Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Day 85 - Indore

Indore is the largest city in the state of Madhya Pradesh. It is situated on the banks of the River Khan and Sarawati.  The two rivulets unite at the center of the city where a small temple of Sangamnath or Indreshwar exists. The city of Indore derived its name from the deity itself. At an altitude of 553 m above sea level on the Malwa Plateau, this city is nearly the heart of the nation. Indore is known for its architectural splendor. The tales of the glorious past are narrated by these splendid historical monuments and cast a magical spell on the visitors.The founder of the House of Holkars was Malhar Rao Holkar, born in 1693 AD. 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, without issue, his mother, Maharani Devi Ahilya Bai ascended the throne. The Holkars with their keen interest in city planning and education shaped much of Indore. Rani Ahilya Bai Holkar was a great architectural patron and spent a lot of money on the construction of many temples across the nation. The queen is taken in great regard by the people and as a tribute; her statue was built in the center of the city, near Rajwada. Apart from being a historical city, Indore is also the commercial capital of the state of Madhya Pradesh.Indore is the only city which has both Indian Institute of Management and Indian Institute of Technology.

How to reach here:

By Air: Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport in Indore is just 10 km from city centre. Indore is air connected to major cities in India by public and private domestic airlines.

By Rail: Indore Junction Railway Station is an important railway station in Western railway zone. It is well connected to all major railway stations in India.

Best time to visit: October to March.

Languages spoken: Hindi, Malwi, Sindhi, English.

Must eat: The kebabs, bhutte ka kees, Mawa-bati, Khoprapak and Malpua,Shikanji and Garadu.

Famous Restaurants: Anand Bhojnalaya, Angeera Restaurant ,Campus Family Restaurant,Chanakya Restaurant and M.M.B. Hotel, Charkol Restaurant.

Places you must visit:

Rajwada Palace is an iconic structure of Indore, which was built by Holkar Dynasty around two centuries ago. Popularly known as Holkar Palace, this seven storeyed structure reflects Indo-Saracenic architectural style. The palace comprises two structures, one of which is located in the centre of the city, while the other lies in the old part of the city.Among the major attractions of the palace, most spectacular is the wooden entrance, which is covered with iron studs. The entrance leads to the courtyard, which is surrounded by galleried rooms and features an arched Ganesha hall, windows and balconies. Out of the seven floors of this palace, lower three floors are built of stone while the rest four are made of wood.This historic palace was burnt three times in the past and was finally converted into a garden. In 2006, Maharani of Indore, H.H. Usha Devi Holkar, ordered the reconstruction of this palace in the same old style. Efforts have been made to reincarnate the beauty of the palace.

The Central Museum Indore 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. The museum is also known for its collection of coins, arms and armour.

Mahatma Gandhi Hall was originally built in 1904 as King Edward Hall. After India gained independence from the British Rule, this building was rechristened as Mahatma Gandhi Hall. Popularly known as Town Hall, this building is the main landmark of the city. Reflecting the Indo-Gothic architectural style, rooms of this hall are decorated with frescoes ceilings and gilded ornamental mouldings.There is a clock tower right in front of the hall, which is popularly known as Ghanta Ghar. The hall is used for hosting book fairs and painting exhibitions throughout the year. Town hall can accommodate up to 2000 people at one time. The building of the town hall also houses a library, children’s park and a temple.

Krishnapura Chhatris are the tombs or cenotaphs erected in memory of dead Holkar rulers and their family members. The Chhatris picturesquely poised on the Khan river banks near Rajawada are incomparable in terms of Maratha architecture and sculpture of their period. At Chhatri Baag is the main collection of tombs housed in two compounds. Close by is the beautiful Bolia Sarkar's Chhatri constructed in 1858 AD in memory of Sardar Chimnaji Appa Sahib Bolia.

Sukh Niwas Palace was the summer palace of the kings of Holkar dynasty. Designed in Indo-Western style, this palace reflects the luxury enjoyed by the rulers of the Holkar dynasty. The palace is surrounded by gardens and Sukh Mahal Lake. An underground tunnel connects the Sukh Niwas Palace to the old palace of the kings. Today, this palace is a picnic resort, which is thronged by tourists as well as locals.

Annapurna temple was inspired by the Meenakshi temple of Madurai. Four life-sized elephants hold an ornately decorated gate in plaster. Inside the temple of Annapurna Devi are also temples of Shiva, Kal Bhairava, Hanuman and a Pravachan Hall. The outer wall of the main temple is decorated with colourful motifs from mythological stories.

