Madhya Pradesh’s biggest commercial powerhouse, Indore is known as the heart of the state. However, the city remains more of a gateway to the more popular sites in the state such as Ujjain, Omkareshwar, and Maheshwar than a destination in itself. My mother, a Hindi travel writer, visited the city sometime ago and was lured by the charm of the city. (You can read her article in Hindi about her trip to Indore here) Of course, being most densely populated city in the state it struggles with problems such as cleanliness and traffic, but the city in itself has quite a few places to see and explore. Take a look:
Begin your Indore trip with the visit to Gomatgiri. The 21-feet high idol of Lord Bahubali is imposing and awe-inspiring. Located near the city airport, on a small hillock Gomatgiri is home to this famous idol and other smaller idols of 24 tirthankaras. Needless to say, it is one of the most popular religious attractions for the followers of Jainism. But its beauty is something that attracts other tourists too. Built on the top of Gommatesher Hill, it offers a stunning view of Indore city.This is perfect place to experience the beautiful sunrise and sunset. The place is about 5 kms from the airport. It is opened all days of week.
Timings: 6:00 AM to 12:00 noon and 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Entry Fee: Free
2. Rajwada Palace
The best place to appreciate the Maratha culture is Rajwada Palace, which was once the residence of the Holkars. A popular tourist attraction in Indore, it is a building that exemplifies the grand architectural skills of the Holkar dynasty. This seven-storey building was built in 1747AD by Malhar Rao Holkar. One can see the influences of Maratha, Muslim and French styles of architecture on this 200-year-old structure. The grand entrance makes for a picture perfect frame as do the gorgeous gardens and courtyards. The museum is quite stunning and what adds to the attraction is Mr Amitabh Bachchan’s recorded voice giving the visitors a tour of the palace.
Timings: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM (closed on Mondays)
Sound and light show at 6:30 PM
Entry Fee:For Indians:₹10, Foreign Nationals:₹ 250, Photography:₹ 25 and Videography:₹100
3. Kanch Mandir
After checking out the Rajwada Palace, we recommend you to take time to visit this unique Jain temple in the vicinity. The temple is not grand in size but is majestic in being made entirely of Belgian stained glass and mirrors. Everything from walls to ceiling is done up in beautifully cut mirrors.
It was built by Seth Sir Hukumchand Kasliwal, who was known for his humble works and generosity in whole of India. We recommend you to visit the temple during sunrise when the morning rays pass through the mirrors and bring out the best of this temple.
Photography is not allowed and some part of this temple is only meant for Jain Community. To see the full glory of the temple, try to visit during Mahavir Jayanti or Paryushan Parv. This temple is located on Hukumchand Margand autos from Indore junction to this place take about ₹ 70-80.
Timings: 5:00 AM – 12:00 PM, 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM (all days of the week)
Entry Fee: Free
4. Gandhi Hall
This stunning building created from red and white stones in the Indo-Gothic style, is one of the best places to visit in Indore with friends. Designed by Charles Frederick Stevens, it was built in 1904. Originally known as King Edward Hall, it was renamed Gandhi Hall in 1948. With a capacity to accommodate approx. 2000 people, it serves as a major venue for cultural events and art exhibitions in the city. Check out if there is an exhibition, book fair, or mango festival on while you are in the city.
Timings: 10 AM – 6 PM
Entry Fee: Free
5. Patalpani Waterfall
If you are looking for places to visit near Indore within 50 km, we recommend you to include Patalpani Waterfall in your itinerary. Patalpani is legendary for its falls, lush leaf and its scenic atmosphere. The spectacular falls descends from a height of 150-200 feet, making for a picturesque sight. The place is all the more mesmerizing during the monsoon season. But do note that the water flow is the highest soon after the rains. During summers, it is almost dry. It is a popular spot for weekend getaway and picnics among the locals as well as the tourists.
6. Lal Bagh Palace
If you have noticed the gates at Buckingham Palace, then you’d notice a striking similarity to the gates of LalBagh Palace, which were imported from England.
The three-floor building built during 1886-1921, displays the grandeur of Holkar dynasty in all its might. It is perhaps the grandest sight of the city. A mesmerizing Palace, once home to the rulers of the Holkar dynasty, it is now a museum, which depicts the glorious past of the Malwa during the British rule. Located 3 km from Rajwada Palace, the palace is surrounded by vast gardens which give a calm and peaceful experience to the tourists visiting this place.
