Indore is Known as the Commercial Capital of Madhya Pradesh, Indore was the capital of the Holkars. The largest and most densely populated city in central India, the city is popular for its history, monuments, food and bazaars. Holkar dynasty played a major role in the history of Indore. Indore region was granted as a reward to Malhar Rao Holkar, founder of the dynasty by the Peshwas. Rani Ahilya Bai Holkar brought several developmental changes and reforms in the city. Although Maheshwar was the capital of the Holkars during the reign of Rani Ahilyabai, Indore remained an important commercial and military center. Even today, Indore holds the status of an important commercial center of Madhya Pradesh. It is one of the fastest growing cities in India and houses the third oldest stock exchange, Madhya Pradesh Stock Exchange. Indore is also an important educational hub. It is the only city in India to have both Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).
Places to visit
Khajrana Ganesh temple
Khajrana Ganesh temple is a popular landmark in Indore. It was built way back in 1735 by Rani Ahilyabai Holkar, the temple is home to an 8-metre long Ganesha idol. The statue is made of limestone, jaggery, mud and bricks and has a frame decorated with precious metals.
Lal Bagh Palace
The Lal Bagh Palace is one of the most iconic buildings of the Holkar era. Built by Maharaja Shivaji Rao Holkar between 1886 and 1921, the three storey structure was used for hosting royal receptions. The palace in known mainly for its brilliant architectural style. Its main gate resembles that of the Buckingham palace and the rooms are built in the European Rococo style.
Patalpani is known for the beautiful Patalpani waterfall with a height of approximately 300 feet situated on the Indore – Khandwa train route. Legend has it that the depth of the water is unknown and it goes as deep as the underground world (patal). This place is also a famous trekking spot. The fall goes almost dry in the summer season but the sight is majestic soon after the rainy season (post – July).
Sir Seth Seth Hukumchand Jain was a prominent trader and one of India’s industrial pioneer. He built a mansion at Itwaria Bazar called Shish Mahal and adjacent to it the Kanch Ka Mandir, both elegantly built using a white stone. Externally, the temple is built as a medieval mansion complete with a canopied balcony and a shikhara. The interior of Kanch Ka Mandir is entirely covered by glass panels and mozaics; including the floor, columns, walls and the ceilings. Seth Hukumchand hired craftsmen from Jaipur and some even from Iran to work on the temple.
The Annapurna Temple, besides being a place for pilgrimages is also a tourist attraction. Dedicated to Goddess Annapurna, the deity of food the temple also houses the shrines of Sivan, Hanuman and Kalabhairava. The entrance of the temple is adorned with four-life size statues of elephants, and the architectural splendour of the temple makes it a must-visit for all tourists.
Rajwada is a historical palace in Indore city. It was built by the Holkars of the Maratha Empire about two centuries ago. This seven storied structure is located near the Chhatris and serves today as a fine example of royal grandeur and architectural skills. Rajwada palace exhibits a blend of Maratha styles, the palatial structure is sure to leave you spellbound. The entrance itself is beautiful with lofty archway and a giant wooden door covered with iron studs. As one makes his way through the entrance, one is greeted with a courtyard comprising Maratha arched Ganesha hall, a number of balconies with Maratha ornamentation, windows, and corridors, surrounded by galleried rooms. The lower three floors are made of stone and the upper floors are made of wood.
Sarafa Bazaar is a jewellery market and night street food court located in central Indore, India. Sarafa is the only market in India which remains as a jewellery marketplace at daytime and converts itself into a street food court at night. The market consists of two sub-markets namely Bada Sarafa Bazaar and Chhota Sarafa Bazaar. Indore’s Sarafa Bazaar is a popular tourist place because of its cuisine and night lifestyle.
In Hindi, ‘Bada’ literally means big, and Ganpati is the pet name of elephant-faced god Lord Ganesha. This temple earns its name due to the size of Lord Ganesha’s idol – at the height of about 25 feet from crown to foot, it is said to be one of the largest idols of the God in the world. The statue is made of a peculiar mixture of limestone, jaggery, bricks and sacred soil and water from the major pilgrim places in the country. Located at the end of a quiet lane in the city of Indore, the Bada Ganpati may be a modest-looking temple, but it holds significance simply based on the enormity of the Lord’s statue.
Bijasan Mata Temple
Bijasan is one of the Hindu Temple of the goddess Durga.Here a hillock (tekri) has a small temple of Bijasen Mata, built in 1920. Mela is held here during Navaratri. From this hill, one gets a magnificent view of the sunset and a breathtaking view of city at night. Perched on top of the hill was a guest house of the Holkars, now converted into a Border Security Force Arms Museum. Surrounding area is being developed into gardens with a small lake. Mother Bijasan is Kuladevi (Ancestoral God) of Hindu Gadariya (Kukroliya parivar)
The cremation places of the Holkars are known as the Chhatris. These are beautifully built and have intricately carved structures. There are some temples and other structures built around them as well.