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Vadodara Tourism and Travel Guide

History of Vadodara

The Gaekwads, a Maratha clan who were originally the generals of the Peshwas in Maharashtra, carved out a kingdom for themselves in Baroda. Twenty years later, Damaji's nephew Pilaji became the founder of the house of Gaekwad.Baroda Although an English Resident was appointed to the Court of Baroda in 1802, the rulers had a good equation with the British. The wealth of the family is legendary, and stories abound of their priceless jewellery and works of art. The city witnessed a golden age when Maharajah Sayajirao Gaekwad came to the throne in the late 19th century. He brought about many reforms in education, medicine, religious tolerance and administration. Sayajirao was one of the three princes who rated and got a 21gun salute.

Maharaja Sayaji Rao Gaekwad III (1875-1939) is a legend; he was the adopted son of Queen Jamnabai. He took Baroda through a golden age with the help of an astute statesman - his chief minister, Diwan Madhav Rao. Sayaji Rao began constructing the Laxmi Vilas Palace, naming it after his first wife (a princess of Tanjore).

Baroda can boast of one of the finest palaces in India. Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad commissioned the famous British Architects, Major Mant and Chisolm to work on Laxmi Vilas palace. Designed in the Indo-Saracenic style, it is quite a long drive from the huge wrought iron gates with the mounted royal emblem, to the portico. You look around in amazement as you step inside - the colourful frescoes in Italian style on the walls of the palace surprise you with their splendour. Beautiful statues, marble fountains, Moorish arcades and stained glass windows adorn the structure.

The palace is a marvellous work of eclectic architecture, with a mix of all styles. Built in 720 acres, it was landscaped by Mr Gonderling of Kew. The work started in 1878 and was completed in 1890; it is still the residence of the royal family.

The Fatehsinh Rao Museum, located in the palace grounds, houses the royal collection of paintings, sculptures and other objects of art. Here also existed the Raja Ravi Verma studio, where he painted some of his famous works which Barodatoday belong to this royal family. A garden house which remains shut today and a dargah (mausoleum) also find place here, (which is also shut); besides a pond with crocodiles. Many cricket ball and limb were lost here, when those playing cricket close by ventured into the pond;. There is an in-house cricket club too.

Massive black bulls with blue eyes stand in the doorway leading into the palace and the grounds,-- real ones, but stuffed ages ago. The gold gilt work on paintings is a sight to behold; models of the palace can be found under the impressive staircase leading to the top floor, where the personal chambers of the royal family are located. Its ornate Darbar Hall has an Italian mosaic floor and walls with mosaic decorations, lie empty since the day the Republic took over.

The convention hall has the entire gamut of carpets, painting, photographs of the royal family, silver, gold, ivory, furniture, Venetian chandeliers, domes and a decorous ceiling, There is a huge garden and a Navlakhi Vav (lucky stepped well) which is dry and covered in creepers said to contain a treasure worth millions, though no one has found it yet. There is a small mandir by the riverbank and the palace is surrounded on all sides by a modern colony - large sections of the palace grounds have been taken over by the government for them.

Heritage maintenance does not seem to be a priority in Baroda. Family disputes over property seem to have taken their toll, including the literature on the royal family and the architecture of the palaces is also almost impossible to obtain. Baroda makes for an ideal weekend getaway spot. You can visit the following places:

Culture of Baroda

Vadodara (Baroda) is the capital city of the erstwhile Gaekwads rulers. It is an important cultural center of India, as it is known for its art galleries and museums. Vadodara has a number of palaces and well-laid parks that attract the tourist.

How to Reach Baroda?

By Air: Baroda Airport is linked with all the major cities of India like Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Pune. The airportBaroda is 8kms northeast of the Railway Station.

By Rail: Baroda situated on the mail rail link between Mumbai and Delhi. All super fast and express trains halt at Baroda (Vadodara) Railway station.

By Road: Baroda is on the National Highway No.8, which connects Delhi to Mumbai via Jaipur, Udaipur, Ahmedabad and Baroda. Ahmedabad, the nearest major city is 112 kms south of Baroda and Mumbai lies 419 kms north of Baroda.

Shopping in Baroda

In the olden days, Vadodara or “Baroda” was the settlement of the regal Gaekwads. It is today one of the fastest growing cities of Gujarat. Vadodara, though it is an industrial city, is celebrated for its monuments, palaces and parks and a huge crowd of the tourists from the various parts of India come here. There are a lot of places and tourist attractions in Vadodara in which the tourists can take pleasure. Tour to Vadodara remains virtually incomplete if the tourist does not shop for himself/ herself as vadodara stocks an amazing variety of local goods. So, one should not worry about What to buy in Vadodara as there is simply no scaricity of souvenirs and various other articles in different varieties that can be purchased.

As Vadodara is an industrial city, it is most famous for the various types of furniture, textiles and handicraft items. Vadodara has always been famous as the city of painters and artists whose artistic works have created magic. The intricately carved out designs in the showpieces and their wonderful patterns make for some of the most creative home decor. There is a wonderful collection of factory made, and hand crafted furniture items. While shopping in the city the tourist will never run out of options on what to buy in Vadodara.

There are numerous shops where the guests can buy the silver jewellery articles. Some of the most notable ones would be Raopura, Mandvi, Teen Darwaza and Lehripura Mandir Bazar. Alkapuri Arcade and National Plaza are the modern shops selling fashion apparel in vogue and also the latest furnishings.

You can also go for the local Khadi Bhandar center for handicrafts, fabric and ready-to-wear handspun clothes in the cotton type. Shopping in Vadodara is surely going to be great fun since the tourists will be familiarized with Gujarati Barodahandicrafts and tie and dye and fabric printing techniques. If you are tired after your shopping in Vadodara is over, then you can also unwind at the roadside restaurants and food and beverage outlets that offer a scrumptious range of local Gujarati and Indian fare! There are a lot of things that tourist will come across on his tour to Vadodara and shopping in Vadodara is something indispensable for a really memorable experience of travel.

Vadodara is excellently connected by air as Vadodara airport has good connections with all the important cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Pune. State transport buses and the private luxury coaches also connect Vadodara to the different towns and cities of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi, and Rajasthan.

Hotels in Baroda

Hotel Surya, Baroda
Hotel Chandan Mahal, Baroda
Hotel Ambassador, Baroda

 

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Monuments