock called Bijasen Tekri. In the months of September/October, during Navratri, a fair is organized at this temple. It attracts pilgrims in huge numbers.

Indore Entertainment

Entertainment has become a necessity in the cities, today. The busy and stressful lifestyle gives people little time to enjoy and relax. In such a situation, the various means of entertainment come to rescue. Indore is equipped with places like malls and cinema halls to provide relief from all the worries and tensions. These options are very viable and facilitate people to steal time from their work, for pleasure. Tourists coming to the Indore city of India can also avail the opportunity and entertain themselves completely.


Cinema

Cinema is the most popular medium of entertainment in Indore as well as in the whole country. Owing to the fact that Indians are great cinema lovers, Bollywood has emerged out to be one of the biggest film industries in the world. Indian cinema is quite rich in its content and has a great deal to offer to its viewers. People become ignorant of their daily life problems and get refreshed. There are a number of cinema halls in the city where you can enjoy the new releases, namely PVR, Mangal Adlabs, INOX, Velocity, Man Mandir, Madhumilan, Neel kamal, Alka etc.


Malls

Malls are the hottest trends in cities today. Apart from being exotic shopping destinations, they are emerging out to be one of the major hang out places of the city crowd. Malls provide a comprehensive package to the people, wherein they can shop, eat and enjoy at the same place. The motto is: everything under one roof. Indore is also host to many such malls, which provide variety and comfort to the visitors. Treasure Island is the largest, with 5 floors and 245 stores. It is the most popular mall around and is located in the heart of the city. There are also other malls namely Mangal City mall, Indore mall, Orbit mall, Salaasar market etc.


Indore Shopping

Indore is the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh. Therefore, there is a lot of commercial activity in the city. The trade and commerce of Indore resembles to that of Mumbai. One of the reasons for that is Mumbai is very well connected to Indore via all transport channels. Therefore all the business activities of Mumbai reflect on the trade of Indore, resulting in it being called Mini Mumbai at times. Shopping in Indore can be fun as the markets here offer a lot of variety to the consumers.

There are a number of shopping places in Indore. Even international shops and showrooms are present here. Indore is also famous for its cloth industry. Fabrics adorned with hand block printing, tie and dye and Zari work are some of the specialties of Indore. Maheshwari and Chanderi sarees are an all time favorite for the people residing here. Apart from this, there are also a variety of local crafts to choose from. In short, Indore is truly a shopper's paradise. You can shop till you drop. Read on to know where to shop in the Indore city of Madhya Pradesh.


Local Shopping

  • MT Cloth Market

    It is popular market for wholesale clothing.

  • Sitlamata Bazar

    It is popular for retail clothing and sarees.

  • Kothari Market

    It is a posh market, with showrooms like Louis Philippe, Raymond, Bombay Dying, etc.

  • Topkhana

    It is popular for big showrooms of readymade garments.

  • Heritage Market

    It is popular for big showrooms like Nike, Lee, Arrow, Van Hussein, Allen Solly, Grasim, Woodlands, etc.

  • M.T.H. Compound

    It is a popular electronic home appliances market.

  • R.N.T. Marg

    It is popular for big departmental stores like Avani, Sanskar Dress materials, etc.

  • Bada and Chota Sarafa Market

    It is famous for all kind of jewelry, delicious sweets, chaat and namkeen shops.

  • Moolchand Market

    It is famous for readymade garments, especially for children.

  • Siyaganj

    It is a wholesale market of hardware, paints and food items.

  • Jail Road

    It is a place mainly for electrical items and tailoring shops.

  • Marothia Bazar

    It has shops for arts and crafts, along with groceries.

  • Khajuri Bazar

    It is a big market for all types of books and stationery items.

Rajwada

Rajwada is the historical palace of the Holkars. It was built about two centuries ago and is located near the Chhatris in the main square. It is a seven storied structure, which serves as the living example of the grandeur of the Holkars. Rajwada stands in the centre of the city. The new palace is on the northern side, while the old palace stands in the old part of the town. The old palace is a multi-storied building which also serves as a gateway of the Rajwada. It stands amongst the crowded streets of the Kajuri Bazar and faces the main square of the city.

The palace was once the centre of all the trading activities in the city. It is a blend of Maratha, Mughal and French style of architecture. The entrance of the palace has a lofty archway with a giant wooden door which is covered with iron studs. The gopura-like monument is made up of wood and stone. It has a number of balconies windows and corridors. The entrance leads to a huge courtyard, which is surrounded by galleried rooms and the arcaded Ganesha hall, which was once the venue of all state and religious functions. This hall is now used for art exhibitions and classical music concerts.

