Dhar, Madhya Pradesh

Geography of Dhar, Madhya Pradesh

The district of Dhar lays in the Malwa region of west Madhya Pradesh in central India. The historic town of Dhar is an administrative headquarters of the district. It is surrounded by the districts of Ratlam to the north, Ujjain to the northeast, Indore to the east, Khargone to the southeast, Barwani to the south, and Jhabua to the west. It is part of the Indore and division of Madhya Pradesh. Pithampur is a large industrial area under the Dhar District. The town is located 908 ft above the sea level. It is situated amid beautiful lakes and trees barren hills and possesses, besides its old ramparts, many fascinating buildings of both Hindu and Muslim cultures, few of the temples have the remains of cultural and historical significance.

Location & Geographical Area :

Dhar is located in the Malwa region of western Madhya Pradesh state in central India. It is the administrative headquarters of Dhar District. The town is located 33 miles (53 km) west of Mhow, 908 ft (277 m) above sea level. It is picturesquely situated among lakes and trees surrounded by barren hills, and possesses, besides its old ramparts, many interesting buildings, both Hindu and Muslim, some of them containing records of cultural and historical importance

map of dhar

The Vindhya Range runs east and west through the district. The northern part of the district lies on the Malwa plateau. The northwestern portion of the district lies in the watershed of the Mahi River and its tributaries, while the northeastern part of the district lies in the watershed of the Chambal River, which drains into the Ganges via the Yamuna River. The portion of the district south of the ridge of the Vindhyas lies in the watershed of the Narmada River, which forms the southern boundary of the district.

Physiographic Regions

The district extends over three physiographic divisions. They are the Malwa in the north, the Vindhyachal range in central zone and the Narmada valley along the southern boundary. However, the valley is again closed up by the hills in the south-western part.

Malwa Plateau

The northern half of the district lies on the Malwa plateau. It covers the northern parts of Dhar, Sardarpur and Badnawar tahsils. The average elevation of the plateau is 500 metres above the mean sea level. The land is undulation with a few scattered flat topped hills roughly aligned between the valleys from south to north. The general slope is towards the north. The valleys are covered with black cotton soil of varying thickness, mostly adapted for cultivation. The mounds may bear gravels or the underlaying sandstone rocks may have been exposed. The plateau covers an area of about 466,196 hectares in the district.

Vindhyachal Range

A part of the range extends in the district in a crescentic belt generally from south-east to north-west. The range is represented by a strip of hilly area 5 to 20 kilometres in width. It is about 5 km wide near village Dhani near the south-eastern boundary. Near Mograbav in the centre, it is about 10 km further widening to 20 km west of Tanda. To the west of Bagh and Kukshi the range stands disconnected by the valleys of the Mahi and Hatni.

It restarts along the Narmada in the south-west. The northern spur (peak 543.76 metres) froms the boundary between the Sardarpur tahsil and Jhabua district. It extends from the peak of Gomanpur a (556.26 metres) to Bajrangarh in Jhabua. Another spur extends to wards Jhabua in the north-west. The great Vindhyachal range extends generally from west to east and scarps at most of its length towards the south. In Dhar also the south-ward escarps are well marked, the wall rising from 400 to 600 metres. However, in the western part their faces have been eroded back into long and deep rugged valleys of the tributary hills of the Narmada. In fact the strong currents of the small streams on the steep southern side have cut back at their heads. The numerous streams of the Narmada valley find their sources on the Malwa plateau. The main line of the highest peaks has been left to the south of their present courses.

In the eastern and central parts of the Vindhyachal in Dhar the main hill range is continuous but in the west it is dissected by deep channels of the rivulets. The range slopes towards the north and gradually meets the Malwa plateau. Numerous spurs also extend over the Malwa plateau in the north. But in the western half in the district one may also find a series of denuded ridges alternating with the parallel stream-channels and running for some kilometres from local confusion, unless one tries to trace the line of the main peaks.

The hightest peak of the district, Mograba (751.03 metres) lies in the central part. Nilkanth (702.26 metres) lies further east and the Shikarpura hill rises up to 698.91 metres. The famous historical fort of Mandugarh towers the flat-topped hill about 600 metres, from the mean sea level.

Narmada Valley

Below the Vindhyachal scarps lies the narrow valley of the Narmada. It occupies the sourthern part of the district in Manawar tahsil and the south-eastern part of Kukshi tahsil. The width of the valley is 15 to 30 kilometres. The elavation varies from 275 metres in the northern part of Manawar tahsil to 150 metres in the low plain of Nisarpur in the south-west. To the east between Khalghat and Bakaner the valley is undulation wider, more open and fertile with alluvial cover. Proceeding westwards the valley is studded with hills alternatively cut up by numerous streams which join the Narmada along the southern boundary of the district. The result is that there are few stretches and pockets of alluvium along the streams.

