One of the great joys of building Marcellus has been that we get to meet a wide variety of business owners and executives working in India’s thriving Tier 2, 3 and 4 cities. Such encounters give us more colour and texture regarding the specific dimensions along which prosperity is spreading across this vast land. Indore, a city which we had never visited before we launched Marcellus five years ago, has given us over the past couple of years an unexpectedly large client base. Antara Baruah, a name you should watch out for given how consistently she writes excellent articles, has captured the effervescent prosperity of Indore in this article for The Print:

“Phoenix Citadel isn’t just a mall. It’s a hallmark of Indore’s explosive entry onto the urban landscape. No longer Mumbai’s dowdy stepsister, Indore is a tier-2 city inching its way up – investments are mounting, the demography is changing, and people are desperate to find things to spend their newfound money on.

Indore is on its way to becoming a city of surplus even before it attains cosmopolitan maturity.

Nestled conveniently along the Agra-Mumbai highway, an ideal spot for outsiders, Phoenix Citadel mall looks like a palace built by middle class dreams: an imposing pearly white façade that wanted to be a European palace as well as Taj Mahal. Beset with indecision, it decided to be both.

Indore is shedding its old-world humility for a brasher, bolder and brassier avatar. A new wealthy class is exerting its will on the city—driving BMWs and Porsches, storming elite schools and colleges in Chanel and Birkenstock, and erecting grand towers while sipping on tandoori cold coffee and nibbling on kulhad pizza. It is the story of every tier-2 Indian city – toggling between new cash and kitsch.”

So, what are the drivers of Indore’s prosperity? Part of Indore’s prosperity seems to be driven by the decisions taken by large Indian employers like Wipro and TCS to set up giant offices in this city. That decision in turn was prompted by the fact that Indore is the only city in India to have both an IIT and an IIM. In addition, good schools, a well connected airport bang in the middle of the country and a comfortable lifestyle has prompted executives to relocate to Indore. Ms Baruah captures this dynamic – of the big city migrants mixing with the local business elite in Indore – vividly:

““We were living in a bubble. There were only a few reputed families. But now there’s so much new money. There are so many new people, even those who have shifted from good metro cities,” says Kasliwal.

Indore is referred to as mini-Mumbai. Its growth trajectory originated with textile mills and it subsequently expanded into a trade-center. But the Kasliwals also see a mini-Delhi in Indore. There exists a cocooned social elite—fraternising at the Yeshwant Club—and then there are the outsiders-turned-insiders.

This club is where old money meets new. A row of Bentleys, BMWs—not just Mercedes and Audis—line up outside the colonial-era club. Not unlike the Gymkhana clubs of bigger cities, taxidermy deers and bulls look down from Yeshwant Club walls, with tennis courts and pool championships. But the bar is dead with outdated furniture. Not quite the watering hole clubs tend to be. Drinking possibly still carries on in private spaces.

“Indore is very cosmo,” says Kasliwal. His wife, Disha, nods in agreement. She organises luxury retail exhibitions across the city, bringing to Indore the likes of the Ambani family’s favourite jeweller, Renu Oberoi.”

Alongside, the national highways and the airport which are plugging Indore into the flourishing heart of the Indian economy, lies another driver of Indore’s prosperity – land prices. Whenever a highway is driven through a piece of land, the price of the land at least doubles and usually goes up 5-10x. This dynamic has made the landed gentry of Indore extremely prosperous:

“Though Indore missed out on the first tech boom, which paved the way for the rise of Bangalore and Pune, the city is an unmistakable occupant of the second. Infosys and TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) have entered the city, opening doors to young professionals, including from metropolitan cities.

On the outskirts of Indore, past the airport, is the Super Corridor. A 12-km stretch of land that is a talisman for Indore’s tech-heavy future with campuses of TCS, Infosys, and Yash Technologies within walking distance from each other. After three years of work from home, over the past three months, a flurry of engineers and software professionals have been trickling in.

The demand for land is greater than ever before, and liquid income is flowing in for those who didn’t always have it. “It’s not about owning property or owning flats. It’s the value of the land itself,” he says.

The oldest beneficiary of land in Indore is the Zamindar-Mandloi family, the ‘original’ royal family. Their home is the city’s oldest fort, their land home to court complexes today as well as the bustling vastu-perfect commercial centre Siyaganj. Once subedars, the Holkars arrived on the scene and the Mandlois ultimately received the short end of the stick. The British recognised the Holkars as Indore’s royal families—and so began the city’s love affair with its proclaimed royals. The airport is named after Ahilyabai (who allegedly only visited the city twice).

Another Indori estimates that the Zamindar-Mandlois own 10 per cent of the city.
“We’re not a showy family,” says Madhavi Zamindar, in her office ensconced in a corner of Bada Rawala. “We believe more in supporting local communities.”

She’s an organic farmer and artist, her daughter works at Vogue, while her son is in charge of the family’s real estate affairs.”

If you want to read our other published material, please visit

Note: the above material is neither investment research, nor financial advice. Marcellus does not seek payment for or business from this publication in any shape or form. Marcellus Investment Managers is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Board of India as a provider of Portfolio Management Services. Marcellus Investment Managers is also regulated in the United States as an Investment Advisor.

Copyright © 2022 Marcellus Investment Managers Pvt Ltd, All rights reserved.

2024 © | All rights reserved.

Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions