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Culture of Indore

Explre Indore
Indore Culture (Source: Flickr)

The city of Indore, located on the southern edge of the Malwa Plateau, is famous for its multi-ethnic culture. It may not be out of place to mention that it is mainly because of its rich culture Indore has become what it is today. However, it is equally true that the culture is always an outcome of the history as well as geography of the place. Hence, let us first look into that.

The Multi-Ethnic Culture Of Indore Attracts Tourists From all Over The World
Culture of Indore

Apart from that, the city also holds innumerable temples such as Annapurna temple, Bara Ganapati Temple, Crystal Temple. Kanch Mandir, Sai Baba Mandir etc. All these temples reflect the religio-cultural aspect of the city. Indeed, the city’s religious heritage is older than the city itself. It is said that, the name Indore is derived from the temple of Indreshwar, established long before Malwa Rao Nandla Choudhury chose this spot to erect the fort of Shree Sansthan Bada Rawala. 

Sai Mandir in Indore
Sai Mandir in Indore

Situated in the confluence of two rivers Saraswati and Khan, both of which are tributaries of the River Shipra, the city can trace its root back to the sixteenth century. At that time, it was trading hub lying not only between the Deccan and Delhi, but also between important pilgrimage centers such as the Mahakaleshwar at Ujjain, Omkareshwar on river Narmada and Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu. For the Maratha soldiers too, it was a natural resting place and so to meet the need of the travelers a trading center began to develop over here.

People of Indore
Pub and Bar Culture

However, that as only one aspect of the city’s culture. Indore is actually a multidimensional city. Its influence on the art, fashion, research, technology, media or entertainment is of no less significant either. What is more, the city being the seat of Holkars, is full of architectural wonders. Let us have a look at some of them:

  1.  Lal Bagh Palace is said to be the ancestral palace of the Holkar dynasty; it reflects the lifestyle the erstwhile rulers of Indore. Moreover, the palace is said to host the grandest rose garden in the country.

  2. Rajwada Palace, built by the Holkars, represents the Maratha, Mughal and French style of architecture. It is seven storeys high; but unfortunately only the facade remains to tell us the tale of another era.

  3. Chhatri Baug is actually a cenotaph built in the memory of Holkar rulers. It represents the best of Maratha architect as well as sculpture.

  4. The Mahatma Gandhi Hall built in the Indo-Gothic style from Seoni stones is a more recent building built in 1904; yet visit to the hall is a must for those who want to feel the culture of Indore in all its glory.

  5. The Central museum too is important for people interested in the rich culture Indore is so proud of. It has the finest collection of Parmar sculpture as well as arms and armours of the bygone era. Its collection of coins too is worth a visit.

The Multidimensional Culture of Indore

It is a historical fact that, Indore had to face onslaughts from different warring groups quite frequently. However, this had a positive side too. The people of the area came in contact with outsiders from the very beginning. Its geographical position too contributed to this factor to a large extent.

However, the upshot is that multi-ethnicity is a way of life here and this has been reflected in city’s art and craft, food habits and even in languages spoken by the people. Let us take them one by one.

Art and Craft of Indore

Although the art and craft of Indore is greatly influenced by the neighbouring states, the artisan of Indore has also contributed to develop a unique style. Let us next take a look into that :

Art and Craft of Indore
Art and Craft

  1. Hand-block printing is the most important craft of Indore. Mostly natural dyes are used in the printing process and hence the colour does not easily fade. Other than that, Bandhni (or Bandhej) and Batik are two other popular crafts of Indore. Batik printed sarees, dress materials, lungis, dupattas, bedsheets etc are very popular all over the country.

  2. Handicrafts made out of jute are also very popular in Indore. Items such as hanging lamps, baskets, flower vases, swings, hammocks, purses, table mats, footwear are very popular among the connoisseurs.

  3. Zari work in Indore originated almost 300 years ago. Apart from sarees, such works are available on other items such as purses, bags, tea-cozies and jutties.

  4. Making shoes and jutties out of leather has always been a part of art and craft of Indore. Today however, modern items such as leather clothing and stuffed toys have also been added to the list.

Culinary Culture of Indore

The cuisine of Indore is as attractive as the land itself and reflects the mixed culture of the region. Different types of Namkeen are its specialty. However, the city is equally famous for its sweets such as Moong Ki Halwa, Gajar Ki Halwa, Bengali Sweets etc. Shikhnji, Lassi, Santrola etc too have made their own space along with typical Malwa dishes such as Dal-Bafla, Nihari Gosht and Poha in the culinary culture of Indore.

Linguistic Culture of Indore

Just as the cuisine, its languages too reflect the multi ethnicity of the region. Although the official language of Indore is Hindi, Marathi is spoken by a large number of residents. Other than that, Gujarati, Punjabi, Rajasthani, Bundelkhandi, Malawi and Chattisgarhi are some other important language spoken by people of Indore.

Festivities of Indore

Fetivals in Indore

Almost all national festivals are celebrated here with gaiety. However, Holi, Nag Panchmi, Rakhi, Rang Panchmi, Annat Choudas, Ahilya Utsab, Ganesh Utsab, Navratri, Dussehra and Diwali are some of the festivals, which are dearer to the people of Indore.

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