Rajwada has been burnt three times in history. The last fire broke out in 1984 and caused the maximum destruction. The lower three floors are made up of stone, while the top floors are made of wood. This made it very vulnerable to destruction by fire. Now, only the front part of the original structure remains. The palace has recently been renovated, which has managed to bring back the old glory to some extent. In the rear part of the palace, a beautiful garden has been created. It contains fountains, an artificial waterfall and some magnificent pieces of 11th century sculpture.

Lal Baag Palace

Lal Baag Palace is one of the most spectacular buildings in Indore. It stands on the outskirts of the town, towards the southwest. It is a three storey building on the bank of the River Khan. The palace was built by Maharaja Shivaji Rao Holkar during 1886-1921. Situated amidst dry and dusty gardens, it is architecturally quite similar to the New Palace. Lal Bagh Palace once hosted many royal receptions and even today, reflects the life style and taste of the Holkar Rulers.

The construction of the palace began in 1886 under Tukoji Rao Holkar II. It was carried out in three phases and the final phase was completed in 1921 under Tukoji Rao Holkar III. Owing to its unique style of construction, it was one of the most stylish residences in India. The entrance hall on the ground floor is in marble and displays prehistoric artifacts. There is a coin collection on the first floor which dates back to the Muslim period.

There are also exhibits like contemporary Indian and Italian paintings and sculptures. The interiors of the Lal Baag Palace transport the visitors to the historic era. Lavish decorations in the style of Versailles Palace, Italian marble columns, grand chandeliers, rich Persian carpets, flying nymphs on the ceiling, Belgium stained glass windows, Greek mythological reliefs, Italian style wall paintings, stuffed leopards and tigers gives the visitor an out of the world experience.

The ballroom of the palace has wooden floor mounted on springs for extra bounce. The kitchen was built on the opposite bank of the river. It was connected to the palace by a well lighted underground tunnel. The gates of the Palace are a replica of the gates of Buckingham palace (London). Only, they are about twice their size. The gates were molded in cast iron and were shipped from England. They also carry the Holkar state emblem which states "He who tries will succeed".

The daunting gates of the Lal Bagh Palace are unique in Asia. The rooms of the palace have now been restored and furnished and it has been turned into a museum. Much of the furniture and ornamentation seen there belongs to late Regency and early Georgian style. The main attractions of the palace are the accurately proportioned and furnished rooms, with beautiful carvings on the walls as well as the ceilings.

The architecture and decoration of this Lal Baag Palace reflects the highly westernized outlook and aesthetic sensibility of the later Holkars. The Palace was inhabited by the Holkars till 1978. Tukojirao III was the last resident of this splendid palace. The Government of Madhya Pradesh is developing it as a cultural centre. The whole complex has a total area of 28 acres and boasts of one of the best rose gardens in the country. You can visit the Palace between 10:00 am and 05:00 pm on nominal charges everyday, except Monday.

Central Museum


Central Museum, also known as the Indore Museum, is one of the most interesting buildings in Indore. It is a treat for the people who are genuinely fascinated by the history of India and the rich civilization that flourished here in the pre historic age. It is located near the General Post Office in Indore. The Museum exhibits the finest collection of Parmar sculptures from Hinglajgarh. The Parmar style actually originated here only. Its main features include proportioned figures, careful and intricate ornamentation and depiction in stone.


The Central Museum also boasts one of the best collections of medieval and pre-medieval Hindu and Jain sculpture in Madhya Pradesh. These sculptures have been finely carved and date back from the reign of the Guptas to the Paramanas. They have been collected from the ruins of the 11th-12th century temples at Hinglajgarh. They usually depict Harihara, Shiva and Parvati seated on Nandi, standing Parvati and a damaged Chamunda. Among the architectural remains preserved in the museum, the most remarkable is a doorframe, richly adorned with figures and ornamentation.


There are two galleries in the Museum. Gallery I display artifacts from MP's prehistoric period ranging from 5,000 - 4,000BC. There are exhibits from western Malwa as well, which include stone tools, quartz sickles, ornaments and items of domestic use. All the Hindu mythological carvings have been displayed in Gallery II. The museum is also famous for its collection of coins, arms and armor. You can visit the Museum on all days except Monday between 10:00 am and 05:00pm. There is no admission fee. Guides are also available for the convenience of the visitors.

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