Indore, the seat of Holkars is set on the banks of rivr Saraswati and Khan in the heart of picturesque Malwa plateau. It was planned and built by Rani Ahilya Bai and named after the 18th century Indreshwar temple. Formerly a major textile trading centre, the city has emerged as a throbbing mini metropolis with a cosmopolitan culture.
Indore is located in the western region of Madhya Pradesh, and is close to the centre of India. It has an average elevation of 553 metres.
During the winter season (November -February), the night-time lows are around 10°C. During the peak of winter, it can be as low as 2°C to 3°C. The lowest ever recorded low is 1.5°C. During the summer season. (April-June), the days are hot (35 to 40°C) with the peak-summer-day temperature (in May) sometimes touching 45°C. Unlike other places in central India, the summer nights in Indore are cool and pleasant.
The history of Indore is inseparable from the history of the Holkar State. The founder of the HOuse of Holkars was Malhar Rao Holkar, born in 1693AD. His soldierly qualities brought him to the forefront under the Peshwa, and he was rewarded with the gift of territories comprising the Indore region. Malhar Rao was succeeded by his grandson, on whose death, his mother, Maharani Devi Ahilya Bai who was without any issue, ascended the throne.
Ahilya Bai was one of the foremost Maratha personalities and an extraordinary women ruler of India. Her cherished desire was to promotet he prosperity of the region and its people.
Though Ahilya Bai loved Indore immensely, it was only after her death that the state capital was shifted from Maheshwar to Indore in 1811 AD. Today, her statue adorns the centre of the city, Rajwada. Indore continued to be the state capital until the formation of Madhya Bharat State in 1948.
Indore Tour Information
Planned and built by Rani Ahilyabai, the brave Holkar queen, Indore lies to the extreme west of Madhya Pradesh on the banks of the rivers Saraswati. The Bustling and vibrant city, 183km from Bhopal, derives its name from the 18th century Indreshwar temple. It is largest city in Madhya Pradesh.
Important Jain pilgrim centre with temples dating back to the early 15th century.
It was the glorious capital of Paramara kings, of whom Raja Bhoj is the best known. The city came under the Muslim influence with the rule of Delhi Sultanate and exhibits a fine blend of Hindu, Afghan and Mughal architectural styles.
An ancient pilgrim iste on the banks of river Narmada, finds mention in epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. Its glory was revived by Rani Ahilya Bai, who built and renovated a number of shrines here. The main attractions are Rajgaddi and rajwada, the ghats and the temples of Kaleshwara, Rajarajeshwara, Vithaleshwara and Ahileshwar. Rani Ahilya Bai also introduced the famous Maheshwari sarees well known for its unique weave, patterns and colours.
This holy island shaped like the sacred Hindu symbol ‘OM’ is set amidst scenic surroundings on the confluence of the rivers Narmada and Kaveri. Shri Omkar Mandhata temple of Lord Shiva is the main attraction here. It enshrines one of the twelve jyotirlingas. Other sites worth visiting are Siddhnath Temple, 24 Avatars ( a group of Hindu and Jain temples), Satmatrika Temple and Kajal Rani Cave.
Ujjain, one of the oldest and holiest of the Indian cities lies on the banks of river Shipra. This ancient centre of learning is sanctified with the memories of Sandipani, Kalidasa, Asoka and Vikramaditya. It is also the venue of mammoth Kumbh Mela, held once in twelve years.
The famous shrien of Lord Shiva enshrines one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in the country. It was destroyed by Altamish of Delhi in 1235 and was restored in 19th century by the Scindias.
Bade Ganeshji ka Mandir
It is located near the Mahakaleshwar temple and is known for the large ornate statue of Lord Ganesh.
It houses the famous image of the goddess Annapurna.
The 19th century shrine was built by the queen of Maharaja Daulat Rao Scindia. The silver plated doors of the sanctum were originally taken from the temple at Somnath to Gazni in Afghanistan and then to Lahore. The gates were rescued by Mahadji Scindia and installed in the tample.
Chintaman Ganesh Temple
This ancient temple on the opposite bank of the river Shipra has artistically carved pillars in the assembly hall.
Vedh Shala (Observatory)
It was built by Raja Jai Singh II of Jaipur in 1730, when he was the Governor of Malwa under the Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah. Ujjain has been India’s Greenwich since the 4th century BC, as it stands on the first meridian of longitude for Hindu astronomers, who believed that the Tropic of Cancer also passed through the site.
This ‘Water palace’ of the Mandu Sultans was built in 1458, on an island in the Shipra River. Its central dome is a fine example of Persian architecture.
A 2-minute drive from the airport leads you to a hillock on which was perched a guest house of the Holkars, no converted into Border Security Arms Museum, as well as a small temple of Bijasen Mata, built in 1920, which has a magnificent view of the sunset. A Mela (fair) is held during the Navratri.
Synonymous with the heart of Indore city, it stands today as a mute witness to the bygone splendor of the Holkarrulers. This is a 200-year old seven-storeyed historic palace of the Holkars built-in a mixture of Muslim, Marathaad and French styles. The lower three floors are made of stone and the upper floors are made of wood, which made it very vulnerable to fire. Rajwada was burnt three times in its history; the last fire in 1984 took the greatest toll. Today only the front façade remains. Recent renovations have recreated some of the old glory of this beautiful palace.
The Jain Samaj has constructed a 21 feet statue of Lord Gomateshwar, a replica of the Bahubali statue of Shravana Belogola. Also built her are 24 marble temples with shilars for each tirthankara.
The citizens of Indore have great faith in this Ganesh temple, built during the reign of Ahilyabai Holkar. It is believed that all wished are fulfilled by praying here. Nearby is the dargah of Nahar Sayed. This is an important pilgrimage place for Maita Muslims.
The Indore Museum houses the finest collection of Parmar sculptures from Hinglajgarh. The Parmar style originated here, and is characterized by proportioned figures, carefully and ornately depicted in stone.
Lal Baag Palace
Lal Baag Palace is one of the grandest monuments the Holkar dynasty left in Indore. A reflection of their taste, grandeur and lifestyle, its construction began in 1886 under Tukoji Rao Holkar II, and was carried out in three phases.
The famous festivals in Indore are the Navratri, the Anant Chandas festival with large processions taken out and eventually the idols of Ganesha being immersed on the Anant Chaudas night, Rangapanchami celebrated five days after Holi where instead of colors, the sound of music fills the air and the Ahilya Utsav which commemorate the death of the brave queen Ahilya Bai.
Indore Distance Guide