(Last Updated on : 12/04/2013)
The monuments of Indore speak volumes of its rich cultural past. In fact the name of the city has been derived from one of the famous temples of the region known by the name "Indreshwar temple". Indore for long had been the seat of the Holkar dynasty. The monuments and museums of the town reflect the rich sense of art and tradition of the rulers of the Holkar dynasty. A famous piece of architecture in the town of Indore is the Rajwada Palace.
The Juna Rajawada or Old Palace, built by Maharaja Malhar Rao Holkar II, is a splendid range of buildings with a lofty, seven-storey gateway with canted bays on either side of a central archway. The palace is situated in the older part of the city near the Khajuri Bazaar. To the right, the Gopal temple has a large central hall with granite pillars supporting an elaborately decorated roof. It faces the main square. Within the palace is a temple of Malhari Martand which was the family deity of the Holkars. Opposite, across the square, is the Anna Chatra or alms-house for the poor. To the north is the New Palace and garden, built in a classical manner with a French style pavilion roof by Gopal Rao who was a local engineer. Within the palace there are several old heirlooms, furniture, four poster beds, and chandeliers which add to the glory of the palace. The palace can be called a perfect synchronization of the French, Mughal and Maratha styles of architecture.
There are some excellent examples of local vernacular buildings with deep recessed verandas and carved corbels and columns. Near the bridge over the Khan is a statue of Sir Robert Hamilton, the local agent of the Governor-General prior to the Mutiny.
On the riverside are the chhatris of the ruling family. In the Chattri Baug, a large enclosure surrounded by a crenellated wall, are various cenotaphs; one of Malhar Rao Holkar I with ornamental sculpture and low relief work, a slightly smaller one to Ahalya Bai and another, a twelve-sided pavilion on a low plinth, to her son Male Rao Holkar. There is another similar enclosure beyond containing the Chatri of Maharaja Hari Rao Holkar IV. Other noteworthy in the city are at the Krishnapura Ghat on the River Khan and a beautiful monument with a towering dome on the right bank of the Khan commemorating Sardar Chimnaja Rao Appa Sahab Bolia.
The former King Edward Hall, opened in 1905 by the future King George V and now Mahatma Gandhi Hall, is known popularly as the Clock-tower. It is a splendid example of Indo-Saracenic architecture, designed by Charles Frederick Stevens of Bombay. Faced in white Seoni and red Patan stone, it has a central domed clock tower and two-storey wings terminated by domed towers. The ground floor is arcaded with a porte-cochere.
Inside is a spacious hall for over 2,000 people above which have a terraced roof, minarets and cupolas in Rajput style. Nearby the Courts of Justice are also very handsome, with four central domes designed in the style of Indo-Saracenic architecture
Outside the town arc numerous palaces. To the south-west the Lal Bagh Palace is a quaint three-storey range set in a luxuriant garden built by Maharaja Shivaji Rao Holkar. Architecturally, it is similar to the New Palace and was designed by Triggs of Kolkata
The Hawa Bungalow is a charming classical building of considerable refinement in an ltalian style. On the edge of the Bhameri Tank, 7 miles from Indore
, is the Sukhniwas Palace, the summer retreat of the family. The vast Duryao Mahal at Burhawa was the residence of Shivaji Rao Holkar from 1903, a huge pile of a building along the river front in white and yellow stucco linked by classical balustrades. The Nurbada Mahal is in the same vein as the Hawa Bungalow.
To the east of the city are the former British Residency and a treaty area, which was constructed in1931. The Residency is a handsome stone bungalow set in a fine park, through which the Khan flows. It has a predominated entrance and semicircular verandas to the wings. This district also contains the old European buildings: the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches, post office, King Edward Hospital and Day College, an exclusive school in a fine marble building with a series of portraits by Herbert Olivier.
There are a number of interesting temples which fall outside the scope of this volume, including the Kanch Mandir, a Jain temple near the cloth market, with walls, roof and floor decorated with glass depicting sinners being tortured in the afterlife.
The city of Indore is known as the "Mini Mumbai" of the country. It is much developed in terms of commercialization but at the same time this town in Madhya Pradesh
has held its traditions and heritage through its plethora of several monuments.