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The Best Things to Do in Indore: 1-Day Itinerary

In January 2024, my boyfriend, Tim, and I spent two weeks in India and the United Arab Emirates and visited Indore as part of our India tour.

This post focuses on what we did during our first day in Indore (the other days we were in Indore were spent at our friend Divya’s wedding!), some of the best things to do in Indore, how to get to Indore, where to stay in Indore, and more.

Table of Contents

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    An Intro to Indore

    walking around Indore India

    Founded on the banks of the Kanh and Saraswati rivers in the 16th century, Indore once served as a trading hub between the Deccan Plateau and Delhi. It came under the Maratha Empire in the 1700s and was given a rare, high rank during the days of the British Raj. Indore also served as the capital of the Madhya Bharat in the first half of the 1950s.

    Today, Indore is the largest and most populous city in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh and has consistently been ranked the cleanest city in India. Indore has a population of more than two million and is one of the fastest-growing cities in India.

    Indore serves as both the commercial capital and a prominent educational hub for Madhya Pradesh state and has a significant presence in IT, pharmaceuticals, textiles, and manufacturing. It’s also home to various prestigious institutions like the Indian Institute of Management Indore, the Indian Institute of Technology Indore, and Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya.

    Known for its rich cultural heritage, magnificent palaces and temples, bustling night markets, diverse and delicious street food, and more, Indore is an excellent city to add to your India tour.

    How to Get to Indore

    We visited Indore after spending four days on a luxury Golden Triangle tour to Agra and Jaipur that ended in Delhi, and there are several ways to get from Delhi to Indore.

    By Air: The fastest and easiest way to get from Delhi to Indore is by plane. We took a 1.5-hour flight from Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi to Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar Airport in Indore. This cost us around $55 per person.

    By Train: Another option is taking the train from the New Delhi Railway Station to Indore Junction BG, the main railway station in Indore. Several trains run between Delhi and Indore, including the prestigious Duronto Express and the Intercity Express, and the journey takes between 10 to 15 hours.

    By Bus: There are also several bus services between Delhi and Indore, and the journey typically takes between 14 to 16 hours, depending on traffic.

    By Car: Finally, you could opt for a road trip from Delhi to Indore. Similar to taking the bus, the journey will take you between 14 to 16 hours, depending on traffic. The most common route is via NH48, along which you’ll pass through cities like Jaipur and Kota.

    Where to Stay in Indore

    Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar Airport in Indore

    Indore offers a wide range of hotels that suit different budgets and preferences. Here are some popular areas to consider when deciding where to stay in Indore:

    Vijay Nagar: This area is popular among travelers due to its proximity to commercial centers, malls, and restaurants. Here, you’ll find a variety of hotels ranging from budget to mid-range and luxury options.

    Mahatma Gandhi (MG) Road: MG Road is a bustling area, known for its shopping streets, markets, and restaurants. It offers a mix of budget hotels, guesthouses, and boutique hotels.

    Old Indore: If you’re interested in exploring some of the city’s historical landmarks—which you probably are if you’re reading this itinerary!—staying in Old Indore is a great option. Here, you’ll find heritage hotels and guesthouses with lots of traditional charm.

    Near the Airport: If you’re only in Indore for a short visit and would prefer to be close to Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar Airport, areas like Shivaji Nagar and Rau might be best for you.

    Corporate Areas: For business travelers, areas like A.B. Road and RNT Marg are popular due to their proximity to corporate offices and commercial centers. These areas offer a mix of business hotels and upscale accommodations.

    Resorts: If you’re looking for a more luxurious stay, you could consider one of the resorts located on the outskirts of the city. These offer amenities like swimming pools, lush gardens, spa facilities, and fancy restaurants.

    We stayed at the Hotel Shreemaya Residency, a 5-star hotel on A.B. Road near the Press Complex and Malhar Mega Mall. Divya’s family graciously covered our stay here, so I don’t have any details about the cost, but you can check their website for more details.

    Indore, India Weather

    bats outside of Laal Bagh Palace

    We visited Indore in January, which is considered winter in India and is a great time to explore Indore!

    Winter in Indore is cool and dry, and temperatures in January range from around 46°F to 77°F. Days are usually pleasant with clear skies, while mornings can be foggy, and nights are typically chilly.

    What to Wear in Indore

    Sara inside Rajwada Palace

    In case you wanted to shop my Indore look, here’s what I was wearing during our first day in Indore:

    Other things I wore during the rest of our time in Indore include:

    1-Day Indore Itinerary

    Sara & Tim in front of Annapurna Temple

    For our first day in Indore, Divya’s cousins took turns driving us around to see some of the main sights across the city! Here’s the 1-day itinerary we followed:

    Khajrana Temple

    Khajarana Temple, one of the best things to do in Indore India

    Situated in the Khajrana area of Indore, Khajrana Temple is a Hindu temple complex that’s dedicated to Lord Ganesha. It was built in 1735 by Maharani Ahilyabai Holkar of the Holkar Dynasty and is one of the most famous Hindu temples in India.

