Planned and built by Rani Ahilyabai, the brave Holkar queen, Indore lies to the extreme west of Madhya Pradesh on the banks of the rivers Saraswati and Khan which unite at the centre of the city. The bustling and vibrant city, 186 km from Bhopal, derives its name from the 18th century Indreshwar temple.
The history of Indore is inseparable from the history of the Holkar State. The founder of the House of Holkars was Malhar Rao Holkar, born in 1693 AD. His soldierly qualities brought him to the forefront under the Peshwa and he was rewarded with the gift of territories comprising the Indore region. Malhar Rao was succeeded by his grandson, on whose death, without issue, his mother, Maharani Devi Ahilya Bai ascended the throne.
Ahilya Bai was one of the foremost Maratha personalities and an extraordinary woman ruler of India. Her cherished desire was to promote the prosperity of the region and its people. She was the rare Indian royalty who was deified in her lifetime.
Though Ahilya Bai loved Indore immensly, it was only after her death that the State capital was shifted from Maheshwar to Indore in 1811 AD. Today, her statue adorns the centre of the city, Rajwada. Indore continued to be the State capital until the formation of Madhya Bharat State in 1948.