Indore is the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh… and if you are a foodie or a religious person there is a lot to explore. However, those who are aware of Maratha history would look for the footprints of the Holkar dynasty here. Lal bag palace is perhaps the grandest royal monument here with colonial neo-classical design. Though not in prime condition and perhaps suffering from neglect (it is under govt. care) it has stories of Raj era to tell.
One gets a sense of the royal life lived here in the British period, but unfortunately the monument is not under good care today (it is under the govt. control) Photography is not permitted inside the palace but it is possible to take exterior shots of the palace if you by a special Rs. 25/- ticket.
Rajwada is another grand monument one must not miss. It has a 7 story tall grand facade with interesting columns and windows. It has elements of Maratha, Islamic and French traditions in its form. In its 200 year long history several accidents and incidents of fire have damaged this structure but it still stands tall thanks to conservation efforts.
This palace also houses a museum with interesting artifacts like old paintings, costumes, weapons – a great collection that can give a glimpse of the Holkar reign. Unfortunately the museum needs to be modernized and equipped with better lighting and more enthusiastic staff! Though it is an important tourist place it is open like a govt office between 9-5!
There is an adjoining building which has a large hall – perhaps a banquet hall or a ballroom and colonnades are not to be missed.
Most of the Holkar rulers are remembered through chhatris or cenotaphs that can be found in one compound and a couple close to Khan river.
The area is quiet and calm but no eerie! one can sit, meditate or have a lively discussion on the legacy of Holkars. There is lot of ornate work on the walls – it is mesmerisingly refined.
The history of Malwa cannot be complete without the history of Holkars with astute benevolent rulers like Malhar Rao Holkar, Ahilyabai Holkar and the grand rebel – Yeshwantrao Holkar …. In the next blog lets take a detour to Maheshwar to know a bit more about the Holkar period.