Friday, 15 July 2011

Vadodara/Baroda, Gujarat

Vadodara formerly known as Baroda is the third most populated city in the Indian State of Gujarat . It is one of the four cities with the population of over 1 million. Historical and archaeological findings date this place back to the 9th century when it was a small town called Ankottaka (present Akota) located on the right bank of the river Vishvamitri (whose name is derived from the great saint Rishi Vishwamitra). Ankottaka was a famous centre of Jainism in the 5th and 6th century AD. Some of the Akota bronze images can be seen in the Vadodara Museum . The city was once called Chandanavati after its ruler Raja Chandan of Dor tribe of Rajputs, who wrested it from the Jains. The capital had also another name "Virakshetra" or "Virawati" (a land of warriors). Later on it was known as Vadpatraka or Wadodará, which according to tradition is a corrupt form of the Sanskrit word Vatodar means 'in the heart of the banyan tree'. It is now almost impossible to ascertain when the various changes in the name were made; but early English travellers and merchants mention the town as Brodera, and it is from this that the name Baroda is derived. Again in 1974 the name changed to Vadodara.

Places to See:

Laxmi Vilas Palace

Laxmi Vilas Palace is an architectural marvel, designed in Indo-Saracenic style and built by Maharaja Sayajirao III in 1890. It still serves as the residence of the Royal family. The palace contains several splendid chambers, which are examples of skilled craftsmanship. The Darbar Hall is embellished with Italian mosaic floor and walls with mosaic decorations. The palace even houses a remarkable collection of old armory and sculptures in bronze, marble & terracotta. 

Kirti Mandir

Kirti Mandir is another must visit place in Vadodara. It literally means the, 'Hall of Fame' and is a memorial for the Gaekwad rulers. It is a stone building, designed in Hindu style, with domes, terraces, balconies and a central shikhara. The building is decorated with murals, done by the famous Indian artist, Nandlal Bose. 

Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad University

Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad University was built by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad, the ruler of Baroda. The university is also known as MSU and is over a hundred years old. It is known for its Faculty of Fine Arts and the Faculty of Performing Arts. 

Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary

Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Bharuch district of Gujarat. It stretches over an area of 608 sq km and boasts of a rich flora and fauna. The sanctuary houses Leopards, Sloth Bears, Sambar, Wild Dogs, Hyena, Barking Deer and a variety of birds. 

Nazarbagh Palace

Nazarbagh Palace is an example of Victorian classical style of architecture. It now houses the royal family heirlooms. 

Makarpura Palace

Makarpura Palace is another magnificent palace in the city. It is also built in Italianate style and is now used as an Indian Air Force training school. 

Pratap Vilas Palace

Pratap Vilas Palace once served as the residence of the royal family. It is a flamboyant building, designed in Indo-Sarcenic style. It now houses the Railway Staff College. 


The only existing Mughal monument in Vadodara, Hajira was built in the memory of Qutub-ud-din, the general of Akbar's army. One can also see a step well in the vicinity. 

Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum

Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum houses the royal collection of the art of masters like Raphael, Titian and Murillo. It also displays Western and Indian paintings, Greco-Roman exhibits, Chinese and Japanese art and a large collection of contemporary Indian art............

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