Our visit to Indore was a trip for me but a fortnight of official posting for my husband, an aviation engineer. We, as normal inconspicuous Mumbaikars, who have no special recall-able royal lineage, at least in the recent past, were in for a surprise once we reached the airport. We were yet to breathe this new air when a little crowd, some of them airport employees, gathered around us asked about our stay, accommodation and such other things, a little intimidated yet we gave them the details.
No sooner than a taxi was summoned we were thrust into the taxi, with all the sweet hospitality that is typically Indian. The reason (as explained later by my husband) most of Indore’s royalty being employed at executive positions in the airline business.
Indore was once cultural centre of Central India and remained so even during the British regime. There is the Holkar palace, standing witness to the old lost glory (and if you have visited Baroda ruled by Gaikwads, you will be amazed by the rate of expansion of the Marathas during the regime.)
There are also mansion-style bungalows of other royalty. Palaces and historical spots do have the capacity to transport you to a different era. Hotel President is a good place to stay. Probably rated 3 or 4 star. Just like the trend in the rest of rest of Indore, the road that houses President is also the road that has the rest of the hotels of same grade. The food is decent. They offer complimentary breakfast.
Ujjain, one of the Jyotirlinga, is very close from this place so a good place to visit if you believe in karma cleansing there are fixit pujaris all over the place. The temple is two levels below the ground, plus clean and serene. Incidentally, one of our manokamana wished for at this temple has come true.
Opposite to this hotel is another hotel which houses a little confectionary called Celebrations. The rock chocolates at this place are mindblowing. I would add this place a “must visit” place in Indore! Being a woman, it is not easy to resist the temptation of shopping anywhere you go. Indore has its share of high-end malls like any city, yet it is the local bazaar that is interesting to visit. The bazaars are very systematically arranged following the galli and peth culture of the old times. Which means you get into the “lace galli” you will only find stores of different variety of laces, and embroideries from one end to the other, no way will you find a sari or dress store, same goes about the “medical galli” or “mithai galli”. The khau galli is where you will find the local culinary fare.
The young ones of the city are on the way of westernisation. They sip their coffee at Baristas, “catch a flick” at the nearby Adlabs, girls wear jeans or capris (but even knee-length skirts are a little daring) and “hangout” at the malls like any normal city-slicker. Rather than just visiting the local tourist spots and clicking very predictable photographs, I think it was interesting to meet people and try to grasp the essence of the city.