Chappan Dukan, Indore

Indore – the cleanest city in India and much more

Why is Indore famous?

The largest city of Madhya Pradesh, the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh, 5 times the cleanest city in India, extremely out-going and foodie city, Indore has many feathers in its cap. Did I miss anything? I had the opportunity to spend a couple of weeks in Indore and found a special connection. So I tried to figure out what makes Indore stand out from the rest of the cities that I have been to.

A little background

Indore traces its roots to its 16th-century founding as a trading hub between the Deccan and Delhi. Gupta inscriptions name Indore as ‘Indrapura’. Later, the city and its surroundings came under Maratha Empire under Peshwa Baji Rao I. He granted Holkar State by merging 28 and one-half Parganas to Malhar Rao Holkar, the founding ruler of the Holkar dynasty. His daughter-in-law Ahilyabai Holkar moved the state’s capital to Maheshwar in 1767, but Indore remained an important commercial and military center. After India’s independence in 1947, Holkar State, along with several neighboring princely states, acceded to the Indian Union. In 1948, with the formation of Madhya Bharat, Indore became the summer capital of the new state. On 1 November 1956, when Madhya Bharat was renamed/merged into Madhya Pradesh, the state capital was shifted to Bhopal. And Indore transformed into the modern dynamic commercial capital of the state. (from Wikipedia)

A city for foodies

If you consider yourself a foodie, Indore is the city for you. There are historical streets for breakfast and evening snacks. Chhappan Dukan and Sarafa are just some of the prominent names. These streets are crowded every evening, irrespective of weekends or weekdays. Even if you buy a samosa from a regular shop in Indore, they will add 5 other chutneys and sev (small pieces of crunchy noodles made from chickpea flour paste) and elevate its taste and look to a whole new level. Poha-jalebi is a must in Indore. It is the go-to breakfast for any traditional Indore family. Apart from this numerous types of Pakodas (Bason soaked deep fried veggies like onion, potato, cabbage, etc. ) are available in every corner of the city. And I have seen people more particular about the kind or style of snacks they want like Indories.

Chhappan Dukan

The most talked about food street in India is Chhappan Dukan. Historically a street with 56 shops is now commercialized and advertised as a food paradise in India. And believe me, they are not exaggerating. From traditional Poa Bhaji to fusion Dosa, Egg benjo – British bread-omelet dressed with Indori haari (mint) chutney and ketchup, Dabeli – each item is better than the next one. Almost every item is prepared in front of you. As the chefs slather buns with butter, roll multiple layers of batter for the crispiest dosas, watch patties turn from creamy white to a golden brown, and watch hundreds of pakodas come out of the pan at once, the experience is going to satisfy your foodie soul. Is this it? Not yet.

Chappan dukan is not done without you trying the Kulfi faluda or Shikanji (Condensed milk)


The street of Sarafa is a jewelry market at day time. But as soon as the sun is set, the foodies take over. The narrow streets give it an authentic touch, yet the variety and creativity in taste and presentation are unparallel. One piece of advice, go in a group of at least 4-5 people, order one item from the stalls you like, and just taste. The streets of Sarafa has so much to offer that it was not possible for me to taste everything I wished in one go. And only vegetarian food is available here.

The cleanest city in India

Indore has set the record of winning the title of the cleanest city in India every year since 2017 – a huge achievement I would say. And there is no chance Indore people will pass up the opportunity to flaunt it. Indore has achieved this using strict waste management policies. Every morning municipality vehicles would come to collect the waste. Every house divides its waste into 3-4 different buckets for recycling.

Rajwada Palace 

The royal Rajwada palace is the symbol of Indore’s rich history and pride for two hundred years. Sitting at the heart of the city, its architecture is of the Maratha period & style. Planned with courtyards suited to tropical climes the Maratha architecture is known for its simplicity, visible visual logic & austere aesthetic, made rich by beautiful detailing, rhythm & repetition. The aisles & arcades, punctured by delicate niches, doors & windows create a space in which articulation of open, semi-open & covered areas is effortless and enchanting.

People are good-looking, polite, and particular about their taste

I have been to many cities in India. And I think Indories are the most good-looking people. The average people in Indore are tall, lean structure with decent dressing sense and use a sarcastic tone in their conversations. Whoever I spoke with they were polite to me. But they are very particular about their food. Each would have a fixed shop for their favorite breakfast and evening snacks, and when asked they would give you a detailed explanation for their choice. One more thing I observed is they are very proud of Indore, be it the cleanest city in India or the food streets. I find this sense of comradery or the pride of belonging to the hometown is very rare in the major cities of India.

Culture and Rajputana Connection

Though ruled by Marathas and Holkar for a very long time I feel the city has a deeper cultural connection with the Rajputs from Rajasthan. The Maratha states such as Gwalior, Indore, and Dhar inherited the legacy left by older Rajput dynasties and the city has maintained this connection. Their food habits and dialect proudly conserve this heritage.

If you get a chance, indulge your inner foodie and visit Indore.

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