Indore is the largest city (by population) of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh and is located 190 km west of the state capital of Bhopal. It is the 9th largest city in India and 76th largest city in the world. From being a trading hub, connecting the Deccan and Delhi in the 16th century, and the city developed to become the commercial capital of the Central Indian State of Madhya Pradesh and is acknowledged for being India’s third oldest stock exchange.
The history of Indore dates back to the period of Mughal rule during which the area was being controlled by local zamindars, the founders of the city and indigenous landlords of Malwa, who accepted the suzerainty of the Mughal Empire. These families were granted confirmatory sanads by the then Mughal Emperors thereby confirming their Jagir rights. Rao Nandlal Chaudhary, the chief local zamindar and founder of the modern settlement, had a special place in the Emperor’s court of Delhi. The two jewel studded swords, displayed in the Royal British Museum and the special ‘Gold Langar’, gifted to him by Raja Savai Jai Singh of Jaipur, guaranteed a special place to him in all the Durbars of India.
Rao Nandlal Chaudhary had an army of 2000 soldiers that was harassed by Maratha invaders from time to time. To protect his people from harassment by Marathas, he moved along with his people to a newly identified place which was surrounded by rivers on all sides. He found this place to be safe and strategically located and constructed a fort of Shree Sansthan Bada Rawala and named the newly identified place as Indrapur after Lord Indreshwar. The place became an important trade centre on the Delhi-Deccan route and eventually came to be known as Indore, probably during the British Raj.
The area of the modern Indore city was a part of Kampel pargana and by 1720, because of increase of commercial activity in the city, the headquarters of the local pargana was transferred from Kampel to Indore. Thereafter, the appointment of the Nizam of Hyderabad as the Governor of the Deccan region by the Mughals triggered the struggle between the Marathas and the Mughals and by 1724 the city and its surroundings came under Maratha Empire.
Peshwa Baji Rao I, after assuming full control of Malwa, appointed his commander Malhar Rao Holkar as the Subhedar (Governor) of the province, which marked the beginning of Holkars’ reign in Malwa. The Holkars conferred the title of Rao Raja upon Nandlal Chaudhary’s family, which retained its possession of royalty, in addition to the right of performing first puja of Dusshera before the Holkar rulers.
Malhar Rao Holkar was succeeded by his daughter-in-law Ahilyabai Holkar (1767 – 1795) who shifted the state’s capital to Maheshwar and ruled from a palace-fort situated to the south of Indore. However, Indore remained an important commercial and military centre and eventually in 1818, the Holkars were defeated by the British during the Third Anglo-Maratha War (in the Battle of Mahidpur) and consequently the capital was again shifted from Maheshwar to Indore.
The British thereafter established a residency with a British Resident at Indore; however, with the efforts of Dewan Tatya Jog, the Indore state remained under the Holkars as a princely state. Efforts were made by Maharaja Tukoji Rao Holkar II (1852-86) towards the industrial development of Indore.
The business in Indore flourished with the introduction of Railways in 1875 and the first master plan of the city was established in 1918 by Patrick Geddes, noted architect and town planner.
The Holkar State, along with a number of neighbouring princely states, acceded to Indian Union after India got independence in 1947 and with the formation of Madhya Bharat, Indore became the summer capital of the state in the year 1948. However, in 1956, the state capital was shifted to Bhopal when Madhya Bharat was merged into Madhya Pradesh.
This beautiful city of Indore fascinates the travellers with its wide range of architecturally significant buildings in a wide range of styles exhibiting historical and cultural periods of Holkar (Maratha), Mughal and British era. The most prominent of them are the Rajwada Palace built in 1766, the Lal Bagh Palace (grandest monument of Holkar dynasty), the Krishnapura Chhatris (the royal cenotaphs of typical Maratha style architecture) and many other Rajput style of architecture.
Eventually Indore has transformed from a traditional city into a modern dynamic commercial centre now housing a significant number of high-rises, mostly located in the financial district of Vijay Nagar. The tallest structure in Indore is the replica of Eiffel Tower at All India Radio campus, which rises 337 metres (1,106 ft). However, it does not fall in the category of a high-rise building as it cannot be occupied. The tallest habitable building in Indore is the Radisson Blu. The second-tallest building in the city is the Bombay Hospital while the tallest residential buildings are at Ocean Park on Indore-Dewas Bypass Road near Delhi Public School. There are many landmarks in Indore which make it a tourist attraction.