It was fortunate for us to arrive in Indore, one of the major cities of Madhya Pradesh, right at the end of its summer season. In fact, it was drizzling the day we arrived cooling down the otherwise unbearable heat of the city and giving us a favorable weather to explore around.
Indore is famous for its cuisine, particularly its heavenly sweets. Other than tasty delights, Indore is also known to be the abode of the Holkar dynasty, the monarchy that ruled Indore for almost 3 centuries. The grandeur of this ruling clan remains evident in the historical structures of Indore, one of which is the Rajwada Palace.
It stands right at the center of the city facing the square. It is surrounded by crowded streets where people sell their trades. Rajwada seems to be silently observing the passing of time along with the people that lived in its past and those of now. It is a part of Indore’s rich history and is witnessing the making of more histories. Having survived three incidents of fire, I can see that it struggles to stand firm despite its aging walls and broken floors. But I also feel that its soul, perhaps sometimes blurred by the fast pace of urban life, needs no confirmation on how important it is to those who share its history.
A courtyard decorated with a couple of benches and handful of potted plants welcomes its visitors. The arched windows and columned terraces surround the open space. Its tranquility is a stark contrast from the bustling activities outside. It’s akin to an oasis where people can rest for a while, to escape the human need to constantly move, and to pause and revisit the past. It is in the same structure where the royalty lived, away from the harsh realities of the masses, and where people from all walks of life can now experience for just 10 rupees.
And for that brief moment, I tried to reconnect with the Holkars who built and lived in this visible reminder of India’s majestic past–a past that I am not a part of but steadfastly continuing to the present that I embrace.