If the heart of India had a heart then it would be Indore. Sure, Bhopal is the capital of Madhya Pradesh, but it is Indore which is the largest city in the state that sits right at its centre. Indore airport connects the main city to all other major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, Raipur, Gwalior, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Nagpur. The main city is just 8 kms away from the main city and it is best to hire a prepaid taxi. Taking a train is also convenient as the station is connected through Ratlam and can be reached from Vadodara and Ahmedabad in Gujarat, Delhi, Jaipur, Nagpur, Pune and Mumbai. Regular buses also run and you can catch on from Bhopal, Ujjain, Sanchi and Gwalior.
Summers are searing hot and so winter is the best time to visit Indore, with the weather at its most pleasant. You can also visit the city between October and December.
Like many other Indian cities, Indore is also proud of its history, architecture and culture. Historical monuments stand out from the rest as they were built by ‘Holkar’ - the Maharashtrian rulers that reigned here for many years. Walk around and marvel at the intricately carved temples and forts as well as the grandiose of age-old palaces. If you are religious you will enjoy visiting the innumerable temples here and learn about the stories that surround it. These temples and forts are owed to Rani Ahilya Bai Holkar who spent a fortune on their construction. You can admire the statue made for her that stands tall outside the Rajwada Palace.
The must-visit places include the 18th-century style Rajwada Palace and Lalbagh Palace, both of which stun you with their beauty and grandeur. Annapurna Temple, Khajrana Ganesh Temple, Patalpani Waterfall and Ralamandal Wildlife Sanctuary are also worth seeing. If you’re looking for gastronomic adventures, then the vibrant streets of Sarafa Market are for you.
Indore has also slowly turned into the IT hub of Madhya Pradesh with Crystal IT Park being the technology centre of the city, giving young people great opportunities to find work here. The automobile, textile and education industries are also flourishing. IIT Indore, IIM Indore, Devi Ahilya Vishwa Vidyalaya are only some of the examples of famous institutes. Because of the young men and women that it draws, the city is marked with great places to eat and hang out. Festivals are also celebrated in full splendour. Indore is, without a doubt, one of the best places to visit in Madhya Pradesh.
Easily one of the best places to visit in Indore Rajwada Palace is the pride of the city. Built around two centuries ago by Holkars who belonged to the Maratha Dynasty, Rajwada is often referred to as Holkar Palace.
Being the oldest structure of Indore is not enough, this magnificent palace brings the culture and architecture of the world together. How? When you view the palace from the southern side, it looks like a Mughal monument and when you view it from the eastern side, it is reminiscent of European architecture. French architecture shows up in the design of the Darbal Hall and Rani Ahilya’s throne.
It is also interesting to note that the structure was burned three times and each time it was renovated such that one could never tell if something was amiss. Recently restored by H.H. Ushadevi, the palace looks as beautiful as ever with gorgeous sculptures and waterfalls. The gardens around are well preserved and sight for sore eyes. Tourists are welcome here to enjoy the light and sounds show during the evening. Visit the Safara Market after to dig into mouth-watering street food.
Lal Bagh Palace
Another one of the more popular places to visit in Indore is the Lal Bagh Palace. If you are someone who chases and feels home when surrounded by luxury, then the splendid three-storied structure constructed by Maharaja Shivaji Roa Holkar is a must-visit. Innumerable grand receptions of the Holkars have been hosted here through the years and you will see why as you gape at the architectural marvels of this Palace. Reminding you of the life and times of the Holkar rulers, Lal Bagh is a paradise for history buffs. The rose gardens are beautiful but the entrance of the palace is the real spectacle. Do check out the coin collection in the museum along with the paintings and the artwork on the walls.
Holkar Cricket Stadium
Irrespective of whether you are a cricket buff the Holkar Cricket Stadium is one of the best places to visit in Indore. Previously known as Maharani Usharaje Trust Cricket Ground, Holkar Cricket Stadium can seat upto 30,000 people. It is known for hosting most of Madhya Pradesh Cricket team’s home matches. The stadium was also selected as one of the six venues for Test Matches. The first Test Match hosted here was in the year 2016 welcoming New Zealand to become the 22nd Indian test avenue.
