Indore is also home to the delectable Malwa cuisine, a lip-smacking extravaganza for those that are gourmet-inclined. There are several places that you can wander off to when visiting Indore, places that are not very far away but are definitely far out!
Indore's most striking feature though, is its people - charming, nice and easygoing. There is a general bonhomie in this place reminiscent of what one thinks of belonging to a smaller community like a village.
Population: About 1,597,441
Climate: While not given to too much excess, summer between April and June can be hot ranging from 40°C while the winter months between September and March vary from 30°C to 15°C. rainfall is moderate and falls between the months of July and September.
Main Language(s): Hindi and English Time Zone: GMT + 05:30
Phone Area Code: 0731
Best Time To Visit: With summers tending to be just a little warmer than necessary, winter is probably the best time to visit Indore.
Airport Distance from City Center: 8 kms Taxi Rates from Airport to City: Private taxi service available at Rs. 200 to city centre
Lal Bagh Palace
The Lal Bagh palace is an example of the assimilation of world culture in India. Taking 35 years to build, this palace of the Holkars was finally completed in 1921. The gates are modelled on those at Buckingham Palace and were reportedly shipped from England. The opulent interiors match those of the Versailles. Belgian glass windows, Persian carpets, Greek mythological relief and Italian marble columns make this a palace a wonder that inspires awe. It is said that when regal receptions demanded vast quantities of food from the royal kitchen, which was on the opposite bank of the river, it was done through a well-lit underground tunnel connected to the palace.
A testament to splendours of times gone by, this once glorious residence of the Holkar rulers shows itself only through the façade. This glory of stone and wood was built between 1818 and 1833, beautifully blending Muslim, Maratha and French styles of architecture to make the country's only seven-storied gateway. The lower floors of the palace were made of stone and the upper ones of solid wood, making it vulnerable to the numerous fires eroding its splendour. The calm dignity of the place continues to form the backdrop to art exhibitions and classical concerts held in the city.
This is arguably the largest permanent idol in the world and measures a good 25 feet from top to toe. It is interesting to note that while the frame is made of precious metals, the idol of the Lord itself is a strange mix of brick, limestone, jaggery and mud from the elephants and horses. The binding soil and water is said to have been brought from the holy places of Ayodhya, Mathura, Maya, Kanchi, Kashi, Avantika and Dwarka.
You wont really need to travel too far to see these stone cenotaphs. Walk around the city and gaze at these graceful examples of Holkar architecture. Standing on the banks of the Khan River, at the heart of the city, these cenotaphs were erected to mark the cremation spots of three Holkar rulers and their families. Quite a sight when they are lit up against the night sky.
Indore is full of structures that make you stand and stare agape. Like this Jain temple, which was built in the early twentieth century by the late Seth Hukumchand. This entire temple contains within it nothing less than glass - whether it is the doorknob or the life-like paintings, all the objects here are art in glass.
The Indore Museum will let you peep into the past - exotic Parmar sculptures from Hinglajgarh and an enviable collection of old coins and weaponry stare at you from their display stands. Walk around and find yourself transported to times of grandeur. Hear the cannons boom -the same cannons that won Babur the throne of Hindustan.
Forget all food that your palate is used to and savour the variety that Malwa cuisine has to offer. Famous for its namkeen products, Indore's wayside Sarafa Bazaar is open from evening to midnight and serves up an excellent traditional fare including mouth-watering sweets and snacks. Don't miss the sweets even if you don't normally have a sweet tooth. Also a must visit is the Palasia Market or Chappan Bazaar, a complex of 56 shops. This is the gathering place for the city's people to revel in the preparations that is part of their culture.
17, Municipal Market
Old Palasia Market
Mehta Nursery, Rajendra Nagar
Anant Chaudas - Held in September, this is like the Ganesh Chaturti celebrations that Bombay is famous for. A big festival in Indore, huge processions are carried out on the night of Anant Chaudas with idols of Lord Ganesha carried out for a ceremonial immersion. Fanciful and elaborate floats are seen and in general, the city of Indore gets out on the streets to celebrate. This tradition was initiated by freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak who used religion to bring the masses together after the British had banned all public gatherings.
Rang Panchami - This festival saw its peak during the time of the Holkar reign, when Rang Panchami was celebrated with royal pomp and splendour. Celebrated on the fifth day after Holi in March, this festival in Indore is marked by an annual music festival. The grandeur might not be a patch on the days of kings but the people of this lively city celebrate it with spirited revelry even today.
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