Indore was the capital of the Holkars, a dynasty that held power in Madhya Pradesh from 1733 to 1947. The founder of the dynasty, Malhar Rao Holkar (1694-1766), was granted power by the renowned general, Shrimant Bajin Rao Balaji Bhat, who expanded the influence of the Maratha Empire into the center of India.
This period of prominence has left its mark on Indore, and there are several sites in the city from that time. Today travelers can revisit this brief flowering of culture at Indore and see Rajwada, the Holkars’ palace.
Indore also has great historic and spiritual significance for the Jains, an ancient religious sect. This is the location of several sites important to the sect as well as other Hindu sites. By visiting Indore, tourists can see an interesting, unique cross-section of Indian history and culture.
Rajwada, the Holkar palace, is located in the city’s main square. It has seven floors and is divided into the old palace to the south and the new palace to the north. Visitors enter through the old palace gate in the Kajuri Bazaar. Here a huge wooden door and archway opens into a great courtyard surrounded by the elaborate structures of Ganesha Hall. This was once the site of governmental and religious ceremonies but has now been converted into a museum and concert venue.
Located nearby is one of the most famous of the Jain sites in Indore, the Kanch Mandir. This a magnificent temple decorated with cuttings of glass and mirrors that every traveler must see. The play of light in the interior is enhanced by many lamps and chandeliers creating an enchanting 3-D look. This temple is also decorated with murals depicting religious concepts from the Jain faith and scenes of the royal court. Even in a land filled with amazing things to see, this is a unique spectacle.
Those wishing to see the history of the city should visit the Central Museum located near the Indore Post Office. Here artifacts from all periods of history, from prehistoric times to the modern era, are on display. Other sites in Indore are the Lal Baag palace, the cenotaphs of the Maratha Kings and many others.
In Indore, history is everywhere. The hard part is finding time to see it all. Come here for a glimpse of the history of central India from ancient times to the present.