Mahatma Gandhi Hall or Town Hall
Seoni stones come together to make up this stately building that reminds you of a colonial past. The architectural style is Indo-Gothic and the most striking visuals are provided by the domes and steeples of the Mahatma Gandhi Hall, making it one of the best tourist places to visit in Indore. It has the capacity of about 2,000 people. People associate the Town Hall primarily with the Ghanta Ghar that looks over the town. The premises also have a library, a park for kids to play around, as well as a temple. Mahatma Gandhi Hall was previously known as King Edward Hall and renamed in the year 1948, 44 years post its construction. It is one of the best places to visit in Indore if you are a history and architecture buff.
Built by the Jain leader, Seth Hukum Chandm is One of the most beautiful tourist places in Indore is the Kanch Mandir or the Glass Temple. This spellbinding piece of architecture looks right out of a dream as its grandeur never fails to amaze tourists. As suggested, the temple is completely covered with innumerable mirrors and reflects the skill of the artist behind it. Be mesmerized by the intricate glass chandeliers and skilful mirror-work. The image of Shiva that sits in the heart of this temple is the main attraction here. It is made with black onyx and stands out to the spectator. Walk on colourful floor tiles and admire the work of art that is this structure. When you get tired of looking at the mirror-work, you can also admire the many paintings that adorn the walls here. It is easily one of the best places to visit in Indore.
One of the most famous places in Indore is the Bada Ganpati. But contrary to what one might think, it is not the size of this Ganpati that is the reason behind its fame but the soil from which it is made. The dirt that makes up this divine statue has been collected from seven holy cities - Mathura, Kanchi, Maya, Ayodhya, Avantika, Dwarka and Kashi. Built in the year 1875, the statue of Lord Ganesha stands at an impressive height of 25 feet - the tallest Ganesha statue with gold, silver, copper, brass and iron constituting its frame. Legend has it that the statue is made out of five ratnas - heera, panna, moti, pukhraj and manik. Needless to say it is one of the most spectacular tourist places in Indore.
Pipliyapala Regional Park
Also known as the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Regional Park the Pipliyapala Regional Park spans over 120 acres and is one of the great places to visit in Indore. The entrance greets you with a glass building and as you walk gazing at the colourful tiles and palm trees you are completely taken in. Looked after by the Indore Development Authority, the garden is green and lush and a favorite for picnics. There are French gardens, a biodiversity park as well as an artists' village. There is also enough for children’s entertainment with the popular Bhul Bhulaiya and other swings. Pipliyapala Regional Park is one of the more famous places in Indore.
Ralamandal Wildlife Sanctuary
Ralamandal Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1989 and is one of the most amazing places to visit in Indore if you want to see nature at its best. It spans around five square kilometers and is home to a variety of flora and fauna. You can choose to drive on your own or take a jeep and explore the rich environs - spot animals such as Leopard, Sambhar, Blue Bull, Bhedki, Jarak and foliage such as Eucalyptus, Saja, Babul, and Teak. The interesting thing about this Sanctuary is that it has an ancient palace that sits in its heart, that was built by the Holkars in 1905. Previously used as a hunting hut, it was known as Shikhargarh. It now runs as an information centre. Hunting is prohibited. Visit the Ralamandal Wildlife Sanctuary not just for the flora and fauna but also to revel in its beauty. This is one of the most exciting tourist places in Indore and must be added to the bucket list.
Another one of the religious sites in Indore that just happens to not be a temple. White Churches is one of the oldest churches in central India and is a one of the many beautiful places to visit in Indore.. Built by Sir Robert M C Hamilton in 1858, it is known for its colonial architecture that was common in protestant churches. Before 1947 it was frequented by army men who made their way to the city often along with the Christians living in the city.
