General Information about Vadodara
Vadodara, also known as Baroda is a cultured, harmonious university town, situated about 100 kms. southeast of Ahmedabad. Before independence, Vadodara was the capital of the one of the most powerful princely states of Baroda and covered 21,144 square kms. The family name Gaekwad means Protector of Cows.
The Gaekwad stood high in the order of precedence and was only one of five rulers who received a 21 gun salute. He was reputedly so rich that he had a carpet woven of diamonds and pearls and cannons cast in gold. Parks, lakes and palaces dominate the old city. It is now a rapidly expanding industrial centre, yet still a pleasant place to visit. Today, Vadodara prides itself as an educational centre and home to the sprawling MS University.
How to reach Vadodara
The airport is situated 8 kms. northeast of the town. The regular flights are available to Mumbai and Delhi from Vadodara.
Vadodara is connected with trains to Ahmedabad, Jamnagar and Porbandar.
Vadodara is connected with Ahmedabad, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Junagadh and Bhuj.
Tourist Attractions in Vadodara
Laxmi Vilas Palace
The Laxmi Vilas Palace was built by R.H. Chisholm. This palace was built in full throttle 19th century Indo-Saracenic style for Rs.6 million. The after early designs by the military engineer Mant, the facade of this extraordinary building is 150 m wide. The palace is faced in red Agra sandstone with dressings of blue trapstone from Pune and Rajasthani marble.
The approach to the palace is very pleasant and the interior is spectacular. The Durbar Hall has walls and floor in Venetian mosaic and marble is used extensively throughout, as is stained glass from London.
Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum
The Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum contains some fine European paintings.
The Tambekar Wada is a wooden multistoreyed townhouse. This typical Maratha mansion was once the residence of Bhau Tambekar, Diwan of Baroda. Inside are some beautiful 19th century murals.
The Kirti Mandir is situated around the Sursagar Lake in the centre of the town. The Kirti Mandir houses the Gaekwad Samadhi or memorial ground.
Within this shady, pleasant park is the Baroda Museum, which houses some good Asian statues and carvings, mangy zoology exhibits and an Egyptian room. The gallery has lovely Mughal miniatures and a motley crew of European masters.
Nazar Bagh Palace
The Nazar Bagh Palace has a Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace), a collection of the embroidered cloth and the jewel ‘Star of the south’. The solid gold and silver guns, each barrel 127 kgs. in weight were kept here which on ceremonial occasions, were drawn by the teams of milk-white bullocks.
Makarpura Palace is situated about 7 kms. to the south of the city. This was built in an Italian Renaissance style and has a facade of three storeys each with an arcade running around beautiful gardens.
The Naulakhi Well is a fine baoli, about 50 kms. to the north of the palace. It is a well preserved baoli (step well) which has galleried compartments or levels.
Excursions from Vadodara
Bharuch appeared in the historical records nearly 200 years ago. It is on the main rail line between Vadodara and Surat, about an hour from each. It is one of the oldest seaports in western India and flourished in the 1st century AD. Under the name of Barugaza, the town was mentioned by the Romans in 210 AD.
It was ruled by the Gurhara Prince and much later came under the rule of the Solanki Rajputs. The Bhrigu Rishi Temple from which the town got its name (Bhrigukachba, later shortened to Bharuch) is on the banks of the Narmada river. It subsequently developed at the lowest crossing of the river, a point of strategic importance.
The hilltop fort overlooks the wide Narmada river and has the Jama Masjid at its base. The Jama Masjid was built from a demolished Jain temple but in accordance with conventional mosque design. Just over 3 kms. west of the fort are some early Dutch tombs, overlooked by some Parsee Towers of Silence.
The word Pavagadh means a quarter of the hill and was believed to have been part of the Himalaya carried off by the monkey god Hanuman. The Pavagadh Fort is situated 4 kms. southwest of the city. The Pavagadh fort dominates the syline and is visible for miles around. It occupies a large area and rises in three stages: first the ruined fort, then the palace and middle fort and finally the upper fort with Jain and Hindu temples.
The parts of the massive walls still stand. The ascent is steep and passes several ruins including the Buria Darwaza, the Champavati Mahal, a three storey summer pavilion. The temple at the summit had its spires removed by the Muslims and a shrine of Sadan Shah, a Muslim saint