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Jaora is a municipality of Ratlam, one of the districts in Madhya Pradesh. It is located between the towns of Ratlam and Neemuch, in what is known as the Malwa region. As of the 2001 Indian census, the town has a population of 63,736 and a literacy rate of 62%, which is higher than the national average of 59.5%.
Before India gained its independence in 1947, Jaora was the capital of the princely state of Jaora. The princely state of Jaora was founded by Abdul Ghafur Muhammad Khan, a Muslim who was of Afghan descent. Abdul Khan was a cavalry officer under Amir Khan, the Pindari leader and future prince of the princely state of Tonk. After that, he later served the maharaja of Indore, tasked primarily with subduing the Rajput territories in northern Malwa and annexing their lands to the Holkar ruler. As a token of gratitude for the services he rendered, he was granted the title of Nawab (a high title for Muslim nobles) in 1808. He founded Jaora, which was later confirmed by the British government in 1818, after the British defeated the Holkars, resulting in the ratification of the Treaty of Mandsaur.
Back then, the princely state’s total area was 1,471 square kilometers, including the dependencies of Piploda and Panth-Piploda. Jaora was divided into four administrative divisions: Jaora, Tal, Barauda and Barkhera. Jaora was a largely agricultural princely state, with the major crops being cotton, maize, millet and opium.
During the reign of Nawab Muhammad Iftikhar Ali Khan (who ruled from 1895 to 1947), Piploda and Panth-Piploda separated, with the former becoming a separate state in 1924 and the latter becoming a province of British India in 1942. Finally, it was during the rule of Nawab Muhammad Usman Ali Khan in June 15, 1948 that the princely state acceded to the Government of India, eventually becoming a part of the district of Ratlam.
The world famous Hussain Tekri attracts the attention of millions of people every year and is popular with many people, regardless of religion. This happens during the month of Moharram and the shrine of Hazrat Imam Hussain, which is said to be a replica of the one found in Iraq, receives particular attention. The ritual of Hajri, which is said to cure incurable mental illnesses, makes the place more famous.
Other notable temples in the town include the 200-year old Radhakrishna temple, the Jain temple, the Manchapuran Hanuman temple and Jain Dadawadi temple. The last one is what made Jaora famous among the Jain community because it is supposedly the place where the Jain saint Rajendra Suri performed his “Kriyoddhar” activity, under a tree at Khachrod Road.
Recently, Jaora’s railways have been upgraded under the Project Unigauge program, which aims to standardize most of the rail gauge in India towards a single, wide broad gauge network. As a result, new sets of trains are expected to be operational, pushing Jaora that much closer to modernization.