Route & Distance: Indore—56 km/1 hr 15 min—Ujjain—177 km/4 hrs (via Barnagar and Rajgarh)—Bagh—90 km/2 hrs (via Rajgarh)—Dhar—36 km/1 hrs—Mandu94 km/2 hrs—Indore.

Day 1 UJJAIN

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Indore Ghantaghar: Indore’s iconic Gandhi Hall is an Indo-Gothic building constructed in 1904 and originally called King Edward Hall
Indore Ghantaghar: Indore’s iconic Gandhi Hall is an Indo-Gothic building constructed in 1904 and originally called King Edward Hall

Depart Indore early and drive north to Ujjain, a city of ghats and temples, on the banks of the holy Kshipra River. The celebrated jyotirlinga at Mahakaleshwar temple is famous for its 4 a.m. bhasmarti (showering the linga with ash), and often has people queuing up hours earlier. Kalbhairav Mandir is that curious place where alcohol is offered to the lord. Mangalnath Temple is considered the birthplace of the red planet Mangal (Mars), who is worshipped with red objects (red cloth, red grain).

Grab a typical Malwa lunch of dal-bafla at Shahi Palace near Mangalnath.

Attend the evening arti at the ghats and marvel at the giant burning lamps of the Harsiddhi temple nearby.

Overnight at a city hotel, or a homestay like Trolet Inn.

Day 2 BAGH

Depart Ujjain by 8 a.m. to get to the 5-7th century Bagh Caves by noon. Supported by gigantic pillars, the dimly lit Buddhist rock-cut caves have chaityas (prayer halls), a few Buddhist figures in dark recesses, and some frescoes. Much of the art has been moved to a museum nearby. At Bagh Print workshop, learn about local alizari block printing and the world-renowned Bagh print from master craftsmen. Leave Bagh with enough daylight for the two-hour drive to Dhar. Overnight at Jhira Bagh Palace, a renovated heritage hotel, with a museum and vintage car collection.

Day 3 DHAR

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Though Dhar Fort is practically a ruin, the narrow, winding path to it is worth the climb for fantastic views from Kharbooja Mahal, a palace named after its melon-shaped domes
Though Dhar Fort is practically a ruin, the narrow, winding path to it is worth the climb for fantastic views from Kharbooja Mahal, a palace named after its melon-shaped domes

Drive up a narrow winding path to explore lofty Dhar Fort, savouring fantastic views from Kharbooja Mahal, with its melon-shaped domes. In Dhar town, visit the royal chhatris (cenotaphs), the Lat Masjid, Bhojshala (a contested 11th-century site), and around it the Chishti dargah Kamal Maula.

Then drive to Mandu, ascending hill tracts and passing gateways before entering the medieval capital of Malwa. Overnight at Malwa Retreat or Malwa Resort.

Day 4 MANDU

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Travellers relive history in the stepwells of Mandu’s Jahaz Mahal
Travellers relive history in the stepwells of Mandu’s Jahaz Mahal

Mandu’s monuments are strewn across three broad clusters. Start at the furthest point—Baz Bahadur’s Palace and the mist-laden Rani Roopmati’s Pavilion. The magnificent Jahaz Mahal where Ghiyas-ud-din Khilji housed a harem of 15,000 women is a large royal complex of palaces, while Ashrafi Mahal, Jama Masjid, and the tomb of Hoshang Shah are at the main square.

Late evening, drive to Indore, and straight to Chhappan Dukan or Sarafa Bazaar to experience the city’s famous street food.

As the jewellery market transforms into a massive food court, the residents of Indore gather to savour their favourites at Sarafa Bazaar
As the jewellery market transforms into a massive food court, the residents of Indore gather to savour their favourites at Sarafa Bazaar

THE INFORMATION

Ujjain

Trolet Inn
7/64, University Road, Ingle Compound
Tel: +91 98265 93004

Dhar
Jhira Bagh Palace
Mandu Road
Tel: +91 73125 56183, 98260 33801
Email jhiraplc@gmail.com
www.jhirapalace.com

Mandu
Malwa Retreat
Main Road
Tel: 07292-263221
Email meretreatm@mptourism.com

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