I. A native state of India, constituting the dominions of the Mahratta chief, the maharajah Holkar, and consisting of several isolated tracts scattered over a large part of central India; aggregate area, 8,318 sq. m.; pop. about 850,000. It is bounded S. and W. by Dhar and the territory of the Bombay presidency, and N. and E. by Sindia and the rajah-ship of Dewass. It is traversed E. and W. by the Vindhya mountains, and the Satpoora range runs in the same direction along its S. border. The valley between these ridges is watered by the Nerbudda flowing W. The N. part of this tract, and most of the other portions of Hol-kar's territory, belong to the great table land of Malwah. The N. districts are watered by the Chumbul and its feeders. The soil is generally fertile, producing wheat and other grain, opium, pulse, sugar cane, cotton, and tobacco. The inhabitants comprise Mahrattas, the dominant race, Bheels, Gonds, and a few Mohammedans. The Bheels are supposed to be the aborigines. The Gonds or Khoonds are numerous in all this part of India, and have given their name to the region of Gondwana, which extends S. from Indore. (See Bheels, Gonds, and Mahrattas.) Like all states in subsidiary alliance with the British government, Indore is occupied by British forces, which protect it against invasion, and maintain the authority of the maharajah.
The British government receives in return an annual subsidy, which may be paid, if preferred, by cession of territory, and reserves the right of interference in cases of bad government on the part of the native chief. - In 1733 the town and district of Indore were given by the peishwa to Mulhar Row (or Rao) Holkar, a Mahratta leader, born a shepherd, who had risen by his courage and talents as a soldier. He died in 1766, and was succeeded by a grandson, who soon died insane, leaving the sovereignty to his mother, Alia Baee, who retained it for 30 years. In 1797 the commander of her forces,Tookajee Holkar, died, and his illegitimate son, Jeswunt Row Holkar, seized the government. He was expelled by the Sindia* family, but reinstated himself in 1802. He inaugurated an extensive system of plunder, for which the British authorities made war on him. He advanced on Delhi at the head of 60,000 horse, but was defeated by Lord Lake in two engagements. In 1805 he entered the Punjaub with a new army, but was closely followed by Lake, and in December concluded a treaty which left him in possession of nearly all his dominions.
He died insane in 1811, and his mistress Toolsee Bye acted as regent for Mulhar Row Holkar, his natural son by another woman, until she was murdered in 1817, and young Mulhar was seized by the army, which, ostensibly under his command, began hostilities against the British. After a decisive battle at Mahidpoor, Dec. 21, 1817, a treaty was signed in January, 1818, by which the Mahrattas ceded a large part of their territory and retained the rest under British protection. Mulhar Row died in 1833; his successor, Mar-tund Row, was dethroned to make room for Hurree Row, an imbecile prince, who left the government to his adopted son Kumdee; and when the last named died without heirs, the East India company assumed the right of nominating as his successor Mulkerjee Row Holkar, who took the reins of government in February, 1852. At the outbreak of the mutiny in 1857 he attempted to take the field for the British; but many of his troops deserted, and the remainder held him a prisoner in his palace and massacred a large number of Europeans. II. A town, capital of the state, situated in a plain on the left bank of the small river Kutki, 13 m.
N. W. of the British military station of Mhow, and 317 m. 1ST. E. of Bombay; pop. about 15,000. It is an ill-built place, contains a few mosques, several Hindoo temples, and the palace of Holkar, and has no handsome edifices except the houses of the English inhabitants. The palace, of granite, which fronts on an open place, is over 300 ft. square and six stories high, enclosing a court surrounded by pillars of black wood. Its style of architecture is impure Saracenic. The town is walled, but its defences are of no great strength. There is a British resident here. The present town is comparatively modern, the ancient Indore being on the opposite side of the river. Indore was plundered in 1801 by Sindia, and in 1804 it was occupied by a British force under Col. Murray, who surrendered it on the conclusion of peace in the following year.