Officially called the Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport, Indore has the busiest airport of Madhya Pradesh connecting with all major cities in India.Book with us
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While being the commercial centre of gravity for Madhya Pradesh, Indore still packs in its heritage credentials with its splendid architecture and palaces, especially the 3 storeyed Lalbaag Palace by the side of the river Khan, that reached its zenith during the 19 th century Holkar dynasty. The city pays its homage to this dynasty through a series of cenotaphs and tombs at the Chhatri Baag. Relief in the bustling city is offered by the oldest park in Indore, the Nehru Park, which prior to independence was the Britishers’ preserve and went by the rather posh name of Biscow Park. The Pipliyapala Park or the Indore regional park plonked on 150 acres of land and lake, with its fountains & lights, amphitheatre, bio diversity garden, the artists’ village and plenty of leisure pockets is the younger but more formidable sibling. Must dos on your n list should include, the Temple of Glass (Kaanch ka Mandir) built into a structure that resembles a medieval mansion and with interiors lined entirely with glass and mosaic. A culmination of skilled work of artisans from Jaipur and Persia in 1903, this temple serves as the spiritual fulcrum for the Jains of Indore with the venue serving as a point of beginning or end of processions in the city. Post monsoons, one could head to the 300 feet high waterfall at Patalpani on the Indore – Khandwa train route and which as per legend has a fathomless depth that reaches the underworld (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). The province of Indore was gifted to Malhar Rao Holkar, by the Peshwas. The region saw several reforms in education and town planning during the reign of Rani Ahilya Bai Holkar, whole ruled from Maheshwar but were vested in Indore as a key commercial and military center. Today this energetic city, holds the threads between a bustling present and a regal past, is also a gateway to leisure hotspots like Mandu, Omkareshwar and Maheshwar. And if pleasure needs a place to redeem its sins, nothing better than Ujjain. An hour away from Indore lies this ancient city adjoining the Kshipra river which draws pilgrims in droves to the centuries-old Mahakaleshwar Temple. Other distinct landmarks include the Bade Ganesh temple devoted to Lord Ganesh the elephant headed deity and the Harsiddhi Temple. Ujjain’s pre-eminence dates back to the 600 B.C.E. when it was one of the 16 Mahajanapadas (the major kingdoms in ancient India) and a political and cultural centre of the Malwa plateau. It had established itself as a powerful literary centre of ancient India, called Adyapeetha, or the foundation of Sanskrit learning, ethics, knowledge, science and art, and has been referred to as “Swarna Sringa”, alluding to the golden towers of the many temples in the city. But before any essay on Indore be completed, the city reserves a mouthful for the visitors, usually served after 8.30 PM in the night. And it doesn’t get any more exhaustive than stretching from the night street food bazaar at Sarafa to the cluster of 56 shops called Chappan Bhog Chowk dishing out the signature Poha Jalebi and other lip smackers. With having strung the troika of food, music and getaways, together, it would not be best to describe Indore as being the centre of your plate.
Officially called the Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport, Indore has the busiest airport of Madhya Pradesh connecting with all major cities in India.Book with us
Indore is connected to the major cities of India like Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Nagpur with good roads, through a string of national highways.Book with us
Indore Junction BG, the latter term referring to the broad gauge station well connected to cities within Madhya Pradesh and outside including Mumbai, Nagpur, Dehradun, Pune, Bangalore, Udaipur, Amritsar and Patna.Book with us
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Rangapanchami is celebrated 5 days after the festival of colour Holi and invokes the 5 essential elements of the universe, the Panch Tattva with a red fragrant powder called Gulaal, coloured water music. Often fire brigades were hired by the municipal corporation to sprinkle coloured water on the streets.
The Ahilya Utsav is celebrated to commemorate the death anniversary of the legendary Maratha, “philosopher queen” of the Holkar dynasty, who ruled over the Malwa Kingdom including Indore and was known for her governance and courage.
10 days after Ganesh Chaturthi, and the last day of the Hindu festival of Ganeshotsav The evening of Anant Chaudas sees colourful processions taken out followed by the immersion of idols of Lord Ganesha
Navratri has a special flavour in Indore, with the temple of Bijasen Mata on a small hillock called Bijasen Tekri that organises a festival for pilgrims.
Better known as the Indore museum, this is a conservatory of the finest medieval and pre medieval Hindu and Jain sculptures, dating back to the reign of the Guptas and restored from the ruins of the 11th century temples at Hinglajgarh and Parmar sculptures noted for their proportioned figures and intricate work in stone. The museum split into two galleries also boasts of exhibits from the Malwa region from 5000 B.C.E like stone tools, ornaments and domestic implements.
Mandu is probably the most recommended offsite, that lies 2 hours away from Indore. With ancient moorings that go as per some accounts back to the 6th century B.C.E. Mandu owing to its natural defence, perched at a height of 2000 feet was made the fort capital by the Parmar rulers in the 11th century. Subsequently this Malwa kingdom was over run by the Sultans of the Ghuri and Khilji dynasties who rechristened this place as Shadiabad or the “city of joy” and decked it up as a pleasure resort with lakes and palaces. Peppered with canals, baths, fountains, gardens, pavilions, palaces and rock cut caves with fantastic paintings, and a view of the Malwa plateau, the perimeter of the fort runs for an astounding 83 kms. While the Mughals who followed later, used Mandu as their monsoon retreat, the region reached its zenith during the reign of Hoshang Shah, the Ghuri ruler.
