A flourishing city in the state of Madhya Pradesh, Indore is placed on the western part of the state, close to the capital city of Bhopal. Being located in the center of the sub-continent, the place is deemed as an important stopover. For many decades, Indore remained as the capital of Holkar dynasty until Rani Ahilyabai Holkar shifted her administrative court to Maheshwar. During the peak of the Mughal Empire, the place was relatively peaceful until the intervention of the Maratha rulers. The royal members of Indore enjoyed the privileges of confirmatory rights given to them by the Mughal rulers such as Aurangzeb, Alamgir and Farukhshayar. During the British rule, the capital of Holkar became a part of the East Indian Company. The futile efforts by the Marathas to resist the English invasion demolished the last Hindu kingdom in the region. The British ruled this area until Indian Independence in 1947. Read the article to know more about the history of Indore.
Rao Nandlal Chaudhary, the zamindar of this region, is believed to be the founder of Indore. According to the legends, once Rao Nandlal was on his way to the Indreshwar Temple, situated close to the banks of the River Saraswathi, when he came across a site that was well protected by natural barriers and looked safe. Impressed by it, he shifted his capital there, erected a citadel, and named it as Indrapur. He erected the Fort Shree Sansthan Bada Rawala to protect his group of followers from the constant raids of the Mughal Emperors. Although the city was named after the Indreshwar temple, it later came to be known as Indore.
With the invasion of the Muslim rule in the continent, just like the rest of the states in northern India, Madhya Pradesh also went through a phase of power struggle. Although there were not many turbulent and gory battles fought between the rulers of this region, there was indeed disharmony among the Mughal and the Maratha kings. During the climax of the Mughal reign in India, Rao Nandlal visited the Delhi Sultan to make peace with him. The Indore landlord is believed to have pleased the Islamic king who gifted him two jewel studded swords. During the peace treaty, the Indore zamindar accepted the confirmatory sanad that also gained him a close acquaintance with the Raja Savai Jai Singh of Jaipur that eventually earned him a place in the Durbars of India. The above events not only earned the respect of the royal members but also led to the formation of influential allies with the rulers of this region. Meanwhile, during 1713, when the Delhi Sultan favored a particular Nizam as the future administer of the Deccan region, further conflicts broke out between the Marathas and the Mughals.
In the year 1733 A.D., Baji Rao Peshwa regained control over Malwa. It was during this time when the Peshwa king honored the Malhar Rao with the title 'Subhedar'. Over the years, the decedents of the Holkar family went by the name of Maratha Maharajas in this region. Thus, historians believe that Malhar Rao is said to have established the Holkar dynasty. He ruled the region as a governor but was also given the control of the Malwa army in the year 1724. Towards the end of his reign in 1766, the Maratha Malwa emerged as an independent kingdom. After his demise, the region was administered by Malhar's daughter-in-law, Ahilyabai Holkar, who managed to keep Malwa away from the ambitious clutches of the British. She controlled the region from 1767 to 1795 from Maheshwar. Ahilyabai Holkar, besides being an able warrior, strategists and an administrator to the people, was also a patron of structural design as seen from the enormous amount of wealth that she contributed towards building many Hindu temples across India.
When India was beginning to feel the dominance of the English rule, the Malwa region also experienced the same. In 1818, the Holkars were overpowered by the British in the third attempt of the Anglo-Maratha War in the Battle of Mahidpur. The defeat in Mahidpur also led to the signing of the treaty of Mandsaur. The truce settlement involved the town of Mhow falling under the British occupied territory. The town of Mhow later became a military base in this region.
After India attained its independence in the year 1947, just like other princely states, Indore was merged with the state of Madhya Pradesh. Indore, today, enjoys the privileges of being Madhya Pradesh's summer capital. During the reorganization of the states in 1956, Bhopal was named as the future capital of the state.