By Air

Devi Ahilyabai Holkar National Airport is a prominent airport in the Madhya Pradesh state of India and is situated in Indore. The Airport offers good connectivity from major cities of India.

There are at least 5 airlines operating in Indore: Deccan, Indian, Jet Airways, Jet Lite and Kingfisher.

By Rail

Dhar does not have a raliway station. Convenient railway stations are located at Ratlam andIndore.

Indore is connected to major indian cities like Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Delhi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Howrah, Bhopal, Ujjain, Gwalior, Bhind, Jabalpur, Bilaspur, Khandwa, Lucknow, Varanasi, Patna, Ambala Ct, Jammu, Dehradun and Trivandrum.

Four major Railway Tracks pass through Ratlam, these are along Mumbai, Delhi, Ajmer and Khandwa, among which the railway track along Khandwa is a Meter Gauge track.

By Road

Buses ply between Dhar, Indore, Mandu, Mhow, Ratlam, Ujjain, and Bhopal. Rental car/taxi service is also available from Indore, Mhow, Ratlam, Ujjain and Bhopal.

Prominent Highways

National Highway 59 (NH 59) connects Ahmedabad in Gujarat with Indore in Madhya Pradesh passes through Dhar.

National Highway 79 (NH 79) links Ajmer in Rajasthan and Dhar in Madhya Pradesh.


Culture of Dhar, Madhya Pradesh

Cuisine of Dhar, Madhya Pradesh

Places of interest in Dhar, Madhya Pradesh


Mandu "The City of Joy"

Mandu is home to India's finest examples of Afghan architecture, clinging to the edges of a ravine-riddled 20-sq-km plateau overlooking the hazy plains. With-in this well-defended plateau is wealth of palaces, pleasure pavilions, mansions, tombs and mosques. The hill range is endowed with a very attractive natural scenery, which is at its best during the rainy season, when on all sides, it is clothed in green with a number of brooks and torrents, rushing down into the ravine winding about its sides below. The beauty of which is further enhanced by about a dozen lakes and ponds interspersed on its top.

Emperor Jehangir who journeyed all the way from Delhi to spend time here wrote "I Know of no place so pleasant in climate and so pretty in scenery as Mandu during the rains." It was called by the Muslim rulers as Shadiabad, "The City of Joy".


he 45 km parapet of walls that encircle Mandu are punctuated by 12 gateways. Most notable of these is Delhi Darwaza, the main entrance to the fortress city, for which the approach is through a series of gateways well fortified with walled enclosures and strengthened by bastions such as the Alamgir and Bhangi Darwaza, through which the present road passes. Rampol Darwaza, Jehangir Gate and Tarapur Gate are some of the other main gateways

Jahaz Mahal

This 120 mt long "Ship Palace" built between the two artificial lakes, Munj Talab and Kapur Talab is an elegant two storeyed palace. With its open pavilions, balconies overhanging the water and open terrace, Jahaz Mahal is an imaginative recreation in stone of a royal pleasure craft. Viewed on moonlit nights from the adjoining Taveli Mahal, the silhouette of the building, with the tiny domes and turrets of the pavilion gracefully perched on the terrace, presents an unforgettable spectacle. Jahaz Mahal There are some historians who believe the Jahaz Mahal was built by Sultan Giasuddin as his Harem Mahal. Whereas there are some who believe it was the summer resort of Malwa King Munjdeb.

Hindola Mahal
Hindola Mahal Sultan Ghiyasud-din Khilji built the Hindola Mahal, or the Swinging Palace. It got this name from its sloping walls which looked like the trestle supports of a swing. It was a great audience hall of the King of Mandu. Hindola Mahal There are several unidentified buildings to the west of the Hindola Mahal which still bear traces of their past grandeur. Amidst these is an elaborately constructed well called Champa Baoli which is connected with underground vaulted rooms where arrangements for cold and hot water were made. Other places of interest in this enclave are Dilawar Khan's Mosque, the Nahar Jharokha (tiger balcony), the two large wells the Ujali (bright) and Andheri (dark) Baolis and Gada Shah's Shop and House, all worth a visit.

Tomb of Hoshang Shah
Tomb of Hoshang Shah Retains the masculinity and majesty of the Afgan ruler. The white marble tomb is a product of mixed architectural and cultural blend of Hindu, Muslim, Afghan styles. It has a beautiful dome, marble lattice work, porticos, courts and towers. Hoshang Shah started constructing his own tomb but it was completed by his son five years after his death in 1440. Tomb of Hoshang Shah In 1659, Sahjahan visited the tomb and was amazed by its beauty. He had sent his architects to study the design of and draw inspiration from the Tomb. Among them was Ustad Hamid, who was also associated with the construction of Taj Mahal.

