The Erstwhile Holkar State 

Indore is centred around the erstwhile Kingdom of Holkar and is famous for the historical palace – the Rajwada Palace. The city is a perfect blend of age-old traditions and is reminiscent of the rich Maratha culture and style it once had. The Rajwada, located in the Heart of the main city, is a lavishly ornate structure that is a relic of the long rule of Holkars in Indore. The Holkars were powerful subsidiaries of the Maratha Empire. The Holkars were initially generals during Peshwa Baji Rao I’s time but eventually became the rulers of Indore as an important, yet independent part of the Marathas. The Holkar Empire was founded by Malhar Rao Holkar.

Astounding Art and Architecture 

The Rajwada Palace was built in 1747 A.D by Shrimant Subedar Malhar Rao Holkar and is undoubtedly, one of the most spectacular landmarks in Indore. The palace was constructed by Muslim artisans from Mandu, some of the finest available at the time.

Rajwada is a grand old name that continues to capture the imagination of visitors, most of who are in awe with its architecture & intricate details. Some of the defining features of this seven-storied structure are the lavish, imperial and fusion blend of Maratha, Mughal and French architecture, which serves as the living example of the grandeur of the Holkars. While the Southern part of the palace showcases Maratha architecture, the Eastern side of it has a European influence.

It is just impossible to miss the Maratha influence on the Rajwada palace architecture that repeats itself at every nook and corner.  The main entrance of the palace has a beautiful archway that is guarded by a thick, resilient wooden gate with iron studs which leads to a Mughal-style Ganesh hall and into a Maratha style courtyard lined by a large number of balconies, windows and corridors. 

After going past the magnificent architecture, you now make way to Devi Ahilyabaisaheb Holkar throne, which was artistically developed in the French style. The façade of the structure leads to three stone-made lower and wooden upper stories that give you a spectacular view of the palace premises. The fort faces a beautiful garden with fountains, an artificial waterfall and some amazing sculptures amidst which is the enchanting Rajwada Malhari Mandir. This palace-fort was used by the Great Holkars for residential purposes, holding durbars & state ceremonies. 

Twice before, and the last fire which broke out in 1984 due to riots had resulted in the destruction of the structure. However, the palace structure was later renovated by H. H. Ushadevi Holkar, the Maharani of Indore, bringing back all the splendid and enchanting appeal to it. The reconstruction was done with much perfection and carefully restored this historical monument to its past grandeur.

The facade of the place reflects its grandeur and reveals the magnificence of this fort and the dynasty in the past, which is breathtaking and stands today as a mute witness to the bygone splendour of Royal Holkars for the visitors. 

Featured Image Source: Pixabay
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About the author

Dr.Nikita Pawar is a General Practitioner by profession and has completed her (MBBS PGDCR). She has previously worked in GMC Hospital Dubai & is currently attached to a hospital, corporate company and Clinics in Mumbai. She is passionate about medical article writing and always strives to maintain commitment towards achieving professional growth as she transitions from one phase of her career to the next.



  • Dr.Pradeep Biwalkar May 7, 2020 at 5:38 pm

    nicely written resume of Holkars ‘ era. Few more lines about Ahilyabai’s able rule needed. Keep it up.

  • Dr. Kanchan Gadkari May 8, 2020 at 6:14 am

    It is always interesting to know about our history and heroes in it and their lifestyle. .. A good concise overview.



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