    It’s said that the brave Maratha queen retrieved the idol of Lord Ganesha from a well, where it’d been hidden from Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.

    Now, devotees come, mostly on Wednesdays and Sundays, to offer prayers, to circle around the temple, and to tie a thread to pray to Lord Ganesha for the successful completion of their work.

    It’s a local belief that once a devotee worships in this temple, their wishes will be fulfilled.

    We were treated so kindly and felt right at home here. Be sure to add Khajrana Temple to your 1-day Indore itinerary.

    • Hours: Daily from 5:00 am – 11:00 pm
    • Time to Visit: 30 minutes
    • Cost: Free + Rs 5-10 if someone watches over your shoes

    Lal Bagh Palace

    Laal Bagh Palace, a must-see attraction in Indore India

    Lal Bagh Palace is a stately 19th-century palace that was once home to the Holkar Dynasty, one of the prominent Maratha families.

    Characterized by a blend of Indian and European architectural styles, the 45-room palace is an excellent example of Indo-Saracenic architecture and serves as a testament to the grandeur and opulence of the Holkar Dynasty.

    The palace’s main gates were modeled after those at Buckingham Palace, and the interiors are adorned with Italian frescoes, grand chandeliers, rich Persian carpets, ornamental moldings, and exquisite stained glass. 

    Spread across 76 acres, lush, meticulously landscaped gardens, reminiscent of the gardens in Versailles, surround the palace and feature beautiful fountains, manicured lawns, and colorful flower beds.

    After the last members of the family moved out, the palace fell into disrepair and became prone to theft. The government acquired the property in 1987, and now, the palace serves as a museum, offering a glimpse into the lives of the Holkar rulers with displays of royal artifacts, antique furniture, paintings, sculptures, weapons, and coins.

    Lal Bagh Palace is a must-see for first-time visitors to Indore. Visitors can explore the palace interiors and stroll through the gardens, all while learning about the fascinating history of the Holkar Dynasty.

    • Hours: Daily from 10:15 am – 5:00 pm (closed on Mondays & public holidays)
    • Time to Visit: 30 minutes – 1 hour
    • Cost: Rs 20 for Indian visitors & Rs 400 for foreign nationals

    Annapurna Temple

    Annapurna Temple, another one of the best things to do in Indore India

    Located in the heart of Indore city, Annapurna Temple is a renowned Hindu temple and an important religious and cultural landmark in Indore. 

    It resembles the famous Meenakshi Temple in Madurai and is dedicated to the goddess Annapurna, the goddess of food and nourishment in Hindu mythology. Devotees who worship the goddess are said to receive blessings of abundance, prosperity, and sustenance.

    intricately carved designs at Annapurna Temple

    Annapurna Temple is not only a place of worship but also a popular tourist attraction in Indore. Visitors come to see the beautiful architecture, to participate in religious rituals, and to experience a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city.

    The temple showcases traditional Hindu temple architecture with intricate carvings, ornate sculptures, and vibrant paintings. The main entrance is adorned with four life-size elephant statues, and inside, there are shrines to Goddess Annapurna, Hanuman, Shiva, Kalabhairava, and others. 

    the ceiling at Annapurna Temple

    Annapurna Temple is another must-see for any first time visitors to Indore, so be sure to include it on your 1-day Indore itinerary!

    • Hours: Daily from 5:00 am – 12:00 pm & 2:00 pm – 10:00 pm
    • Time to Visit: 30 minutes
    • Cost: Free + Rs 5-10 if someone watches over your shoes

    Kanch Mandir

    Built by Sir Seth Hukumchand Jain, Kanch Mandir, i.e. the “Temple of Glass” is a famous Jain temple, lavishly adorned with glass mosaics and chandeliers

    Although small, Kanch Mandir is a glorious sight to behold. The exterior was built as a medieval mansion, complete with a canopied balcony and a shikhara, but the interior is what draws locals and tourists alike.

    Inside, the floor, walls, doors, columns, windows, and ceilings are completely covered in glass from Belgium. Skilled craftsmen from Jaipur and Iran followed the old, medieval Jain style, adding modern touches with multicolored glass and mirrors.

    The temple is one of several Kanch Mandirs in India and is an absolute must-see in Indore, especially if you’ve never seen one before. This was our favorite stop of the day! Note that you’re not allowed to take photos inside, so you’ll just have to go see this one for yourself.

    • Hours: Daily from 5:00 am – 12:00 pm & 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm
    • Time to Visit: 15 minutes
    • Cost: Free


    the statue of Gomateshwara at Gomatgiri, another one of the best things to do in Indore, India

    Located just a few miles from Indore airport and set atop a hill, Gomatgiri is a beautiful Jain temple known for its 21-foot statue of Gomateshwara. The statue is said to be a replica of the Bahubali statue in Shravanabelagola.

