Indore is Madhya Pradesh’s commercial capital and one of the fastest growing cities in India– nearby Pithampur that is known for its car factories. It is situated on the Malwa plateau, just north of the Vindhya Range, and on the banks of the River Khan and Sarawati. It is nearly the heart of our nation. The city is also known as Mini Mumbai. The city is well connected via rail, road and air transport services. Indore has for a long time been a rail and road transportation hub. To stay in Indore, there are a lot of hotels and dharamshalas near the railway station and main bus station (Sarwate bus terminal, Naulakha bus stand, Jinsi bus stand and Gangwal bus terminal). Hindi is widely spoken all over the city, but you can hear other dialects as well like Bundelkhandi, Malwi, Chattisgarhi and Urdu, Marathi, Sindhi, and Gujarati too, as people from other state live there.
Indore was ruled by Holkars in 18th and 19th centuries and it reached its cultural peak during this period. The most famous ruler of Indore was Ahilyabai Holkar who ruled from 1767 to 1795. One of finest examples of buildings of that era is Rajwada. Though a major fire in 1984 riots burnt a large part of the fort, the restored structure was converted into a garden. However, further restoration work was started in 2006 to bring back the old glory of Rajwada. In 2007, Rajwada found its place back in history. It became the only historic structure in India to have been rebuilt with exactly the same style, materials and method of construction as those of 250 years ago.
Some other places to visit are-
Lal Bagh Palace – A beautiful palace spread across 200 acres (0.81 km2) of land. It is now a museum and one can see the artifacts of the Holkar era.
Sitalamata Fall – A stunning place near Manpur and about 65 km from Indore.
Kanch Mandir – Digambar Jain temple with exquisite glass work.
Devlalikar Kala Vithika – A well-known art gallery named after famous painter Vishnu Devlalikar
Khajrana Ganesh Temple – Temple of Lord Ganesha.
Mhow (Military Headquarters of War) Cantonment – An old cantonment suburb in Indore, founded in 1818. It has a very charming market and an old world charm. Foreigners cannot enter without permission. A suburb of Indore having pride of being the birth place of creator of the Indian Constitution “Baba Saheb
Patal Pani – A ravishing waterfall near Mhow, Patal Pani has a small railway station – the first after Mhow, as one travels on the meter gauge track towards Khandwa.
Indore is famous for its culinary range. People of Indore (and for that region, the entire Malwa) are well known gastronomes. Sweets and salted snacks (Namkeen) of Indore are famous all over India. Sarafa
(Jewellery market, near Rajwada) and Chappan Dukan (56 shops) are the two well known gourmet hangouts of the city. A special dish of the Malwa region, including Indore, is the Dal Bafla.
The staple food (snacks) of the city is Poha-Jalebi. People are also fond of Sabudane-ki-Khichdi. Life in Indore starts early with cups of ‘Chai’ (tea) with ‘Poha & Jalebi’ followed by lunch which invariably includes popular ‘besan’ (gram flour) preparations; later in the day one can easily find snacks like ‘Khaman’, ‘Kachori’ – ‘aloo kachori’, ‘dal kachori’, ‘Dahi Chat’, ‘Tokri Chat’, ‘samosa’, ‘patties’, ‘Baked Samosa’, ‘Bhel puri’, ‘Pani Puri’, ‘mathri’ etc. During late nights another market comes alive at 11:00 PM in Sarafa (in the heart of city) where one finds lots of delicacies to enjoy after a nice dinner like – ‘Gajak’,’Bhutte ka kis’, ‘Dahi Bada’ ‘Gulab Jamun’, ‘garadu’, ‘Rabri’, ‘aalo tikiya’, ‘ Gajar, Moong Halwa ( of JMB-Jain Mithai Bhandar) ‘, ice creams, milkshakes, rabdi (milk custard), malpuye, etc. and finally tasty ‘paan’ to end your day.
[Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gunjankarun/3107546929/]