Possibly one of the most fascinating road journeys, the trip from Indore to Jam Darwaza, so named after the “Jam” village is most recommended during the monsoon season when the gate and its wooded surroundings come lush alive. 50 kilometers from Indore, the Jam Darwaza (door) in Mhow literally marks the end of the Malwa Plateau which leads on into the Nimar plains and the fort gate gives you sweeping views of the lush plains. This often used to be the travelling route for the erstwhile queen Devi Ahilyabai Holkar to travel back to her kingdom at Maheshwar, the former capital city. The royal gate stands tallever diligent over the years. Located about 10 kilometers from Choral Dam, this is an off beat haunt for journey lovers. Choral dam is a favored picnic spot with facilities for boating, plenty of natural greenery and a bungalow for a pit stop. The region, Mhow is famous for its pleasant climate, verdant greens and a soothing evening breeze known as Shab-e-Malwa which tempers down the summers. Rumours abound that Winston Churchill was a temporary resident of Mhow, as a second lieutenant, when he was serving with his regiment in India.
Initiated by Hoshang Shah of the Ghauri dynasty, and finished by Mahmud Shah Khilji, the Jama Masjid of Mandu was inspired by the Omayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria. With intricate stone lattice work, this multi domed monument, with its red stone contrasted across the green lawns was built for size with a 17 bay wide prayer hall and a flight of steps to ascend to the porch. The mosque architecture shows a blend of the Hindu Dharamshala style and the dome and arch signature of Mughal architecture. At the back of Jama Masjid lies the mausoleum of Hoshang Shah and the inspiration some say behind the Taj Mahal, having been referenced by the architects under the orders of the Mughal emperor Shah Jehan. Considered to be the first marble structure built in India, little would it known that it was laying the design foundation of one of the 7 wonders.
This former 19 th century palace of the Holkar dynasty is a lavish mix of baroque, rococo & neoclassical styles, though one must say in need of repair. In 1818 though the Holkars were defeated by the British in the Anglo Maratha war, they continued to rule Indore as a princely state under the suzerainty of the Raj. British administrators notably John Malcolm preferred to develop Indore as an alternative to Ujjain, because the merchants of Ujjain had supported anti-British elements. Introduction of the railways in 1875 helped trade and commerce flourish in Indore. It was during this period, in 1886, that the Lal Baag palace was built. Typical of the Indian nobility during the days of the Raj, they more often than not are paeans to the European style of palaces, be it the entrance gates that are inspired by the Buckingham Palace, and were shipped from England. Made with marble imported from Italy, France and sandalwood, the Palace designed by Triggs of Calcutta and interiors and ceilings said to have been painted by Russian artist Roerich One is greeted by the Holkar dynasty emblem that states “he who tries will succeed”. And succeed they certainly did with possibly one of prettiest palaces in Asia. With decorations and frescoes inspired by the Palace of Versailles, Italian marble columns and chandeliers, lead you into the grand ballroom, no less than spring mounted to give the evening cha cha chas the extra bounce in the steps. The rooms of the palace duly restored serve as a museum with paintings, sculptures, coin collections.
The ballads of Mandu still stir up the doomed love story of Rani Roopmati and Baz Bahadur, the last independent sultan of Mandu (1554-1561). It’s said that after losing a battle with the Gond Queen Durgavati, Baz Bahadur of Afghan descent, decided to pursue a life of poetry and music. On a hunting trip near the valley of the river Rewa or Narmada, he spied upon Roopmati, a Hindu shepherdess singing in the forest and fell in love with her. Legend goes that her only condition to consent to a marriage was that she would stay in a palace, from where she could gaze at the Narmada river. The sultan converted a military observatory, to the south of his palace, on the edge of a steep cliff into a pleasure house, for Roopmati to gaze upon the river flowing below in the valley every morning. Large airy arched passages and aqueduct water channels flowing from the Rewa Kund reservoir kept the temperature down. Alas the love story was shortlived as Malwa, seen as a soft territory was invaded by Mughal Emperor Akbar’s army in 1561 led by his foster brother Adam Khan who was infatuated with Roopmati. In the ensuing battle at Sarangpur, Baz Bahadur, severely outnumbered fled for his safety. Back at Mandu realizing that, she was no longer safe from Adam Khan, Roopmati decided to end her own life by consuming powdered diamond, an extremely toxic poison.
The Kaanch Mandir is a Jain temple of glass. This vitrified wonder was worked upon by artisans from Jaipur and even Persia who have swathed every inch of its walls and ceiling with glass and multi coloured mosaic. Built by a wealthy merchant Seth Hukumchand Jain, next to his mansion at Itwaria bazaarin 1903. It serves as a central address for key Jain festivals like the Sugandh Dashami where beautiful mandalas or spiritual and ritual drawings in Hinduism, are made from multi colored rice powder. It also hosts the curious Kshamavani (forgiveness) day where members of the Jain community pray for forgiveness and redemption.
