Indore's Phooti Kothi: A Forgotten Holkar Gem

Indore's Phooti Kothi: A Forgotten Holkar Gem

Located near Sudama Nagar, this Kothi is often considered haunted by many today. However, understanding its history reveals a story of resistance and ambition from the era of the Holkars in Indore.

Staff ReporterUpdated: Monday, May 27, 2024, 08:31 AM IST
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Indore's Phooti Kothi: A Forgotten Holkar Gem | FP Photo

Indore (Madhya Pradesh): Phooti Kothi, as the name suggests, unlike other Holkar buildings in the city, is renowned for its incomplete state and the mysterious talesáthat surround it. Located near Sudama Nagar, this Kothi is often considered haunted by many today. However, understanding its history reveals a story of resistance and ambition from the era of the Holkars in Indore.

(With inputs from Aastha Nair)

According to a renowned historian Dr Jagdish Chandra Upadhyaya, Phooti Kothi' s story begins with the establishment of the Mhow Cantonment by Sir John Malcolm in 1818 after the British East India Company defeated the Holkars in the historic Battle of Mahidpur in 1817 and signed the Treaty of Mandsaur. Mhow's central location made it a crucial acquisition for the British, providing easy access to Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Southern India.

Maharaja Shivaji Rao Holkar, who ascended the throne in 1886, was deeply displeased by the British dominance. By the late 19th century, he initiated the construction of a massive three-story structure, with plans to place cannons on the third floor, capable of targeting the Mhow Cantonment 19 kilometres away.

However, British authorities, upon learning of this plan, ensured thatáits construction was halted. The Kothi was left unfinished and came to be known as Phooti Kothi. The architecture of Phooti Kothi is a fascinating blend of Indo-Saracenic and Indo-Gothic styles, as noted by researcher Madhuri Modi. The building's pillars are a blend of Indian and European architectural elements, adorned with intricate floral patterns.

The structure's magnificence is evident from the size of its pillars and the use of polished red sandstone. The remaining red sandstone from Phooti Kothi was subsequently utilised in constructing other significant buildings in Indore, such as the SBI building at Rajwada, King Edward Hall (now Gandhi Hall), and Topkhana.

Phooti Kothi's incomplete status has given rise to various local myths. A popular one suggests that attempts to rebuild its doors were mysteriously thwarted by strong winds. However, these supernatural claims are unsubstantiated. Today, Phooti Kothi stands as a historical monument with its distinctive charm.

The first floor features the "Shri Ram Janki Darbar," a notable structure visible from afar. Beside the Kothi, thereáis a cow shelter and the Pukhraj Palace Marriage Garden. The ground floor contains 18 temples. Although the public can visit the site foráfree, certain hallways and rooms are off-limits.

Despite the various stories and the building's incomplete status, Phooti Kothiácontinues to attract tourists. Its allure lies not just in its architectural grandeur but also in Maharaja Shivaji Rao Holkar's defiance of British dominance. Whether viewed as a historical mystery or a site of supernatural intrigue Phooti Kothi remains a fascinating chapter in the rich heritage of Indore.

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