Bada Ganpati was built during the reign of Queen Ahilya Bai Holkar in 1875. This temple is located at the western end of M G Road in Indore. The statue of Lord Ganesha housed in this temple is 25 ft in height, which makes it one of the largest statues of Lord Ganesha in the world.The construction material used in carving the deity of Lord Ganesha comprised limestone, jaggery, bricks, soil and water. Soil used for construction of this idol was brought from Varanasi and Mathura. The frame of the deity was made of metals such as gold, silver and other metals.

Lal Bagh Palace is one of the grandest monuments the Holkar dynasty left 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 final phase was completed in 1921 under Tukoji Rao Holkar III. Many royal receptions were held here. It has a total area of 28 hectares, and at one time it had the reputation of having one of the best rose gardens in the country.

Khajrana Ganesha Temple, which was built by Rani Ahilyabai Holkar, is a pious destination among Hindu devotees. Devotees throng this temple on Wednesdays and Sundays for offering prayers. As per a local belief, all the wishes of the devotees are fulfilled, once they worship in this temple.One of the major festivals celebrated in honour of Lord Ganesha is Vinayaka Chaturthi.

Kamala Nehru Park is a zoological park, which is popularly known as Chidiya Ghar. This zoological park overlooks the River Khan on one side. On other end of this park, there is a children's playing area, which includes small rides and open garden.Tourists visiting the zoo can catch a glimpse of various birds, animals, amphibians, carnivores and omnivores.  Specially brought up animal like white tigress and its cubs can also be seen. This zoo is basically a conservation, education, and recreation organisation. The zoo has been dedicated to the reproduction, protection, and exhibition of animals and plants in their natural habitats. Buggy rides, goad cards, pony rides, elephant rides and camel rides can be enjoyed by the tourists visiting the zoo.

Gomatgiri is a sacred place for the devotees belonging to the Jain religion. The Jain Samaj has constructed a 21 feet statue of Lord Gomateshwar, a replica of the Bahubali statue of Shravanbelagola. Also built here are 24 marble temples with shilars for each tirthankar.

Kanch Mandir is a Jain temple is an architectural marvel in glass. The walls, ceilings, floors, pillars and door knobs are entirely inlaid with glass. Even paintings are done in glass. Atop is a special glass chamber which multiplies the three statues of Lord Mahavira installed there into an indefinite number (said to be visible upto 21 times, corresponding to the 21 tirthankaras).

Bijasen Tekri is a hillock on which was perched a guest house of the Holkars, now 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. A good picnic spot, with a breathtaking view of Indore city by night.

Kasturbagram,the Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust was founded by Mahatma Gandhi. Its headquarters were shifted from Wardha to Indore in 1915. The main objective of t his trust is showing ways of improvement in the quality of village life and the welfare of rural women and children. Some of its many commendable activities are : agricultural production, research, training, experiments in fruit orchards, social forestry, new renewable sources of energy, gobar gas, better water management, rural institute for girls, village sanitation programmes etc.

Devguradia Shiva Mandir is situated in the village of Devguradia, which is 8 km from Indore on the Nemawar road. The temple is a monolithic rock temple, which was built in the 7th century. Ahilya Bai Holkar ordered the reconstruction of this temple in 18th century. Popularly known as Garuda Tirth, this temple has a water outlet in the shape Gomukh.The water falls directly on the Shiva Lingam enshrined at this temple. Original Shiva Lingam stood at a height of 12 ft, which is now under water in the sunken temple. The present temple is constructed on the original sunken temple. On every Shivratri, a fair is held at this temple to honor of Lord Shiva.

Meghdoot Upvan is one of the largest gardens in Indore, which is situated four kilometers away from Palasia, in the outskirts of the city. The Upvan comprises lawns, landscaped gardens, lighted and dancing fountains. Close to the garden lies an amusement park Mangal Merry Land, which attracts tourists and locals on weekends.

Patalpani is a cascading waterfalls from a height of 200 - 300 feet make for an awesome picnic spot at Patalpani. The picturesque and calm ambience around the waterfalls set amidst lush greenery is worth a visit. The depth of the pool that is formed by the waterfall is considered to be so deep that it goes into the netherworld, thus the name- Patalpani. The exciting hill ranges and rugged terrain makes it a perfect place to go trekking and hiking.

The trip to Indore and it's vicinity is incomplete without visiting Omkareshwar, Maheshwar and Ujjain......


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