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The Complete Guide to Indore

Buckle up! You’re about to land in one of India’s most underrated food destinations. Indore, founded in 1710 by Rani Ahilyabai Holkar, borrows from its neighbours to deliver incredibly rich, flavourful culinary experience. Also, travelling to the city is not a hassle as Indore airport is well-connected to most of the parts in the country. Besides, there are many trains that operate to and from Indore railway station on a daily basis. Pair this with its royal history and the charm is magnified.Here’s how to make the most of this magical city in Madhya Pradesh

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What to See and Do in Indore

There are a number of places to visit in Indore. As the seat of the Holkar dynasty, Indore is home to a variety of buildings built under royal patronage. The most stunning of them all is Rajwada, a seven-storeyed palace that stands in Khajuri Bazaar, now the heart of the city. Also worth visiting is Gandhi Hall, which plays host to seasonal arts and culture exhibitions, in addition to being an architectural delight in itself. The Hall was inaugurated by the Prince of Wales as King Edward Hall, but took on this name after Independence. For a feel of the local architecture, visit the Krishna Puri Chhatris, commemorative cenotaphs that dot the site where Krishna Bai Holkar, wife of Maharaja Malhar Rao Holkar II was cremated. Made of intricately-carved stone, the chhatris are a sight to behold, and a testament to the skilled hands that made them.

Indore tourism offers a variety of stunning landmarks for tourists to witness. Another architectural gem is the Digambar Jain Kanch ka Mandir, or the Glass Temple. With an interior made up of millions of cut, colourful glass, this is one temple at which being reflective takes on a whole new meaning. There are also a number of tourist places near Indore that you can visit.

On the banks of the river Khan (or Kahn, as you will) is the spectacular Lal Bagh Palace, which was once the residence of the Holkars. This one borrows heavily from European influences. And so, the main gate resembles the one at Buckingham Palace, some of the halls may remind you of the Palace of Versailles and the furniture reflects the Georgian style. Add the Italian marble columns, Persian carpets and Greek influences and you have a truly regal abode. This one is a must-visit. Finally, for those looking for some respite from the city, visit Nehru Park, where you can visit the zoo, or just wander through its verdant, well-maintained gardens. You may also choose to unwind at a water park in Indore.

Where to Eat

Street food is what Indore is best known for, especially a visit to the much touted Sarafa Bazaar, but there’s a range of eateries (both with and without seating), at which to grab a meal. Refer to the Indore city map so that you don’t have to give up on your search for the right restuarants.

  • Joshi Dahi Wada, Sarafa Bazaar

    The dahi vada is great, no doubt, but the drama around it is what makes it an experience. Stand by as Joshiji tosses the plateful of dahi-vada in the air, without spilling a drop! That done, explore the rest of Sarafa Bazaar, which is a street-food lover’s delight. Try the sabudana vada, chhole tikki and faluda ice cream while making your way through the hawkers. Each stall will have you wanting to place an order, so be juidicious and let the smells and sights guide you. Remember to get there after 8pm, as that’s when the streets come alive with food.
  • Shreemaya Celebrity, multiple locations

    This all-vegetarian eatery’s buffet lunch is a great way to fill your stomach with an array of options. For those ordering off the menu, get the chole bhature—which are recommended. Before you leave, why not pick up some pastries from the display case, to try with your tea later.
  • The Square, Sayaji Hotel

    This pan-Asian and Indian eatery serves a mean crispy corn and paneer tikka. The hotel’s other eatery—Mediterra is also worth visiting for those that want a Continental meal in a convivial setting.
  • Mr Beans, Saket Nagar

    This quirky café serves a range of coffee and tea pick-me-ups, along with shared plates and desserts. With interiors that include black leather chairs, framed vintage photos and more—this is where you should come when the sightseeing gets overwhelming.

Where to Stay in Indore

When it comes to hotels in Indore, there is a range of options with some smart business hotels topping the list.

  • Effotel, Sheetal Nagar

    Run by the Sayaji group, that has an older hotel in the city, Effotel is a hip four-star business hotel that is all bright colours and inviting spaces. There are two restaurants on-site for guests staying in the hotel’s 181 rooms to choose from, and if you’re looking to drink at the end of the day—the bar, Good Old Days is worth checking out.
  • Radisson Blu Hotel Indore, Ring Road

    This property features a rooftop pool for those that want to cool down after a hectic day. The rooms are large and spacious, and beds are comfortable. With three eateries, including an all-day restaurant that does a mean breakfast.
  • Ginger Indore, Chhoti Khajrani

    This budget hotel touts its central location and no-frills approach to lodging. With a restaurant and fitness centre in the building there’s enough to do after a busy day. For solo travellers that are willing to compromise for location, this is a great option.
  • Hotel Crown Palace, Kanchan Bagh

    With 49 rooms this mid-range hotel is known for its flexibility when it comes to early check-in and late check-out. There’s a cocktail lounge for those looking for a tipple, as well as multiple food options.

What to Buy in Indore

More than individual shops, the markets in Indore are worth checking out. For brand name items there’s a couple of new malls, and arterial markets, which you can check out—but why shop for international names, when you can keep an eye out for local handicrafts and more. If you’ve forgotten a phone charger or want to buy any electronic accessory, make your way to Jail Road, which is where you’ll find a range of electronics and everything else needed to plug them in and get started. For children’s clothing, make sure to visit Moolchand Market, where you’ll find readymade outfits. Women should visit MT Market, where you’ll find Maheshwari and Chanderi saris that feature delicate zari work and more. Those looking for contemporary fabrics with an Indian touch should make a beeline for Sitlamata Bazaar. Handicrafts can be found at the government managed emporiums that line MG Road, and keep your eyes peeled for intricately cast bell metal items and more. And of course, Sarafa Bazaar, is filled with jewellery shops by day before becoming a street food haunt in the nights.

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6E & Cheeky

For those looking to escape the city, there are multiple options including palace hotels, and more rustic places near Indore.. Ahilya Fort at Maheshwar is a former palace, that is now Relais & Châteaux-affiliated. Its 13 rooms are for those looking to immerse themselves in a royal lifestyle. Another weekend to consider is a visit to Ujjain, where Fort Amla is another royal residence that has been converted into a hotel. For those seeking adventure, make a trip to Choral Dam, where you can try your hand at rock-climbing, rappelling, parasailing and more, on the banks of the reservoir that gives the dam its name. Madhya Pradesh Tourism runs the Choral Resort, for those that want to spend a night across the reservoir.

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