Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dakshinayana Part Six: Indore – Trade hub of Central India


Indore is the largest city in Madhya Pradesh, in fact it’s the largest metropolitan area in central India. Located some 190 km from state capital Bhopal, this city is well connected with rest of India. Indore also has an International Airport close to the city. The name, Indore, is said to be derived from Indreshwar temple constructed around 10th century by Bhoja.

Indore grew as a trade hub between Delhi and Deccan. Credit for modern settlement goes to Rao Nandlal Chaudhary, who was a Zamindar and enjoyed Jagir rights under Mughals. In 1724, Nizam of Hyderabad (then Governer of Deccan under Mughal rule) accepted the rights of ‘Maratha Peshwa Baji Rao I’ to collect Chauth (tax) from this area. Later in 1733 AD Peshwa assumed the full control, and Malhar Rao Holkar became the Subhedar – Governor. Nandalal also accepted the suzerainty of Marathas.

In 1818 AD, Holkars and Scindias were defeated by British East India Company in third Anglo - Maratha war. Following the war, residency of company was established in Indore. However, Holkers continue to rule as a princely state till they join Indian Union on 1947.

On the way to Indore

Window seat was available only in the last row. Even though last row was not on my favourite list, the temptation to see the roadside forced me to settle there. Some more people joined us, in the journey. Out of the new entrants – a couple required special attention.

They were around 18-21 years old and stood close to each other. Even though a lot of facilities were available to stand properly, the girl for most part of the journey lean on the boy and the boy - in white shirt, was holding her with one hand and holding a nearby seat with another hand. In between the guy was talking in phone – probably with a friend.

It looked like, they just eloped and planning to marry each other. He was calling his friend, probably for arranging a place to stay. As I was sitting a little bit far, the chances for error in my guess is high. Moreover, there is no way to confirm whether they actually married or not.

Rest of the passengers were giving little attention to this adventure.

In Indore

Indore Streets 
I got down at a stop close to Railway station, crossed the platforms using over-bridge and reached the other side. From here, I took an auto to reach Rajwada – place of Holkar rulers. One more person joined us, one the way we had a little conversation about Indore. After reaching Rajwada, auto driver gave an offer to show the main parts of city for 250 INR. I was in confusion, its already afternoon, over and above I have to leave Indore by evening. If I am walking or going by bus it would take more time. Seeing this confusion he encouraged me and started the auto again – suddenly I asked him “What about Rajwada?” His answer was simple – “Nothing to see here”.

I quickly reached a decision; his tone was more than I could digest. I accept suggestions, opinions, criticisms, but don’t want somebody to dictate terms to me. If he is not able to identify something worth seeing in Rajwada, then no need for any more deliberations. My answers was a firm no, without lowering the tone he again informed me about the chance I am about to miss.

Inside the palace

After buying the tickets I went in. Some parts of palace complex were under maintenance. The main areas to see are Holkar museum and darbar halls. After taking a round and spending some more time, I left the place through a gate on the right. This gate opens to a crowded street. Palace structure is not ending here, behind there was another one with an inner courtyard and a Shiva temple at one side.


Streets - Another view

Again I came back to streets, a lot of people were moving in different directions in that Friday afternoon. These areas were divided to blocks and there was no shortage of people in any blocks. There were some panipuri vendors selling pani-puri in seven – ten different flavours; some others were selling paav bajji etc. On another junction there was a band group in their traditional dresses.

Kaanch (Mirror) Mandir (Temple)

My target was Kaanch mandir (mirror temple). But walking through that crowded streets itself was an interesting experience.

Suddenly, on the left side there were a lot of cloth shops, sales men were standing on the doors to attract customers. Finally, I reached Kanch mandir – as name indicates, the inner walls of this Jain temple is completely covered in mirrors. All the decorations are in the mirror itself. I almost forget the flow of time by looking in to this master craftsmanship. Finally it was the time to go.

Kanch Mandir

All that roads were not open to buses, so I had to walk a little to reach the bus stop. Two more people, carrying big bags, were waiting there. They were calling an auto; it stopped on the other side of road, took a U turn and stopped in front of us. Suddenly one of them asked me – “Going to railway station?” I told yes, they requested me to join them. Well, I didn’t have any problem. We started moving; suddenly driver asked something – I was thinking about something else and didn’t hear it properly. So he repeated the question, before I can say something my co-traveller told – “mmmm” in a vague way. The question was – “are you their servant”?!!!

This question was to check whether he can charge me separately for the full amount. I don’t like this way of making some quick bucks - if somebody hired an auto then auto driver will get a pre-fixed charge for that distance. It doesn’t matter whether the group has 2 member or 4 members, whether they are blood relatives or not. Finally, we reached railway station, I went inside and the other two boarded a bus to Bhopal. There was some more time to go, well let’s try Indore’s multi flavoured panipuri – 7 pieces for 10 rupees.

Finally train - INDB JBP EXP – came, it was the time to say good bye Indore.


Some other attractions in Indore.
1. Lal bhag Palace
2. Kamla Nehru Prani Sangrahalay - Indore Zoo.
3. Central Museum (Indore Museum)
4. Gurdwara Imli Sahib (In  1568 Guru Nanak Dev came to Indore).

Indore Streets 
Award of One lakh rupees for Kapturing Nana Sahib
Another view of Palace
Inner Courtyard
Rajwada - A closer view
Me at palace
For reading rest of the articles please visit,

Dakshinayana Part One – An Introduction
Dakshinayana Part Two – Bangalore to Bhopal
Dakshinayana Part Three – Sanchi
Dakshinayana Part Four – Bhopal: The city of lakes
Dakshinayana Part Five: Ujjain – The Holy City, hearing the sounds of forefathers
Dakshinayana Part Six: Indore – Trade hub of Central India
Dakshinayana Part Seven – Jabalpur: Kalchuris, Gonds and Narmada
Dakshinayana Part Eight – Kanha National Park and Mandla
Dakshinayana Part Nine – Chhattisgarh and Raipur
Dakshinayana Part Ten: Nagpur – The Orange City
Dakshinayana Part Eleven – Sevagram: Walking with Gandhi
Dakshinayana Part Twelve – Aurangabad: The City of Gates
Dakshinayana Part Thirteen – Ellora Memories
Dakshinayana Part Fourteen – U shaped Ajanta
Dakshinayana Part Fifteen – Pune: The Maratha heartland

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