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|Holkar Maharaja of Indore|
|Flag of Indore State|
|The Rajwada, royal palace of the Holkar dynasty, Indore.|
|First monarch||Malhar Rao Holkar I|
|Last monarch||Yashwantrao Holkar II|
|Official residence||Rajwada, Indore|
The Holkar dynasty is a Maratha dynasty, that started with Malhar Rao, who joined the service of the Peshwas of Maratha Empire in 1721, and quickly rose to the ranks of Subedar. He and his descendants ruled as Maratha Rajas and later Maharajas of Indore (better known as Indore) in Central India as an independent member of the Maratha Empire until 1818, and afterwards as a princely state -under protectorate- of British India with a 19-guns salute (21 guns locally; a rare high rank) until India's independence, when the state acceded to the Indian government.
They are one of the prestigious dynasties whose name became associated with the very title of the ruler, which was generally known as Maharaja Holkar or Holkar Maharaja, while the official full title was Maharajadhiraj Raj Rajeshwar Sawai Shri (personal name) Holkar Bahadur, Maharaja of Indore, with the colonial style of His Highness.
Establishment of the Holkar rule 
Malharrao Holkar (born 1694, died 1766) established the family's rule over Indore. He commanded Maratha armies in Malwa region in the 1720s, and in 1733 was granted 9 parghanas in the vicinity of Indore by the Peshwa. The township of Indore had already existed as an independent principality established by Nandlal Mandloi of Kampel, sanctioned by the Mughal Imperial order, dated March 3, 1716. It was Nandlal Mandloi who granted the Marathas access through the region and allowed them to camp across the Khan(Kanh:Original Name) River. Malhar Rao established a camp, later called Malharganj, only in 1734. In 1747, he started the construction of his royal palace, the Rajwada. By the time of his death, he ruled much of Malwa, and was acknowledged as one of the five virtually independent rulers of the Maratha Confederacy.
He was succeeded by Ahilyabai Holkar (reigned 1767–1795), his daughter-in-law. She was born in the village 'Chaundi' in Maharashtra. She moved the capital to Maheshwar, south of Indore on the Narmada River. Rani Ahilyabai was a great builder and patron of many Hindu temples, who embellished Maheshwar and Indore. She also built temples at sacred sites outside her kingdom, from Dwarka in Gujarat east to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple at Varanasi on the Ganges.
The adopted son of Malhar Rao Haolkar, Tukojirao Holkar (ruled 1795-1797) briefly succeeded Rani Ahilyabai upon her death. Although Tukoji Rao, as Ahilyabai's commander started operating from Indore in March 1767 - half-a-century after its establishment by the senior Mandloi. And, Holkars did not settle in Indore until 1818 - a century after the Indore settlement was formally established by the Mandlois.
Yashwantrao Holkar- extending the Holkar dominion 
His son Yashwantrao Holkar (reigned 1797–1811) (also called as Jaswant Rao) succeeded him upon his death. He decided to free the Delhi Mughal Emperor Shah Alam from the British but was unsuccessful. Admiring his bravery, Shah Alam gave him the title of "Maharajadiraj Rajrajeshwar Alija Bahadur".
Maharaja Yashwantrao Holkar saw that rest of the Kings were not ready to unite and were interested in personal benefits, he was the last to sign a treaty with the British on 24 December 1805 at a place called Rajghat (Treaty of Rajghat). He was the only King in India to whom the British approached to sign a peace treaty. He didn’t accept any condition which would affect his self respect. The British recognised him as a sovereign King and returned all his territories. They accepted his dominion over Jaipur, Udaipur, Kota, Bundi, and some Rajput Kings. They also accepted that they would not interfere in the matters of Holkars. Yashwantrao Holkar was a gifted military leader, and battled the British in the Second Anglo-Maratha War. After some early victories, he made peace with the British.
Battle of Mahidpur 
In 1811, Maharaja Malharrao Holkar II succeeded Maharaja Yashwantrao Holkar at an age of 4 years. Maharani Tulsabai Holkar looked after the administration. However, Dharama Kunwar and Balaram Seth with the help of Pathans and Pindaris, who had secretly joined hands with the British, plotted to imprison Tulsabai and Malharrao. When Tulsabai learnt about this, she beheaded both of them in 1815 and appointed Tantia Jog. Due to this, Gaffur Khan Pindari secretly signed a treaty with the British on 9 November 1817 and accordingly killed Tulsabai on 19 December 1817.
The British, led by Sir Thomas Hislop, attacked on 20 December 1817 and defeated the army led by 11 year old Maharaja Malharrao Holhar III, 20 year old Harirao Holkar and 20 year old Bhimabai Holkar in the Battle of Mahidpur. Holkars had nearly won the war but at the deciding moment Nawab Abdul Gaffur Khan betrayed and left the battlefield along with his army. The British gave the Jahagir of Jawara to Gaffur Khan for this betrayal. The treaty was signed on 6 January 1818 at Mandsaur. Bhimabai Holkar didn't accept the treaty, and kept attacking the British by guerilla methods. Rani Lakshmibai of Jhanshi took inspiration from Bhimabai Holkar and fought against the British. At the conclusion of this Third Anglo-Maratha War, the Holkars lost much of their territory to the British and were incorporated into the British Raj as a princely state of the Central India Agency. The capital was shifted from Bhanpura to Indore.
