INDUSTRIAL CAPITAL OF
Vadodara is a graceful city of palaces, parks, temples and museums and considered by many as the de-facto cultural capital of Gujarat. Once the capital of the Gaekwads, the former rulers of Vadodara, it is also known as Baroda and rises from the banks of River Vishwamitri. Vadodara is also the industrial capital of Gujarat.
TRACES OF HISTORY
Archaeological findings indicate that human habitations existed in the city since prehistoric times. Vadodara passed through the hands of the Guptas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Solankis, the Sultans of Delhi and the Mughals before passing on to the Marathas. It owes its present day grandeur to Maharaja Sayajirao, a great patron of art, architecture and music.
Vadodara, originally 'Vadapadraka' means a village amidst the banyan trees. Historical findings take us back to the 9th century where we find reference to a town called Ankottaka, which can be identified as present day Akota. Located on the right bank of the river this place was prone to floods and therefore in the later period Vadapadraka displaced Ankottaka as the administrative headquarters.
Lakshmi Vilas Palace: Designed in Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, the palace built by Maharaja Sayajirao in 1890 is till date the residence of the royal family. Its ornate Darbar Hall has an Italian mosaic floor and walls with mosaic decorations. The palace houses a remarkable collection of old armoury and sculptures in bronze, marble & terracotta.
Vadodara Museum And Picture Gallery: Founded by the Gaekwads in 1894 AD, the museum has an impressive collection on art and archaeology, natural history, geology and ethnology. The adjoining art gallery has a great collection of old European masters: Veronese, Giordano, Zurbaran, some Flemish and Dutch School of paintings, Turner and Constable, a collection of Mughal miniatures and valuable palm-leaf manuscripts of Buddhist and Jain origin.
Kirti Mandir: Meaning 'Hall of Fame', it's a memorial for the Gaekwad rulers. Designed in the Hindu style, it is a magnificent stone building with domes, terraces, balconies and a central 'shikhara'. It is decorated with murals by the famous Indian artist, Nandlal Bose.
Nazarbagh Palace: Built in the old classical style, the palace was used on ceremonial occasions by the Gaekwads. It now houses the royal family heirlooms.
Makarpura Palace: A beautiful palace designed in the Italianate style, the Makarpura is now used as a training school of the Indian Air Force.
Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum: This museum houses the royal collection of art treasures of old masters like Raphael, Titian and Murillo as well as modern western and Indian painting; Greco-Roman exhibits, Chinese and Japanese art; and a large collection of contemporary Indian art.
Pratap Vilas Palace at Lalbag: Built as the residence of the royal family, the Pratap Vilas is an extravagant and flambuoyant building built in the Indo-Saracenic style. The palace houses a remarkable collection of old armoury and sculptures in bronze, marble and terracotta.
Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad University: The erstwhile ruler of Baroda, Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad built Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad University, also known as MSU, over a hundred years ago. The University is one of the bigger universities in Western India and the only one in Vadodara. The notable faculties here are the Faculty of Fine Arts and the Faculty of Performing Arts.
Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary: Located in the Bharuch district, the Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary stretches over an area of 608sq. kms. It boasts of abundant plant and animal life. Here you can see leopards, sloth bears, sambar, wild dogs, hyena, barking deer and a variety of birds.
Tambekarwada: Famous for its wall paintings, this place is situated 35 kms from Vadodara.
Anand: Anand is one of the most successful examples of a cooperative venture in the country. The Anand Milk Co-Operative has transformed the life of farmers in this region. It is well worth a visit.
Dakor: It is situated about 94 kms from both Vadodara and Ahmedabad . Dakor is a temple town sacred because of its connections with Lord Krishna. His image, said to be the original from Dwarka, was brought here by a devotee and installed in the temple of Ranchodrai.
Champaner: It is situated 47 kms from Vadodara. The town of Champaner was subjugated by Sultan Mehmud Begara in 1484 and made it his new capital. Champaner lies at the foot of Pavagarh fort. The ruins of its mosques and palaces reflected in the lake are some of the most picturesque sights in India.
Pavagarh Fort: The hill of Pavagarh rises from Champaner in three stages. The plateau at an altitude of 1471 feet is known as the Machi Haveli. Pavagarh is 49 kms from Vadodara, and is also known as the birthplace of Gujarat's famous musician, Baiju, who preceded Tansen.
How To Get There
Air: Various domestic airlines connecting Ahmedabad , Delhi , Mumbai , Daman, Pune.
Rail: Vadodara is on the Western Railways, Mumbai, Delhi and Mumbai, Ahmedabad line.
Road: State transport buses and private luxury coaches connects various centres of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Rajasthan . Vadodara is 112 Kms. from Ahmedabad and 420 Kms. from Mumbai.
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WHERE TO STAY
Vadodara's hotels are designed with business visitors in mind. There are several mid-range and up market places, and just a handful of inexpensive lodges. Most of the hotels are grouped in the Sayaji Gunj area just south of the railway station.
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Tourist Information Desk: At the Railway Station.
Banks & Money Changers: Bank Of Baroda, International Services Branch, Sayaji Gunj; Bank Of South India, RC Dutt Road.
Post Office: GPO, Off Raopura Road.