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Indore is the largest and most populated city in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. It is also the most important commercial center of this state. It is located in the Malwa high plateau in the north-western part of Madhya Pradesh State. Modern Indore is a major center for higher education. The Devi Ahilya University was founded as the University of Indore in 1964. This university has numerous constituent and affiliated colleges in Indore including the Holkar Science College and the Indore Christian College. Indore has a number of Ayurvedic and allopathic medical colleges and hospitals. The Atomic Center for Advanced Technology and the Indian Institute of Management are the other internationally recognized educational and research institutions in Indore.
Major manufacturing industries in Indore include textiles, tile, cement, chemicals, tents, furniture, and sporting goods; grain milling; and metal fabrication. There are auto and cycle factories as well as other engineering enterprises. Such traditional industries as clay & ceramic pottery and hand-loom weaving also contribute to the economy of this city.
The founder of this city, Rao Nandlal Chaudhary, chose the safe and strategic location of this city when he was visiting the Hindu temple of Indreshwar on the banks of Saraswati River. He originally named the city Indrapur after Indra, the name of the Hindu god of rain and clouds. Rao Nandlal Chaudhary was given an honorable place in the court of Mughal Emperor Alamgir Aurangzeb and his successor Emperor Farukhsiyar. Emperor Aurangzeb also presented him with the imperial Sanad (recognition of his rank) and two jeweled swords that are now in the collection of the British Museum in London. The Nizam of Hyderabad took over the territory of Malwa during his period and this led to constant raids by the Maratha Peshwa rulers. Rao Nandlal Chaudhary was forced to sign a treaty with the Maratha rulers and also paid a tribute of Rupees 25,000 to them to guarantee the safety and wellbeing of the residents of his estate. Eventually the Maratha Holkar Dynasty took over the region. Rao Nandlal Chaudhary and his Mandloi clan retained its aristocratic status even during the rule of Holkars. They retained their family Nishan (emblem) and the right to perform the first Shami Pujan, the ritual prayers during the festival of Dasehra when Holkar Dynasty was ruling the Malwa region. In 1743 CE the Maratha ruler, Baji Rao Peshwa, was recognized as the Viceroy of Malwa region. The Maratha, Malhar Rao Holkar, was appointed Subedar (governor) of Malwa region who founded the Holkar Dynasty that ruled this region in Mughal and British colonial periods. The treaty protecting the rights of Mandloi landlords remained effective during the reign of Maratha rulers. By the end of the rule of Malhar Rao Holkar this dynasty had become de facto independent. His daughter in law, Ahilya Bai Holkar, succeeded him on the throne of Indore and ruled from 1767 to 1795 from the Palace Fort of Maheshwar located south of Indore on the banks of Narmada River. She patronized the construction of many Hindu temples locally and all over India. In the 3rd Anglo Maratha War of 1818 the British East India Company defeated the Maratha rulers. Under the conditions of the Treaty of Mandsaur they were forced to hand over the cantonment of Mhow to the British and agreed to move their capital from Maheshwar to Indore city. Indore was the summer capital of Madhya Bharat state from 1948 to 1956.
The Rajwada City Palace of Holkars was the seat of government from May 26, 1728 until April 20, 1948 when the territory formally became part of Madhya Bharat state of India. During the linguistic reorganization of India Madhya Bharat was renamed Madhya Pradesh and Bhopal was chosen as its capital city in 1956.
During the communal riots of 1984 the Rajwada Palace was gutted by Arson and was converted into a garden until 2006. The present heiress of the former ruling dynasty, Her Highness Usha Devi Holkar commissioned the architects, Himanshu Dudwadkar and Shreya Bhargava, to design the Rajwada Palace based on its original specifications. Rajwada is built in a blend of French, Mughal and Maratha architectural styles. The palace is located near Khajuri Bazaar in the old part of Indore city. The royal Chattries (memorials of three former Holkar rulers) are also in this area. The project was completed in 2007. It is a seven storied Gopuram like building constructed mainly with wood and stone. The entrance of the palace is an impressive archway with a massive wooden gate that is reinforced with iron studs. It leads to a central courtyard with arcaded Ganesha Hall, which was used in earlier days for royal state and religious functions. It is the venue of art exhibitions and classical music concerts now. In the rear of Rajwada the royal gardens are also restored with original fountains, an artificial waterfall and sculptures dating from 11th century CE.
The Shree Sansthan Bada Rawala is the home of the founder of the city, Rao Nandlal Chaudary, and now contains the famous personal library of the philanthropist, Niranjan Zamindar with more than 28,000 books and many other historically important artifacts.