    Gomatgiri houses 24 marble temples dedicated to the 24 Tirthankaras and is one of the most popular religious attractions in Indore for devotees of the Jain religion.

    The best time to visit Gomatgiri is either as soon as you arrive at Indore airport or when you’re leaving Indore, or for sunrise or sunset.

    • Hours: Daily from 6:00 am – 12:00 pm & 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm
    • Time to Visit: 30 minutes
    • Cost: Free

    Pitreshwar Hanuman Mandir

    Pitreshwar Hanuman Mandir, a must-see in Indore, India

    A short drive from Gomatgiri, Pitreshwar Hanuman Mandir is a Hindu temple that’s home to the tallest sitting Hanuman Ji statue in all of India. The gold-plated statue is more than 70-feet-tall and weighs more than 100 tons—wow!

    If you can, plan your visit for the evening when the lighting is especially beautiful.

    • Hours: Daily from 9:00 am – 11:30 pm
    • Time to Visit: 15 minutes
    • Cost: Free

    Rajwada Palace

    Rajwada Palace, one of the best things to do in Indore India

    Situated near Lal Bagh Palace in Old Indore, Rajwada Palace is another grand, 18th-century palace complex built by the Holkar Dynasty. And, a visit to Rajwada Palace is another one of the best things to do in Indore!

    Construction of Rajwada Palace, also known as the Holkar Palace or Old Palace, was started in 1747, making it one of the oldest structures in Indore.

    The seven-storeyed palace is made of stone and wood and features intricate carvings, grand archways, and glorious pillars, in a stunning fusion of Maratha, European and Mughal styles.

    Unfortunately, the palace has sustained damage from multiple fires throughout its history, and only the façade of the original palace remains. 

    Apart from its stunning architecture, Rajwada Palace also offers a glimpse into the traditional Maratha lifestyle, as it once served as the residence of the Holkar rulers.

    Now, the palace houses a museum that showcases various artifacts, paintings, weapons, and sculptures and is the site of various cultural events and festivals. 

    • Hours: Daily from 10:00 am –  5:00 pm
    • Time to Visit: 1 hour
    • Cost: Rs 10

    Sarafa Bazar

    Nestled in the heart of Indore on the streets behind Rajwada Palace, Sarafa Bazar is a vibrant and bustling jewelry market during the day. At night, it transforms into an open-air, street food market and foodie paradise, with more than 25 stalls serving mouthwatering, local delicacies.

    Indore is known for its food scene, and Sarafa Bazar is one of the best street food markets in India. People from all over the country and the world come to Sarafa Bazar to try Indian street food.

    the group at Sarafa Bazar in Indore

    We were lucky enough to visit Sarafa Bazar with some locals from Indore, and they picked out lots of yummy foods and desserts for us to try. From the iconic Indori Poha, crispy Jalebi, and spicy Bhutte Ka Kees to mouth-watering chaats and sweets, Sarafa Bazar has something for everyone.

    A visit to Sarafa Bazar is one of the best things to do in Indore at night, and it stays open late, so you can add this to the end of your 1-day Indore itinerary!

    • Hours: Daily from 11:00 am – 8:00 pm for the jewelry market & 9:00 pm – 2:00 am for the street food market
    • Time to Visit: 1-2 hours
    • Cost: Free, except for any purchases you make

    Other Things to Do in Indore

    Sara at Rajwada Palace

    Of course, one day isn’t nearly enough time to see everything in Indore. If we ever make it back here again, here are some other things we’d like to do in or near Indore:

    • Day trip to Mandu – a historical fortress town that encloses breathtaking temples, mosques, and palaces
    • Pipliyapala Regional Park – a pretty green space full of bridges, fountains, canals, and gardens
    • Mahatma Gandhi Town Hall – a historic landmark with gilded moldings, frescoed ceilings, and a clock tower
    • Indore White Church – one of the oldest churches in central India that’s adorned with stunning, split-level facades and spires, topped by a red-tiled roof
    • Indore Central Museum – a popular museum with one of the best collections of medieval and pre-medieval Hindu and Jain sculptures in Madhya Pradesh state

    Travel Tips for Indore

    Sara & Tim at a Haldi ceremony in Indore

    As with any international travel, you’ll want to be prepared for your trip to Indore. Be sure to follow these India travel tips before and during your visit to Indore (and India in general).

    Have you been to Indore, India? What would you add to this itinerary?

    P.S. check back soon, as I’ll be sharing more about our time in Indore and everything we did for Divya’s wedding!

    XOXO Sara at Travel A-Broads

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    1 month ago

    What are the popular things to explore in Indore? The most loved tourist places to explore in Indore are Jogi Bhadak Waterfalls, Chidiya Badhak Falls and Chhatri Bagh.