Jami Masjid
Jami Masjid Inspired by the great mosque of Damascus, the Jami Masjid was conceived on a grand scale, with a high plinth and a huge domedporch projecting in the centre, the background dominated by similar imposing domes with the intervening space filled up by innumerable domes. One is struck by the huge proportions and the stern simplicity of its construction. Its construction was started by Hoshang and completed by Mahmud Khalji in 1454 A.D. The great court of the mosque is enclosed on all sides by huge colonnades with a rich and pleasing variety in the arrangement of arches, pillars, number of bays, and in the rows of domes above.

Roopmati's Pavillion
Rani Roopmati's Pavillion Roopmati Pavilion was built by Baj Bahadur. The pavilion has an Afghan style of architecture. It has two Chabutara, or high tombs. They were built in order to watch and observe movements of the enemy. However Roopmati, the beloved wife of baj Bahadur used the pavillion to worship and perform her rituals the Narmada (Mokshoda) river, flowing far away (26 km) at Nimar valley, from the 365 metre high mahal. Rani Roopmati's Pavillion The ambience at the pavillion is soothing. The sunset and the moonlit night add more to the beauty.

Bagh Caves -

The Bagh Caves are a group of nine rock-cut monuments, situated among the southern slopes of the Vindhyas in Kukshi tehsil of Dhar district in Madhya Pradesh. These are renowned for mural paintings by master painters of ancient India. The use of the word "cave" is a bit of a misnomer, since these are not natural, but instead examples of Indian rock-cut architecture. The Bagh Caves, like those at Ajanta, were excavated by master craftmen on perpendicular sandstone rock face of a hill on the far bank of a seasonal stream, the Baghani. Buddhist in inspiration, of the nine caves, only five have survived. All of them are 'viharas' or monasteries having quadrangular plan. A small chamber, usually at the back, forms the 'chaitya', the prayer hall. Most significant of these five extant caves is the Cave 4, commonly known as the Rang Mahal (Palace of Colors).


Bagh caves are famous for its paintings. Paintings are the traces of the fully matured pictorial art of the country which have their parallels only at Ajanta in Maharashtra. Bagh caves will for ever be remembered for the famished glory of the painting which has left its shadows traces on the walls and ceilings of these caves. Their colours are faded and subject matters are disfigured. The visitor who pauses, ponders over and dives deep into significance with patience and imagination, looks upon these wall-paintings as the highest achievements in the world of art of that time.

Dhar City

Phadke Museum
Phadke Museum Dhar is host to a studio which not only has a history but offers learning and has many interesting sculptures lying in a closet. The Maharaja of Dhar was a patron of arts. He invited several artists to his kingdom during the first half of the twentieth century. Raghunath Krishna Phadke was then a renowned sculpturist in Mumbai who accepted the invitation and started a studio in Dhar.
The studio has several works of Mr. Phadke and his students. Academically perfect, these sculptures have caught the personality of the model in a royal way. You would find sculptures of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Ram Mohan Roy and all those recognizable figures from our national movement. There are portrait sculptures of Kings, queens, local chieftains and spiritual leaders.

Bhoj Shala
Bhoj Shala In 1903 by K. K. Lele, Superintendent of Education in the Princely State of Dharfound a Sanskrit and Prakrit inscription from the time of Arjunavarman in the walls of the Kamal Maula mosque at Dhar. The text of the inscription includes part of a drama composed by Madana, the king's preceptor. The inscription reports that the play was performed before Arjunavarman in the temple of Sarasvati. The inscription, which is engraved with exceptional beauty, is displayed inside the entrance. The inscriptions, prompted Lele to describe the building as Bhoj Shala because King Bhoja was the author of a number of works on poetics and grammar.

Lath Masjid
Lath MasjidLath Masjid 'Pillar Mosque', to the south of the town like the tomb of Shaykh Changal, was built as the Jami' Mosque by Dilawar Khan in 1405. It derives its name from a pillar made of iron which is supposed to have been set up in the 11th century. The pillar, which was nearly 13.2 m high according to the most recent assessment, is fallen and broken; the three surviving parts are displayed on a small platform outside the mosque. It carries a later inscription recording a visit of the Mughal emperor Akbar in 1598 while on campaign towards the Deccan. The pillar's original stone footing is also displayed nearby.

Jheera Bagh Palace
Jheera Bagh Palace Outside the town, off the road to Mallu, the Pawars built a palace at Hazira Bagh from the 1860s. Known as the Jheera Bagh Palace and presently run as a heritage hotel, the complex was renovated by Maharaja Anand Rao Pawar IV in the 1940s. Graciously designed in an unpretentious art deco style, it is one of the most elegant and forward-looking examples of early modern architecture in north India.

Events in Dhar, Madhya Pradesh