Khajrana Ganesha Temple is another one of the many temples dedicated to Lord Ganesha in Indore. Hindu devotees throng in large numbers to witness the prayer offering here, though only on Wednesdays and Sundays. The Vinayaka Chaturthi is celebrated here with full pomp and ceremony and it is believed that anyone who comes here and offers prayers, has their wish fulfilled with Ganesha’s blessing. Many couples come here praying to be blessed with a child. An interesting thing about the Khajrana Ganesha Temple is the dargah nearby which is dedicated to Nahar Sayed. Sayed was believed to be buried headless here and this places holds great significance for Muslims. With both places of worship next to each other, the aura of this place is holy.
If you plan to visit the Khajrana Ganesha Temple the best time would be between August and September. This way you will be able to enjoy the Khajrana fair that is held here year after year during these months. Khajrana Ganesha Temple is one of the most famous places in Indore.
As the name suggests Omkareshwar is dedicated to Lord Shiva and sits atop Omkar mountain, right in the middle of the river Narmada. The temple is a few kilometers from the city and is one of the best places to visit near Indore. Omkareshwar has one of the 12 jyotirlinga temples in the world and attracts avid devotees from all over the world. It has a massive prayer hall that stands on 60 sturdy stone pillars and dedicates five storeys to five different deities with three prayer services being conducted everyday. A diverse group of people conduct these prayer meetings too - the morning meeting is done by the priests of the temple and the afternoon and evening ones are taken care of by the Scindia and Holkar priests. While you are here take a dip in the Narmada river and also make a visit to the Mamleshwar temple that is a short distance away. It is easily one of the best places to visit near Indore.
This one is not located in Indore city but is definitely worth the trip. Around 35 km from the main city are the Patalpani Waterfalls. It easily tops the list of the best places to visit near Indore. Falling from 150 feet, this majestic sight can be viewed in its full splendour during the monsoon period. Tourists must be careful though, as the risk of accidents also increases greatly during this time. Being a seasonal waterfall, it can be torrential and a burst of rain might affect the flow of water and might become dangerous. While you are here, you can also indulge in adventure sports as many activities take place around the location. Visit the Patalpani Waterfalls between July and October to see it in best form. While there are many famous places in Indore, other names can be included in the best places to visit near Indore including Buhranpur, Maheshwar, Omkareshwar, Mandu and Ujjain.
Of the many things that Indore is rich with, the top of the list is food. There is no dearth of the variety of cuisines that can be devoured in restaurants here, with Rajasthani, Gujarati and Maharashrian in lead. But more interesting is when they come together to create fusion cuisines that make up the street food of Indore. Sure, enjoy your meals in fancy restaurants if you must, but it is the street food that offers the best of Indore to foodies.
The first and only market to visit for street food, in case you are pressed for time is Sarafa Market. The market is beelined with colourful stalls offering mouth watering delicacies and truly comes alive at night. Your pit-stops must include Joshiji ka Dahiwada, the unique Sawariya ki Sabudana Khichdi, Saawariya ka Bhutte ka Kees, Fried Garadu Indore style and Vijay ki kachori. Be sure to be there early evening as many of the popular food stalls are sold out by 11 pm.
Chhappan Dukan means 56 shops and is one of the best places to visit in Indore. Needless to say, there is everything under the sun here. It opens up to customers at 6 am in the morning and serves till as late as 10 pm. The one food item that you absolutely cannot miss here is poha, which is often served with a combination of jalebi and is an absolute favorite among foodies. The market is lit up with not just Indori food but also continental cuisine. The must-visit sweet shops here include Gangaur Sweets, Madhuram Sweets and Agrawal Sweets.
This market is abuzz at all times and is also a great place for recreation. Children can enjoy pony rides and camel rides as well as small swings. The market is brimming with joy and a perfect example of the spirit of Indore. It is one of the most brilliant tourist places in Indore.
Cities rich in culture and heritage, such as Indore, deserve more time in the light when it comes to India’s travel and tourism. Learn about the history of the Holkars, get lost in the gorgeous English architecture of some of the grandest buildings here, marvel at the devotion of the many people that flock the countless temples here and soothe your senses with views of gorgeous waterfalls that bloom every monsoon season. The treasures that we just mentioned above are few of the most beautiful places to visit in Indore and must feature on your list whenever you happen to visit the largest city in Madhya Pradesh.