Princely State 
Malharrao Holkar III entered Indore on 2 November 1818. Tantia Jog was appointed his Diwan as he was a minor. As the old palace was destroyed by the army of Daulat Rao Scindia, a new palace was constructed in its place. Malharrao III was succeeded by Martandrao Holkar, who formally ascended to the throne on 17 January 1834. But he was replaced by Harirao Holkar, nephew of Yashwantrao, who ascended to the throne on 17 April 1834. He adopted Khanderao Holkar on 2 July 1841 and died on 24 October 1843. Khanderao was formally installed as the ruler on 13 November 1843, but he suddenly died on 17 February 1844. Tukojirao Holkar II (1835–1886) was installed on the throne on 27 June 1844. During the Indian Rebellion of 1857, he was loyal to the British East India Company. In October 1872, he appointed T. Madhava Rao as the Diwan of Indore. He died on 17 June 1886 and succeeded by his eldest son, Shivajirao.
Yashwantrao Holkar II (reigned 1926–1948) ruled Indore state until shortly after India's independence in 1947, when he acceded to the Indian Government. Indore became a district of Madhya Bharat state, which was merged into Madhya Pradesh state in 1956.
Maharani Usha Devi Malhotra 
Princes Usha Devi was born in Paris on 20 October 1933 as the only daughter of Shreemant Yashwant Rao Holkar and Sanyogita Raje. Her father Maharaja Yashwant Rao arranged her schooling in France and America. In 1943 she returned to Indore at the Behest of the Maharaja who arranged special linguistic training in Hindi and Marathi which continued for some years. Even though she has spent considerable time of her life in foreign countries she kept alive her inclination towards the spiritual and cultural heritage of Malwa. Her marriage was solemnized on 12th December 1956 at Mumbai with Mr. Satish Chandra Malhotra.
Maharaja Yashwant Rao departed for heavenly abode on 5th December 1961. Usha Devi was appointed as the successor of Holkar State in a grand ceremony in presence of the then President of India Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru and Home Minister Sardar Vallabh Bahi Patel. She has also been conferred with the title of Maharani of Indore . Her full title is HH Maharanidhiraja Rani Rajeshwar Sawai Shrimant Akhand Soubbagyavati Usha Devi Malhotra, XV Bahadur, 15th Maharani of Indore.
||This section needs additional citations for verification. (November 2011)|
- Richard Holkar.
- Usha Devi Maharaj Sahiba Holkar XV Bahadur.
- Vijayendra Ghatge, grandson of Maharaja Tukoji Rao Holkar  through his daughter Sita Raje Ghatge is a Bollywood Actor. (Kagal Junior vassal state)
- Malhar Rao Holkar I (r. 2 November 1731 - 20 May 1766). Born 16th March 1693, died 20th May 1766
- Male Rao Holkar (r. 23 August 1766 - 5 April 1767). Born 1745, died 5th April 1767
- Ahilya Bai Holkar (first as a regent on May 26, 1766) (r. 27 March 1767 - 13 August 1795). Born 1725, died 13th August 1795
- Tukoji Rao Holkar I (r. 13 August 1795 - 29 January 1797). Born 1723, died 15th August 1797
- Kashi Rao Holkar (r. 29 January 1797 - January 1799) Born before 1776, died 1808
- Yashwant Rao Holkar I (r. January 1799 - 27 October 1811). Born 1776, died 27th October 1811
- Malhar Rao Holkar II (r. 27 October 1811 - 27 October 1833) Born 1806, died 27th October 1833
- Martand Rao Holkar (r. 17 January 1833 - 2 February 1834). Born 1830 , died 2nd June 1849
- Hari Rao Holkar (r. 17 April 1834 - 24 October 1843). Born 1795, died 24th October 1843
- Khande Rao Holkar (r. 13 November 1843 - 17 February 1844). Born 1828, died 17th March 1844
- Tukoji Rao Holkar II (r. 27 June 1844 - 17 June 1886). Born 3rd May 1835, died 17th June 1886
- Shivaji Rao Holkar (r. 17 June 1886 - 31 January 1903). Born 11th November 1859, died 13th October 1908
- Tukoji Rao Holkar III (r. 31 January 1903 - 26 February 1926). Born 26th November 1890 , died 21st May 1978
- Yashwant Rao Holkar II (r. 26 February 1926 - 1948). Born 6th September 1908, died 5th December 1961
(On 22 April 1948 the Maharaja of Indore signed a covenant with the rulers of the adjoining princely states to form a new state known as Madhya Bharat. Madhya Bharat was created on 28 May 1948. The Princely State of Indore was merged with the Union of India on 16 June 1948)
See also 
- Maratha Empire
- Maratha clan system
- List of Maratha dynasties and states
- Sethi, P.K., S.K. Bhatt and R. Holkar (1976). A Study of Holkar State Coinage, Indore: The Academy of Indian Numismatics and Sigillography.
- Somerset Playne (compiler), R. V. Solomon, J. W. Bond, Arnold Wright (1922). Indian States: A Biographical, Historical, and Administrative Survey, London: Foreign and Colonial Compiling and Publishing Co., 1922 (also Asian Educational Services, 2006, ISBN 81-206-1965-X, 9788120619654, 835 pages
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