25 Feb 2013

From the land of the Holkars

Indore is the largest city of Madhya Pradesh and also the commercial capital of the state. Since the sixteenth century, Indore has been an important trading hub between Delhi and the Deccan due to its strategic geographic location. One of the cities that came under the Maratha Empire, during the British Raj, this was a nineteen gun (twenty one locally) salute princely state. It was ruled by the Maratha Holkar dynasty at the time with a British resident stationed there as well, until it was acceded to the Union of India. It is well known that Indore was also a participant in the revolt of 1857, which is more commonly known as India’s first war of independence.
 Rajwada , the royal grandeur of Indore   (Photo Courtesy: hindustantimes)
The Holkars were one of the three dominant Maratha powers, the others being the Peshwas and the Scindias. The Marathas had major holdings on central India. The Holkar dynasty’s rule ended only when the former Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, abolished state pension of all ex-ruler families.

Even today, remnants of the Holkar rule can be seen in Indore. Some of the common tourist spots are closely tied in with this piece of history. A place like the Lal Bagh Palace was built in European style, complete with a statue of Queen Victoria in the garden, but it is a remnant of the Holkar dynasty. You can also see the royal Chhatris or cenotaphs of the Holkar clan can be found at Krishnapura Chhatri.
Sitlamata Bazaar, Indore (Photo Courtesy: mygola)
Other than these historical sites, you can also visit:

1. Rajwada: Looking at this temple, you will be able to imagine the royal grandeur of Indore. It was built in 1766 by Muslim artisans during the Mughal rule.
2. Central Museum or Indore Museum: See an interesting collection of relics from history.
3. Indore’s bazaars: Sitlamata bazaar, Khajuri bazaar and cloth market are some of the old school bazaars that are a must visit.

While direct Indore flights may not be available, you can fly into the Devi Ahilyabai Holkar International Airport, which is 8 km from Indore city. This is definitely a city you should explore!