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. 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
Best time to visit: October to March (winter season) is the best time to explore Indore.
How to reach
By Air: Devi Ahilyabhai Holkar Airport is 8km away from the west of Indore. IndiGo operates more than 140 non-stop weekly flights between Indore and Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Chennai, Nagpur and Raipur.
By Train: Indore Junction comes under the Western Railway zone in India, and many trains operate to and from Indore railway station on a daily basis.
By Bus: Indore boast of a vast network of buses run by Madhya Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (MPSRTC) and private operators connecting the city to other parts of Madhya Pradesh as well as to the rest of the country.
Getting around: Indore has a good network of local buses run by Atal Indore City Transport Services Ltd, known as Indore City Bus. Auto-rickshaws, Vans are commonly known as Nagar Seva Cabs, and Indore Radio taxi is other modes of modes of transportation to travel in the city.
The dahi vada is excellent, 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 judicious and let the smells and sights guide you. Remember to get there after 8 pm, as that’s when the streets come alive with food.
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 for sure. Before you leave, why not pick up some pastries from the display case, to try with your tea later.
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 pleasant setting.
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.
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.
Jail Road: 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.
Moolchand Market: For children’s clothing, make sure to visit Moolchand Market, where you’ll find readymade outfits.
MT Market and Sitlamata Bazaar: 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.
Government emporiums: You can buy Handicrafts can be from the government managed emporiums that line MG Road, and keep your eyes peeled for intricately cast bell metal items and more.
Sarafa Bazaar: And of course, Sarafa Bazaar, is filled with jewellery shops by the day before becoming a street food haunt in the nights.
Vidorra: Known for its classy décor and setting, Vidorra is a nice place to relax, chat and have drinks with your loved ones. Choose Cumin Lamb and Yue Yang Spicy Barbecued Fish from their sizzling starters’ list while sipping on your favourite drink.
Calypso: Considered among the liveliest club in Indore, their must-have dishes include Wuxiang Chicken, Birbal ki Handi, Assorted Pepper Chicken and Coleslaw Salad.
Kyro: This place is known for its foot-tapping music and unique décor with tables and couches arranged near the pool. Their Jacob’s Red Wine and White Wine are a must try.
OPM Bar and Lounge: Located in Infiniti Hotel, the place is an ideal address if you are looking out to chill with friends and good drinks like Green Devil, Raging Bull and Lemon Margarita. The place is well-maintained and features dim-lit interiors that set the mood for a beautiful evening.
Effotel, Sheetal Nagar Run by the Sayaji group, that has an older hotel in the city, Effotel is a modern 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 the beds are comfortable. With three eateries, including an all-day restaurant that makes 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.
Digambar Jain Kanch ka Mandir: 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 cuts, colourful glass, this is one temple at which being reflective takes on a whole new meaning.
Nehru Park: Finally, for those looking for some respite from the city, visit Nehru Park, where you can visit the zoo, or wander through its verdant, well-maintained gardens. You may also choose to unwind at a water park in Indore.
Maheshwar: For those looking to escape the city, there are multiple options including palace hotels and more rustic places near Indore. One such place is Maheshwar, a centre for handloom weaving since the 5th century and home to the famous Maheshwari sarees. Ahilya Fort at Maheshwar is another popular spot, that is now Relais & Châteaux-affiliated. Its 13 rooms are for those looking to immerse themselves in a royal lifestyle.
Ujjain: Another weekend to consider is a visit to Ujjain, where Fort Amla is another royal residence that is now a hotel. Located on the banks of Shipra river, this sacred city boasts of rich cultural heritage in the form of temples. Famous poet Kalidas have described it as ‘The town fallen from Heaven to bring Heaven to Earth’.
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.