Legend goes that the depths of this waterfall in the Mhow region, plunge right through to the underworld and hence the coinage, Pataalpaani. Located on the Indore – Khandwa train route, Patalpaani with its waterfall, trekking trails and picnic spots coveted especially during the monsoons, can make for an experience that could be truly otherworldly. Though caution is to be exercised as the area is prone to flash floods.
The Rewa Kund, in Mandu is a large man made reservoir that collects water from the river Reva/ Narmada. A step well fed by under water springs, its waters are believed to possess curative powers.
The Rajwada Palace is twice born. Badly razed by a fire in 1984 it was carefully restored with authentic details in 2007. This is a mammoth 7 storied palace in the middle of the city of Indore, in Khajuri bazaar. The Rajwada Palace was built in 1747 by Malhar Rao Holkar, the founder of the Holkar dynasty. The architecture is a blend ofMaratha and Mughal style largely owing to the muslim artisans of Mandu who were engaged on the project. The entrance gate, a giant wooden door with iron studs that faces a large public garden dedicated to the memory of Devi Ahalyabai Holkar, leads you in, into a courtyard surrounded by galleried rooms, balconies and an arcaded Ganesha hall in true Maratha style. This venue today plays host to classical music concerts. The palace is a mix of stone used as the principal medium for the lower floors and replaced with wood on the higher floors.
Perhaps the most celebrated muncheon landmark of Indore is Sarafa Bazaar which comes live in its gourmet avatar after 8.30 PM, after finishing its day job as the gold market. The list of must eats includes the proud member of the Yam family called Garadu served hot and crisp during the winters with masala, the Khopra Patties (coconut filled Potato patties), Batla Kachori (Peas Kachori) and Bhutte ki Kees (grated corn, cooked with spices and simmered in milk) from Vijay Chaat house. Fancy some sweets? Try the Malpua, Kesariya Doodhm and Moong Dal Halwa. The Chappan Dukaan (56 shops) is best suited for the food marathoners. Dahi Pooris baked and dunked in yoghurt and smattered with Jeeravan, Chole Tikki and the signature Poha Jalebi. Madhuram here is well known forthe Indore Shikanji which contrary to assumption of the lemon concoction, is instead a milk shake with dry fruits. Indore also serves up a twist on the Lassi with the Ghamandi Lassi at Sarvate. The one place that could give Sarafa a run for its money, purely on the strength of its breakfast is the Prashant Uphaar Gruha at Rajwada. It serves the Poha Jalebi which to our mind sits on most breakfast plates in Indore and other classics like the Sabudana Khichri and Pyaaz ki Kachori (dumplings deep fried and made with onions). Rajwada is otherwise well known for its dizzying array of afternoon chaats. In a word Sarafa can be best described as your 2 AM friend.
60 kms away from Indore, Sitlamata falls lies on the National Highway No 3 that links Indore to Mumbai and near a village called Manpur. Trekkers can explore 3 adjoining caves that once used to be the hiding place for the Holkar state Pindaris. The Pindaris were the Free companions or mercenaries for hire during the 18 th century. They were muslimhorsemen, often being prisoners of war from the Mughal army, who were used subsequently as agents of plunder in British held territories by the Maratha overlords including the Holkar dynasty.
Hindola Mahal, the swinging palace in the ancient city of Mandu was built to serve as a gigantic court or Durbar, during the reign of the first Islamic ruler of the Malwa region, Hoshang Shah, a man of keen architecture and the one who made Mandu what it was. This along with the Jahaaz (a ship like palace positioned between two lakes) Mahal, Tawili Mahal and the Nahar Jharokha complete the royal enclave group of monuments in the ancient ruins of Mandu. Built in a T shape plan, the thick lateral walls of Hindola Mahal were reinforced with large slanting buttresses angled at nearly 80 degrees, provoking the adjective Hindola or swinging. An exact replica of Hindola Mahal exists at the Warrangal Fort in the Deccan, and is believed to have been built by the same architect.
One of the most fascinating palaces of Mandu is the Jahaaz Mahal (Ship Palace)built by Ghiasuddin Khilji as a pleasure palace in the form of a ship between two water tanks, Munja and Kapoor. A debauched hedonist, some historians claim that it housed a harem of 15000 women some of whom doubled up as his bodyguards.
Mhow is a small cantonment town known for some of the finest leisure hotspots like the Choral Dam, Jam Darwaza and for being the birthplace of one of the founding fathers of the Indian constitution, Dr. BR Ambedkar. It was established in the year 1818 by Sir John Malcolm, after he defeated the forces of the Holkar dynasty and while drawing up the Treaty of Mandsaur. Some say it got its name from the Mahua tree that grows in profusion here while others maintain that it was an acronym that stood for the Military HQ of war.
The city that we today know as Indore, was founded by Rao Nandlal Chaudhary, who named it Indrapur, dedicating it to Lord Indra, the deity of Indreshwar temple. Indrapur became Indur during the reign of the Marathas and then subsequently anglicized as usual as Indore by the British colonists.