The construction of Lal Bagh Palace was initiated under Tukoji Rao Holkar II in 1886 with the design and plan by the British architect, Bernard Triggs in a blend of the baroque and renaissance styles. It was completed in three phases finally in 1921 under Tukoji Rao Holkar III. The main gates of this palace were molded in cast iron in England based on the design of the gates of Buckingham Palace of London but they are about twice the size of their British counterpart. The Royal state emblem of Holkar Dynasty is displayed on these gates with the motto: He who tries will succeed. This palace is lavishly decorated with Italian marble columns, massive chandeliers, flying nymphs on the ceilings, Greek mythological relieves in the style of the Palace of Versailles in France. It is furnished with fine Persian carpets as well as stuffed leopards and tigers among many other artifacts from the Holkar Dynasty period.
Lal Bagh Palace is surrounded with 28 acres of beautiful gardens that once had the best rose garden of India. This palace remained the personal residence of the descendents of Indore royal family until 1973. This palace has now been restored and converted into a Museum as well as a cultural center.
Krishnapura Chhatris or the three cenotaphs built on the cremation sites of the later Holkar rulers of Indore are topped with Kalashas, the soaring pyramidal spires made with metal. They commemorate Maharani Krishnabai Holkar, Tukoji Rao Holkar II and his son, Shivaji Rao Holkar. The Chhatries of the father and son are connected by a prayer hall with ornately carved arches and pillars on a high platform with two life size statues of the two Holkar rulers.
The Kanch Mandir is a Digambar Jain temple built by the cotton merchant, Sir Hukumchand Seth in early 20th century. Digambar sect of Jain religion is the more ascetic one and the monks of this sect remain naked. The walls, ceilings, floors, pillars and doors of this temple are all laminated by glass mirrors some of which are also painted with depictions of Jain mythological tales. In the upper floor is a chamber with mirrors that multiply the reflections of the three statues of the first Jain Tirthankar, Vardhaman Mahavira, infinite times.
Khajrana or the Bada Ganapati Temple is famous for its gigantic statue of Lord Ganesh, the remover of obstacles in Hindu mythology. The statue measures about 25 feet or 7.62 meters from the base to its crown. The statue is made up of an amalgam of limestone, jaggery, bricks, mud from the stables of elephants and horses, besides holy soil and water from the major pilgrim places. The metallic frame of the idol is made of Panchdhatu or an alloy of gold, silver, copper, brass and iron. It was built under the patronage of the Rani Ahilya Bai Holkar in 1875. It is an important attraction for the Hindus in the city and thousands of devotees flock to this temple on Tuesdays, the day of worship of Lord Ganesh.
The important excursion sites near Indore are Ujjain, the city that is famous for its Mahakaleshwar Shiva temple – one of 12 Jyotirlinga Shiva temples in India; Mandu, Devas with its Chamundi Devi temple; Omkareshwar – another one of 12 Jyotirlinga Shiva temples in India; the Maheshwar that is renowned for its Fort/Palace, the Shiva temple and Maheshwari Saries, and Patalpani where water falls from a height of about 150 feet in to a Kund or water basin.
Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar Airport is about 8 kilometers or 5 miles from the center of Indore. It is served by almost all major domestic airlines that connect Indore to Mumbai, Delhi, Gwalior, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Jabalpur, Raipur, Jaipur, Nagpur, Pune, Bangalore and Bhopal. The city has seven train stations that connect various localities of the city and there are fast train connections from Indore to all major cities of India. The major roads of Indore are National Highway number 3 that connects it to Mumbai and Agra; National Highway number 59 that originates in Indore and ends in Ahmedabad in Gujarat State. The two major state highways are number 17 connecting to Bhopal and number 27 connecting to Khandwa on Maharashtra State border.
Radisson Hotel Indore - 201 rooms
Lemon Tree Hotel Indore - 100 rooms
Sayaji Hotel – 208 rooms
Hotel President Planet Indore – 84 rooms
Fortune Landmark Indore Hotel – 87 rooms
Sarovar Portico Hotel - 94 rooms
Shreemaya Hotel - 64 rooms
Hotel Infinity - 48 rooms
Distances from Indore in Kilometers and Miles:
Khandwa: 113 Kilometers or 70 Miles
Ujjain: 55 Kilometers or 34 Miles
Mandu: 98 Kilometers or 61 Miles
Bhopal: 188 Kilometers or 117 Miles
Kota: 405 Kilometers or 252 Miles
Mumbai: 593 Kilometers or 368 Miles
Pune: 610 Kilometers or 379 Miles
Aurangabad: 402 Kilometers or 250 Miles
Udaipur: 410 Kilometers or 255 Miles