Information on Vadodara :
Vadodara, also known as Baroda is a cultured, harmonious university town, situated about 100 kms. South east 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.
Tourist Attractions in Vadodara :
The tourist attractions in Vadodara are the Laxmi Vilas Palace, Naulakhi Well, Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum and Nazar Bagh Palace. The Laxmi Vilas Palace was built by R.H. Chisholm. The palace is faced in red Agra sandstone with dressings of blue trapstone from Pune and Rajasthani marble. The Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum contins some fine European paintings. The main tourist attractions in Vadodara are the Laxmi Vilas Palace, Naulakhi Well, Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum and Nazar Bagh Palace.
Laxmi Vilas Palace :
The Lakshmi Vilas Palace, an extravagant building of the Indo-Saracenic school, was built by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III in 1890 at a cost of GBP180,000. Major Charles Mant was the architect.
It is reputed to have been the largest private dwelling built in the nineteenth century and four times the size of Buckingham Palace. At the time of construction it boasted the most modern amenities such as elevators and the interior is reminiscent of a large European country house. It remains the residence of the Royal Family, who continue to be held in high esteem by the residents of Baroda.
Its ornate Darbar Hall, which is sometimes the venue of music concerts and other cultural events, has a Venetian mosaic floor, Belgium stained glass windows and walls with intricate mosaic decorations.In the 1930s Maharaja Pratapsinh created a golf course for use by his European guests. Palace also boasts of a zoo and a museum.
Naulakhi Well :
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.
Maharaja Fatehsingh Museum :
A large number of works of art belonging to the Royal family are displayed in the museum.The major works of art in this museum are the paintings by European and Indian artists including a collection of the paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, who was specially commissioned by the then Maharaja of Baroda. The collection includes portraits of the Royal family in addition to the paintings based on Hindu mythology for which Raja Ravi Varma was famous.
There is a collection of sculptures in marble and bronze. These include copies of great masters in bronze commissioned by the Maharaja and also originals by renowned artists. One of the artists commissioned by the Maharaja was an Italian artist Fellicci whose works adorn not only the Museum but also the Lakshmi Vilas Palace. The museum has an oriental gallery which houses Japanese and Chinese sculptures and other works collected by the Maharaja on his visits to these countries.
Pratap Vilas Palace :
The railway staff college was founded in 1930 at Prem Nagar, Dehradun District, and then shifted to its present regal sylvan surroundings at Vadodara, in 1952. It is housed in the Pratap Vilas Palace (built in 1914 AD) surrounded by lush green lawns and designed by C.F. Stevens in the renaissance style.
The property comprising of 55 acres (220,000 m2) of garden and wooded land, enlivened by the calls of peacocks and migratory birds, was purchased from the Gaikwads (erstwhile rulers) of Vadodara.
Vadodara Museum and Gallery :
The famous museum was built in 1894 on the lines of Victoria and Albert and Science Museums of London. Major Mant in association with R.F. Chisholm who refined some of Mants finest works to make genuine Indo-Sarcenic architecture designed the Building of this Museum
It preserves a rich collection of art, sculpture, ethnography and ethnology. Several of the paintings are not only original but masterpieces at the picture gallery. The picture gallery which offers an excellent collection of originals by famous British painters Turner and constable and many others attract tourists from every part of the country. The Egyptian mummy and skeleton of a blue whale are major attractions for those who visit the museum.
Other treasure includes the famous Akota bronzes dating the 5th Century AD, A collection of Mughal miniatures, a full fledged gallery of Tibetan Art and oils by several European masters.
Tambekar Wada :
The Tambekar Wada is a wooden multistoreyed town house. This typical Maratha mansion was once the residence of Bhau Tambekar, Diwan of Baroda. Inside are some beautiful 19th century murals.
Kirti Temple :
"Kirti Mandir, Vadodara", or Temple of Fame, is the cenotaph of the Gaekwads, located in the city of Vadodara.
It was built by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III to perpetuate the glorious memory of his beloved ancestors. The sun, the moon and the earth in bronze with the undivided map of India adorn the shikhar of Kirti Mandir. Kirti Mandir was built in 1936 as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III.
Sayaji Baug :
Sayaji Baug (the famous park) is situated on river Vishwamitri and was built by Sayajirao III in 1879. Sprawling over 113 acres, it also includes an excellent zoo, the Baroda Museum and Picture Gallery, the Museum of Health and Hygiene and the Sardar Patel Planetarium. A major attraction for children is the 3.5 kms joy ride through the park on the toy train.
The planetarium shows you the universe in half an hour, at 4pm in Gujarati, 5pm in English, and 6pm in Hindi. After the show take a look at the astronomy park next door to see the astronomical instruments of ancient India.
Nazar Baug Palace :
"Nazar Baug Palace" was Gaekwad Royal Palace in the city of Vadodara, Gujarat state, western India. Nazar baug Palace was build in 1721. It has solid gold and silver guns, each barrel weighing over 100kg. It also has a Sheesh Mahal, a Glass Palace.
Built in old classical style, the palace was used on ceremonial occasions by the Gaekwads. The royal family heirlooms are on display.
Makarpura Palace :
Makarpura Palace was Gaekwad royal palace in the city of Vadodara, Gujarat state, India. It was built by Maharaja Khende Rao in 1870, designed in the Italian style. It was extended and renovated by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III. The palace is now used as a training school by the Indian Air Force.
Darbar Hall :
Considered as one of the most famous museums of the country it was built in 1894. The picture gallery which offers an excellent collection of originals by famous British painters Turner and constable and many others attract tourists from every part of the country. The Egyptian mummy and skeleton of a blue whale are major attractions for those who visit the museum. Other treasure includes the famous Akota bronzes dating the 5th Century A.D., A collection of Mughal miniatures, a full fledged gallory of Tibetan Art and oils by several European masters.
Sri Aurobindo Niwas :
Sri Aurobindo Ashram is located at Dandia Bazar in the city of Vadodara, Gujarat, western India. Relics of Shri Aurobindo are present here. It is open to all for meditation. It houses a library, study room and sales emporium.
Aurobindo Ghosh lived in this bunglow during his stay in Baroda (1894-1906) as private secretary to HH Sayajirao Gaekwad III, Maharaja of Baroda and then Professor of English and vice-principal of Baroda College (now MSU). During that period few famous people visited this bunglow- like Lokmanya Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal, Sister Nivedita, Sakharam Ganesh Dueskar and some Marathi yogi saints.
Ajwa Nimeta Dam and Garden :
It is an earthen dam that was built early 20th century by the then ruler of Vadodara, Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III. Its main aim was to provide water to the residents of Vadodara. Although the population of Baroda at that time was 100,000 it was the rulers vision to build the reservoir 3 times larger. This reservoir has the ability to attend to the water requirements of about 300,000 people residing in the eastern parts of the city.
Adjacent to the dam are the famous Ajwa gardens also called as Vrindavan Garden, which are an adaptation of the famous Vrindavan gardens located in Mysore. It is very famous especially in the evenings for its coloured fountains and a musical fountain.
Mandvi Gate :
This imposing structure was built during the Mughal period and was restored in 1736 A.D. by the Governor, Malha Roa Maloji under the orders of Damaji Roa II (1732-1768 A.D.).
EME Temple :
The Indian army does not usually have separate places of worship for the different faiths, but this temple, built by the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (EME) corps entirely out of aluminum sheets, worships Dakshinamurti, another name for Shiva as an ultimate teacher. This uncommonly modern-looking temple is, however, built with holy symbols from various religions. It is open from 6:30am-8:30pm. Photography is prohibite.
Kayavarohan Temple :
Kayavarohan is a village located in Vadodara. Kayavarohan is one of the sixty-eight teerthas (Pilgrimage) of Lord Shiva as mentioned in the Shiva Purana. It is of great significance to the Pasupatas (Followers of the Pashupati doctrine). There is a huge ocassion on Maha Shiv Ratri Festival.
Maharaja Sayajirao University :
The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, named after Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III, the former ruler of Baroda, is one of the premier universities of India located in the city of Vadodara, (Baroda) in Gujarat state. It is popularly known as M.S.University (MSU). Originally known as the Baroda College of Science (established 1881).
It became a university in 1949 after the independence of the country. It is both a teaching and residential university in the sense that it offers all its courses under a single roof. It is the only university in Gujarat whose medium of instruction is English for all its courses.
Khande Rao Market :
Khande Rao Market is a palatial building located in the city of Vadodara, Gujarat State, western India.
It was erected by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III in 1906. It was presented by him as a gift to the Municipality to mark the Silver Jubilee of his administration. The offices of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation are located in this building. Fresh Vegetable and Flower market is also located in the back garden.
Maqbara (Hajira) :
Constructed in the memory of Kutub-ud-din the general of Akbars army, it is the only existing Mughal monument of the city. There is also a step well in its vicinity.
Nyay Mandir :
The Nyaya Mandir, temple of justice, is a unique piece of Byzantine architecture. It houses the District Court of Baroda.
Sankheda in Vadodara, India is known for its lacquer works. The work is done on country wood, which being brown gives darker shades.It is world famous for its handicraft furniture. The furniture made from Teak wood. The furniture made here is exported all over the world.
Development of this town comes from huge contribution by Dr.Jethalal K Parikh, who worked really hard to give good education and employment to local community.There are schools and hospital named under his wife. Local community to appreciate his efforts for development of town, they named a road after his name and has his statue at entrance of town.
Sursagar Talav :
This restored artificial lake is large and always full, which makes it a great place to hang out, as well as for boating. It also receives the majority of Ganesh idols during Ganesh Chaturthi.
Now known as Akota, this site began as a small settlement among Akola trees, a kilometer west of where would later lie Vadodara. Towards the 5th century AD it was known as a center of Jainism and Jain studies. The 68 bronze statues of tirthankars recovered from the site so far are now housed in the Vadodara Museum and they provide an insight into metallic art at the time.
Excursions from Vadodara :
Vishwamitri River :
The Vishwamitri river is a seasonal river which flows east to west between the Mahi and Narmada rivers in Gujarat, India. It originates in the hills of Pavagadh.
A study conducted in 2002 by the Crocodile Specialist Group has shown that in spite of these pollutants, the 25 kilometre stretch of the river which passes through Vadodara is the home to 100 mugger crocodiles.
The fort of Dabhoi is one of the rare surviving examples of Hindu military architecture, based on the shastri traditions described in various Vaastu scriptures.The architectural style and the exquisite stone carving and iconography on the fort walls and gates suggests that it was conceived and constructed in the same period as Rudra Mahalaya and Zinzuwada Fort. It is mentioned as an important city in the Jain inscriptions of Girnar.
It is a major Jain pilgrimage place. There are 6 temples. Shri Lodhan Parshvanath temple is main attraction. Dabhoi is also known for great philanthropist Shree indubhai sheth, He was one of the great son of dabhoi, and he was involved in lot of charity work.
Vadhvana Wetland and Eco Campsite :
This irrigation reservoir and wetland located 10 kms from Dabhoi and 20 kms from the Jambughoda village, is the water source for 25 nearby villages, and a popular birdwatching site for species including stork, tern, ibis, and spoonbill. To get here you will have to rent a vehicle from Dabhoi, taking the Nanderi Gate road.
A part from being a wetland, it also has an eco tourism campsite. The best time to visit the wetland is from October to March cause that is the main migratory seasons for birds which migrate here from all over the world.
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.
Kadia Dungar Caves :
Seven rock-cut caves and monolithic lion pillars are present at Kadia Dungar, near Bharuch. The caves suggest that they were viharas. A Brick stupa was also found in the foothills. These caves were in use during 1st and 2nd century AD.
Chhota Udepur :
Towards the border with Rajasthan, Chhota Udepur shares a history with Devgadh Baria and Rajpipla as one of the three princely states of eastern Gujarat. The small town sits on the edge of a big lake, with a series of temples along the skyline. The Jain temple is an interesting example of the influence of Victorian art on local building styles. Structures from the 1920s such as the Kusum Vilas Palace (also a heritage hotel) and Prem Bhavan are also worth visiting, though they need permission from the local royal family.