Baroda is also known as Vadodara the Cultural Capital of Gujarat, is the third largest city in the Western Indian State of Gujarat, after Ahmedabad and Surat. and is located on the banks of the Vishwamitri river.
Baroda State has a rich historical background. The ardent historian can trace Baroda’s history over 2000 years and more. The first noted history of the city was of the early trader settlers who settled in the region in 812 A.D. The province was mainly Hindu-dominated with Hindu kings ruling till the year 1297.
The Gupta Dynasty was the first power rulers of the region. After fierce battles, the region was taken over by the Chalukya Dynasty. Finally, the kingdom was annexed by the Solankis. By this time the Muslim rule had spread across India, and the reins of power were then snatched by the Delhi Sultans. The city was ruled for a long time by these Sultans, until they were easily overthrown by the grand Mughal emperors.
The Mughals biggest problem were the mighty Marathas who slowly but eventually took over the region. It became the capital of the Maratha Gaekwads. Sayaji Rao III was the most able ruler of them, and he made many public and bureaucratic implementations in the region. The British had a major influence on the region but Vadodara remained a princely state till Independence and like all other princely states, Vadodara also joined the Republic of India in 1947.
The former residence of the erstwhile royal family, this grand palace was commissioned by Sayajirao Gaekwad III in 1890, and designed by British architects Major Charles Mant and RF Chisolm. Tickets include a free audio guide—essential to get a historical background of the palace's rich architectural and artistic heritage. Designed in the Indo-Saracenic style, Laxmi Vilas blends Hindu, Islamic and European elements. The highlights include the grand Durbar Hall, which has a Venetian mosaic floor, Belgian stained glass windows and Italian sculptures, and an art museum. Dotted with sculptures, the palace's sprawling grounds are home to the Gaekwad Baroda Golf Club and a miniature railway line. There's also a pretty baoli or step-well, located at a distance of 50 metres from the palace.
Located 47 kilometres away from Baroda, this UNESCO World Heritage Site consists of the historical cities of Champaner and Pavagadh. The site's star attractions are its beautiful mosques of which unquestionably the most striking is the massive Jama Masjid. Also strewn about are remnants of several palaces, fortifications, gateways, cemeteries, step wells and water tanks, all built between the 8th and 14th centuries. Nearby, the Pavagadh hill has an ancient fort, the medieval Hindu Lakulisha temple, the tiny but popular Kali Mata temple and a few Jain shrines. Make sure you take the cable car to the top for views and thrills.
Long known as the centre of learning for fine arts, this reputed university traces its origins to the Baroda College, which was founded by the city's rulers in 1881. Its campus has several historic buildings, and small museums of archaeology, botany, musical instruments and geology. For instance, the Premanand Hall in the Arts Faculty is built in the Indo-Saracenic style and boasts of a massive dome that rises to a height of 144 feet. Other heritage structures include Kalabhavan, White House, DN Hall and the Science Observatory. Check out the archaeology department's museum, which has several Buddhist relics sourced from the Buddhist site of Dev Ni Mori in the northern part Gujarat.
Established in 1961, this museum located inside the Lakshmi Vilas Palace displays paintings from the collection of the Gaekwad family. Its star attractions include paintings by European artists such as Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt, and portraits by the 19th century Indian artist Raja Ravi Verma. There are also sections dedicated to the Rococo period, Chinese and Japanese porcelain objects. Don't miss the toy train which was gifted by Pratapsinhrao Gaekwad to his son Ranjitsinh Gaekwad.
In the heart of the city and on the banks of the Vishwamitri River, this green space encloses the Vadodara Museum and Picture Gallery, the History of Health Museum, a zoo, a planetarium, and a toy train. Originally named after Sayajirao III who got it built in 1879, the park is commonly referred to as Kamati Baug. You'll need a few hours to explore the entire sprawl spread over no less than 45 acres.
This four-storey wooden mansion was the residence of Bhau Tambekar, the Diwan of Baroda(1849-54) and draws visitors for its beautiful wall murals. These feature the Hindu god Krishna, scenes from the epic Mahabharata, the Anglo-Maratha war, and European subjects.