By Sanjeev Nayyar Sanjeev@esamskriti.com | 2018

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1. The capital of the Holkars was Maheshwar. Malhar Rao Holkar shifted his capital to Indore 1818. RAJWADA is the Holkar Palace. The rear side that you see has a courtyard, is woven around 2 kunds Tulsi & Ganesh, with small temple between the two (left of pic). Tall structure with scaffolding is 7 storeyed palace. It was in ruins till 1984 – after that restored about 2007.

2. Built on the banks of the Khan river Rajwada housed the administrative & residential activity of the ruler. Front part that you see is being restored under Smart City project so could not enter. It housed the Durbar Hall, Secretariat, Treasury & King’s office. There is traffic here virtually 24 by 7. Sarafa night street food is minutes away.

3. What is open now is side entrance. On ground floor is a Shivalaya called Martand Mandir. U see logo of Holkar. Why is Jai Malhar written – u will read later.

4. As you enter are greeted by Ganesha and a rectangular shaped corridor as u can see. It has pictures of the Holkars, Ahilyabai Holkar’s contributions and Rajwada. Very simple.

5. Pranams to NATARAJA – kept in the corridor. Behind this is the Malhar mandir.

6. Temple entrance. Nandi in front, centre is deity, right thru the window see a bust of Ahilyabai Holkar. ‘The deity of this temple is Shri Malhari Martand, is worshipped as a form of Lord Shiva & is known as Khandoba, Mhalsakant etc. Shri Malhari Martand is worshipped as the most popular People’s God.’ Place is serene and peaceful. Loved meditating here.

7. Close up of Shri Malhari Martand. ‘It is believed that whoso ever worships this deity with apt devotion shall be blessed with wealth, prosperity and bliss. The devotee will be cleared of all his bad deeds & achieve salvation’. Pranams.

8. Centre of corridor is what you see – Tulsi plant is in centre. See first floor – note simplicity of overall design. Rajwada was renovated & re-opened around 2007 (hope date right).

9. First floor is a museum with boards that give history of the various rulers of the Holkar dynasty. Right old utensils, centre brown is palanquin, walls have old pictures and left is a Maheshwari loom.

10. There was a drought in Mysore so Ahilyabai Holkar (1767- 1795) brought thousands of weavers from there+supported them financially+gave them homes to stay. They fixed windows on Maheshwar fort. The saris made by these workers became a commercial success & their ladder to progress. Holkars set up Rehwa Society around 1980 to revive the weaving tradition i.e. booming today.

11. Typical Maheshwari loom. In front you see thread tied to cloth bags. This way the thread tied to the loom is always tight.

12. Marriage Ahilyabai Holkar. Malharrao Holkar approached Ahilya father, Mankoji Shinde, with proposal for marriage. They were married in 1733. Bajirao Peshwa came to bless the couple – i.e. what you see. Hall depicts incidents from Ahilya’s life in this format.

13. Board tells you about various Holkar kings, we show a few. In June 1804 Yeshwantrao defeated the British in Bundelkhand. A month later he defeated the British Army at Kota & Mukundara. In October 1804 he freed the Mughal Emperor Delhi from the British. Why did he not kill the emperor and do away with the Mughals is a question worth pondering over.

14. Tukoji Holkar II was one of the finest rulers of Indore. He started irrigation dept, textile mill, water works and introduced panchayat system amongst others.

15. Indore City water supply work undertaken 1929-1932 during Yeshwantrao Holkar II. It is only after visiting this museum did I know how forward looking the Holkars were as rulers.

16. Palanquin.

17. Tinned sheet roof that you see are rooms of the Shri Gopalji Mandir i.e. opposite Rajwada. Right is Ibadatkhana made during the late 19th century. Behind the Gopalji Mandir ie a mosque that blares azaan from loudspeakers and disturbs peace of the area.

18. About ten minutes from Rajwada, through market, is Kanch Mandir. Had read lots about it but disappointing. Can skip.

19. Next stop was Lalbaugh Palace. Like others, Holkars shifted from Rajwada to British style palaces. The government took it over in 1988 & made a Nehru Centre out of it dedicated to science etc. The 60 acre odd property, palace included, is very poorly maintained to say the least. Govt must hand it over to the Holkars or a private trust so it is maintained & becomes a tourist attraction.

20. Palace exterior is not as grand as say Rambhagh Jaipur or Umaid Bhawan Jodhpur but interiors very impressive. Why does the government get involved in such things – they have enough on their plate. A couple of rooms dedicated to science – nautanki hai.

21. Palace entrance gate. Locals said palace lawns now used for exhibitions. Government should let go and let professionals restore & maintain the palace.

22. Close to Rajwada and on the sangam of the Chandrabagha & Khan rivers are Chattris (cenotaphs). As is customary close to every Hindu monument of importance comes up a mosque that you see in centre of pic. Behind the chattris is a market named after freedom fighter & social reformer Veer Savarkar.

23. Krishnabai Holkar ki chattri. It has elements of Rajput, Maratha & Mughal architecture. Complex has chattris of two other Holkars. Wish state govt had a board in English too & that was not covered like this.

24. Overview of one standalone chattri – Rajput style is evident.

25. Same chattri arch mein saw this man playing a musical instrument think violin.

26. Same chattri platform wall had many sculptures – this one seems to be of a warrior.

27. Walls of other two chattris have various images. This one is of Ma Durga.

28. This one is Narasimha avatar of Lord Vishnu killing Hirankashyap – one of the most popular scenes in Indian temples. In case of any errors in captions mail back.

29. Pillars inside chattri. Typical Mughal style. Indore is a nice city. Spend a day to enjoy the city at a leisured pace. To see pics of SARAFA night street food https://www.esamskriti.com/a/Madhya-Pradesh/SARAFA-Indore-Night-Street-Food.aspx

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