Vadodara - A tete a tete with the city
Location : Western India, Gujarat
Founded in : 1721 AD
Best time to visit : October to March
Local Transport : Auto rickshaws, buses, taxis, buses
Places to see : Vadodara Museum, Kirti Mandir, Makarpura Palace, Maharaja Museum, Pratap Vilas Palace, Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad University.
Souvenirs : Textiles
Vadodara - The Tale of the city
There are human habitations in the area of Vadodara from prehistoric times. The Guptas,Chalukyas, Solankis, Delhi Sultanate ruled over this city and then it went into the hands of the Mughals and then the Marathas. Originally known as “Vadapadraka” which means a village in the centre of banyan trees , this city dates back to the 9th century where it is referred to a town called Ankottaka. It is the Akota of today. Situated on the banks of the River Vishwamitri, the village was displaced due to floods around 600AD. Therefore, the inhabitants went to a village called the Vatpratak or the Leaf of the Banyan tree. This developed into Vadodara. In the 10th century, Vadapadraka replaced Ankottaka as the main town. For some time the city was called Chandanavati after its ruler Raja Chandan. Today Vadodara or Baroda is a result of the patronizing efforts of Maharaja Sayajirao. He ruled this area between 1875 and 1939. The princely state of Baroda joined Indian dominion in 1947. In 1960, Baroda became a part of Gujarat.
Vadodara - Down the Ages
Vadodara, or Sayaji Nagari is today the third most populated Indian city. It is down the ages the eighteenth largest city. With a rich culture behind it, it is the administrative headquarters of the Vadodara district. Vadodara, or Vadpatra got its name from the banyan trees, which surround the area. In 2001, Vadodara was hit by the earthquake that struck Gujarat. The city was not much affected but the rumblings of the earthquake sure produced some casualties. The city reeled under the aftershock for some time.
Vadodara - A Rendezvous
Also called Chandanavati, Virakshetra, Vatodar, Vadodara today is the name the city got from 1974 officially. This city with its graceful constructions and exquisite architecture boasts of a history that is phenomenal. The parks, museums, temples here are the main reasons here why they consider Baroda as the cultural capital of Gujarat. Baroda was the name it was called by the Britishers. After they left, Baroda was one of the five States whose rulers got a 21-gun salute. It was the capital of the erstwhile princes and has seen the rise and fall of many civilizations here. The limits of exploration here is unlimited with the kind of art from all over the world showcased here.
Vadodara - Travel kitty
Thus, the city of Vadodara with its beautiful ambience is on the banks of the River Vishwamitri and creates the feeling of being in the past and also the present. A person coming here would have a lot to take back as travel kitty, as the nostalgia here is infectious. Vadodara is a place where the tourist would find whatever he wants. Shopping here is like a shopper’s paradise as everything ranging from knick-knacks to jewellery is available here. The travel kitty here is the sheer ecstasy of being here.
Vadodara - Joie de vivre in the city
What is the joie de vivre in a city ? The city’s history, the legend it carries and the ambience it creates. This is what Vadodara does to us. It imbibes in us a sense of patriotism, takes us to the throes of passion and endorses our opinion about magnificence being a part of Indian architecture. A person coming here can see the following :
Laxmi Vilas Palace : This is a place where the design is entirely Indo- Sarcenic. The palace was built by Maharaja Sayajirao in 1890. There is a Darbar Hall, which is very decorative with its mosaic floor made of Italian stone. The walls also have mosaic decorations. The palace has an amazing collection of old armory and bronze sculptures as also marble and terracotta.
The Nazarbaugh Palace : This palace is the storehouse of the royal heirlooms of the Gaekwars. It was earlier used as a training school of the Indian Air Force. The style adopted to build this is the old classical style. This palace was originally used for the ceremonies of the Gaekwads.
The Makarpura Palace : This is a magnificent piece of architecture, which is made in Italian style. It has been designed in the Italian style. This is now used as a training school of the Indian Air Force.
Pratap Vilas Palace : This regal palace has been constructed in the Indo Sarcenic style. It was earlier the residence of the Royal Family and has a collection of war artifacts and objects made out of bronze, terracotta and marble sculptures. This has an extravagant architecture, and the flamboyance is infectious.
The Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum : This is a museum, which has the best collection of Royal Art. This art collection is from a variety of sources like the Western, Indian, Japanese, and Chinese forms. It also has paintings by Titan, Murillo and Raphael.
Vadodara Museum and Picture Gallery : This was founded by the Gaekwads in 1849 AD. The museum has a good collection of art and archaeology, history, geology and ethnology. The art gallery here is a good collection of Veronese, Giordano, Zurbaran, Flemish and Dutch school paintings. We also have Mughal miniatures here and some precious palm leaf manuscripts belonging to the Buddhist and Jains.
Kirti Mandir : This is very famous for the decorations made in murals and is the place where the Gaekwad family stored its jewellery. This means the Hall of Fame. This has been built in memory of the Gaekwad rulers. It has been designed in the style of a Hindu architecture and is exquisitely decorated by murals.
Maharaja Sayajirao University : This is an educational institution that is known for its contributions in areas of arts and science. It should surely be seen by the tourist. This is the institution that has made Baroda recognized in the field of education.
Sayaji Baug : This is a beautiful place with the most picturesque of backgrounds. The ambience here is mesmerising as the sun sets. It is the perfect place to relax both the mind and the body. The garden also hosts the Sayaji Museum. Founded in 1894, this museum has a mind boggling collection of history, archaeology, and geology.
Nyay Mandir :
Temple of Justice : This is a magnificent structure, which is made on the Byzantine kind of architecture.
Besides this, you also have the Temple of Justice, a Byzantine construction, Hazira Maqbara, Kirti Stambh, and the Tower of Fame are some of the other monuments of interest.
Jama Masjid : This was built in Champaner in 1513. This lies 47km from Baroda. It is truly a wonderful masterpiece of art with galleries and archways, which take our breath away.
Dakor : This is the town of Lord Krishna. It is around 94km from Baroda. The Ranchodrai temple is located here. It is a famous construction.
Sindhrot Nature Park, The Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary and the Baroda Zoo are all part of the Baroda city showing the green side of the city. Situated in the Bharuch district this stretches over 608 sq kms, this area has an amazing collection of leopards, sloth bears, wild dogs, sambar, hyena, barking deer and an equal collection of birds.
Bharuch : This was earlier a small village on the banks of the River Narmada. It is today a huge city and is also a seaport. Situated around 70 kms from Baroda, this important pilgrim spot has the Swaminarayan Mandir. This is where Sankheda is also located and also Pavagadh. Sankheda is famous for its lacquer work and Pavagadh for its Mahakali temple.
Ahmedabad : This is the largest city in Gujarat and is just 100 kms from Baroda. Besides one could also visit Anand which is famous as a milk center, which is around 35 kms from Baroda. This is also a place worth visiting.
Dharbavati : This is a very famous tourist spot of Baroda. This is also known as Dabhoi. This was built in the 12th century. With several Hindu and Jain temples, it has the Kalika Mata temple which is a three storied structure. This structure is made of ornate wood carvings. The place is famous for this.
Tambekarwada : This is famous for its paintings on the walls. This place is situated some 35 kms from Vadodara.
Dakor : Situated about 94 kms between Vadodara and Ahmedabad. This is a temple town and is considered to be a very sacred town. This is because of its connections with Lord Krishna. This idol is said to be the original from Dwarka. This idol was brought by a devotee and he installed this in the temple of Ranchodrai.
Champaner : This is located 47 kms from Vadodara. Sultan Mehmud Begara captured this town and made it his new capital in 1484. This lies at the foot of the Pavagarh fort. There are lots of mosques which are in ruins. There are many palaces that are reflected in the lake that provide the best scenic beauty ever.
Pavagarh Fort : This Pavagarh hill comes from Champaner in three different stages. This plateau at a height of 1471 feet is known as the Machi Haveli. This is 49 kms from Vadodara. It is the birthplace of Baiju the famous Gujarat musician. Baiju preceded Tansen.
Vadodara, the place of culture and industry is thus a tourists’ paradise.
As we leave the city, we feel, “ History is where Vadodara is “