Saturday, 15 February 2014

Zaara and I in the land of the Holkars, Feb 2014

Zaara and I just made a short trip to Indore in Madhya Pradesh. Indore is like any other north Indian city dotted with old havelis that now stand pressed against ugly concrete buildings on all sides. The old part of the city is hugely dense with people, houses and shops and cows in the narrow lanes who were touched in obeisance by people who passed by them. And then there was more to the city. The palaces and chatris of the gorgeous Holkars. I felt a tremendous positive vibe in that place. Indore has been charming. The new part of it is neat. But the old part is where the charm lies. 

I thought of coming up with this photo-essay, dedicated to that trip I made with my two year old daughter.

 We landed in Indore early morning. The Indore sky was lovely when it greeted us.

 The Indore airport at a distance.

 Zaara at the hotel, all set for sight-seeing.

 She carries my camera like her bag. Hence, I had to take all these pictures with my phone!

 I was informed that if I were in Indore, I couldn't miss Chappan Dukaan for namkeens and chaats. I thought it was just one shop, one 'dukaan'. But when I reached there I saw that it was one whole line of shops that was callled 'Chappan Dukaan'. 

We settled at a place that had been awarded for its chaats.

The shop had some tempting sweet drinks too.

People inside and outside the shop.

 Next, we visited Rajwada - the magnificent palace built by the Holkars in the 1700s. The palace exhibits a blend of Maratha and Mughal styles. Near the entrance is a courtyard, adjacent to a hall for Lord Ganesha, with Mughal arches. The palace has a number of jharokhas (hanging balconies) with Mughal ornamentation.

At the entrance of the beautiful Rajwada Palace.

Here at the entrance, as one enters, up ahead is the Ganesha Hall with Mughal arches.

Being directed where to visit the Holkar's museum.

Some corner of the palace.

Very peaceful it was. Not many people around. And there was a lovely breeze blowing.

Beautiful chandeliers in the gallery upstairs.

Beautiful pillars and arches.

Reflections on the floor caught my eye.

Regal.

Here I sat for a long time while Zaara caught a quick nap in my lap.

peaceful sky... embroidered by the birds.

The space outside Rajwada palace.

An old haveli near Rajwada stand in line with commonplace buildings, transformed into an office or something.

This is at Lal Bagh palace, the erstwhile residence of the Holkars. Royalty drips from every corner of this palace. Awesome architecture and interiors. Pity cameras or photography is not allowed inside. Let me give you a glimpse of the palace's grandeur through a picture I have sourced from the Internet (http://www.travelindore.com/story_description.php?s_id=24):

There was a little lift inside the palace. An official informed that the palace did not have a kitchen. Its kitchen was located across the River Khan, on the banks of which the palace was built. There was a tunnel from the palace to the kitchen. The food would come from across the river through this tunnel to the pantry in the palace's basement. Once the food was warmed in the pantry, it was moved up through the lift. Thus, the lift was not for people, but for food! This is perhaps the only 'food lift' I've ever come across in my life!  

This is Zaara and me at the garden of Lal Bagh palace. 

We were sitting along with many mermaids that ornamented the garden :)

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