Mobile phones are not allowed inside the palace and needs to be deposited atthe counter atthe entry.
Timings: 10 am to 5 pm; closed on Mondays
Entry Fee: ₹ 10 per person
7. Sarafa Bazaar
Your trip to the city of Indore cannot be complete without a visit to the famous Sarafa Bazaar. One of the top places to visit in Indore at night, it is a paradise for foodies. Historically better known for its gold and silver stores, the bazaar undergoes an impressive transformation at night; from a marketplace for gold and silver and different ornaments, it becomes a foodie’s heaven! An excellent range of vendors line up their carts outside the jewellery stores and sell some delicious street vegetarian food. This is great place to visit in Indore with friends and savour different kinds of delicacies. Do try the Coconut crush (a juice made from the tender coconut and its water), Bhutte ke Kees and Dahi Wada at Joshi Dahi Bada House, Indori Namkeen from Ganesh Namkeen, Rabdi, Gulab Jamun, Mawa Bati (similar to Kala Jamun) from any vendor, Prakash ki Kulfi and Chole Tikki.
Timings: 9:00 PM till 2:00 AM
8. Krishnapura Chhatris
Standing the test of time, the Chhatris, settled on the banks of the Khan River, are a part of an important architectural heritage of Indore. It is said that Rani Ahilyabai Holkar had these Chatris built in honour of Lord Krishna and she regularly worshipped here. There are three Chattris here: one on the west is dedicated to Maharani Krishnabai Holkar while other two are dedicated to Maharaja Tukoji Rao Holkar II and his son Shivaji Rao Holkar.
Designed out of stone, the structures have rounded design with pyramid-shaped points on top. The place has a tranquilizer effectto tired soul and is good place to relax. They were built-in 1800s in the memory of Holkar rulers to portray their bravery and courage. This place is just 400 meters away from Rajwada Palace.
9. Khajrana Ganesh Mandir
Dedicated to Lord Ganpati, this temple attracts devotees as well as tourists in large numbers every year. Have an unfulfilled wish? Visit it and it might just come true. It is believed that offering prayers here will help remove all the obstacles in your life. Even if you do not have a religious belief, visit this temple to admire the deity’s large idol made of precious jewels and pearls.
Legend has it that the idol was found in a well after which the temple was made in 1735 by Rani AhilyabaiHolkar. If the stories are to be believed, a local pandit saw the ancient statue inside the temple in his dreams. It was after he told about his dream that the queen excavated and installed the idol.
10. Sirpur Lake
Located on Indore-Dhar Road in Indore, Sirpur Lake is a great place for nature lovers. This is in idyllic place for a quiet retreat or picnic with family and friends. Bird lovers will be in for delight as this place is home to several varieties of birds. During the season the place gets lot of migratory birds and it is a beautiful time to capture a snap of birds and nature. There is a pathway for walk and you can easily get mesmerised by beautiful birds like peacock, swans and all.
Timings: 6:00 AM to 7:00 PM
11. Kamla Nehru Prani Sangrahalay
One of the oldest parks in the city, Kamla Nehru Prani Sangrahalay was established in 1974. This beautiful park is also known as Indore Zoo, being home to several species of animals and birds. You can even find here white tigers, Himalayan bears and Asian elephants. It’s a great place to see if you are visiting Indore with your children. It is quite accessible to reach since it is situated at a distance of about 4 km from the city center.
For Indians: ₹ 10 per person
Foreign Nationals – ₹500 per person
Timings: 9:00 am to 7:00 pm (from March to June) and 9:00 am to 6:00 pm (from July to February); closed on Mondays
12. Ralamandal Wildlife Sanctuary
Ralamandal Wildlife Sanctuary, established in 1981, has some breathtaking view particularly during the rainy season. Those who love wildlife can spend hours here. Also there is a huge variety of trees such as teak, chandan, bamboo. The best time to visit is considered at sunrise as people come for nature walk and park has some trekking area. You can either choose cemented route or the mountain route; both will give the mesmerizing nature beauty experience.
Timings: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Entry fees: ₹ 60
What to buy in Indore
If you are looking for things to buy from Indore, we recommend you to look for art and crafts, leather toys, glass bangles, Chanderi or Maheshwari sarees, jewellery, and handicraft items.
Best time to visit Indore
October to March
One city, so many faces! Rich in culture and full of history, it isn’t short of beauty either. Your trip to Indore can be anything you want it to be: adventurous, religious, touristy or romantic. Take your pick!