Situated on the banks of Vishwamitri River, Vadodara is a significant tourist destination in Gujrat. Previously, known as the capital city of Gaekwad, it now embraces some of the most beautiful cultural heritage sites. The city of Baroda, prominent by the name Vadodara, has seen the reign of several rulers, many of which build magnificent palaces, scenic lakes and blossoming parks. King Sayaji Rao III was one of the most dynamic rulers and proved himself a first-class planner. Today, the cosmopolitan culture and modern outlook of the city along with a blend of rich culture makes Baroda a fantastic place for holidaying with family.
The growing industrial sector and prominent center for academics has helped Vadodara to earn recognition in the recent years. The monuments here exhibit incredible architecture and reveal the glorious past of the city. Many tourists from different parts of the world choose this destination to spend a wonderful holiday. Distance between Pune and Baroda is approximately 587 kilometers and people can easily book taxi to make their journey comfortable.
Vadodra – The City of Culture
During the 10th century, Baroda was ruled by Chalukya dynasty followed by many other rulers and then finally by the Maratha General Pilaji Gaekwad. In the reign of General Gaekwad, Baroda saw major developments and only after this period, modern era of the city came into existence. However, King Sayaji Rao III, during his supremacy introduced many developments and socio economic reforms that proved fruitful and thus the city earned the title ‘The City of Culture’.
Festival of Nine Nights
The festival of nine nights, Navratri is very grandly celebrated and is illustrious in Baroda. People offer prayers to Goddess Durga, make special snacks, decorate their houses and dance all night. The famous dance form called Garba fills people with a lot of enthusiasm and encourages them to dance past midnight. Huge grounds are especially taken on rent, decorated with lights and prepared for the occasion. Diwali, Holi, Uttarayan and Ganesh Chathurti are some festivals which are celebrated with great enthusiasm and excitement.
City still upholds the culture, which can be easily witnessed at places like Vadodra museum, Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum, Picture Gallery and Nandlal Bose murals of Bhagvad Gita at old Kirti temple. Best time to visit this place is during winters, when the temperature is little chilly and provides relief from the scorching heat of summers.
Places To See
Kadia Dungar Caves – The Buddhist caves came into being during 1st and 2nd century. The caves accommodate seven different caves with monolithic lion pillars and a stupa made of bricks at the foot hills.
Maharaja Sayajirao University – Considered as one of the most renowned educational institutions with a remarkable archaeological department that enshrines findings from Harappan civilization, MS University is worth a visit. Departments of Performing Arts and Fine Arts have helped this institution to gain recognition.
Lakshmi Villas Palace – The palace was built in the year 1890 during the reign of Maharaja Sayajirao. Major Charles Mant and R. F Chisolm were appointed for the construction of this palace. It was ensured that the palace was built keeping Indian, Islamic and European architectural style in mind. Today, tourists can experience Indo-Saracenic folklore in the entire palace and revel in the magnificence of this royal palace.
Nazarbaugh Palace – Nazarbaugh Palace was considered as the guest house for the royal family. Built in the year 1721, the palace is made of white stucco and preserves solid gold and silver guns. It also exhibits the clothes embroidered with precious stones, seed pearls and jewels of Gaekwad family, which are worth watching.
Makarpura Palace – Built by King Khende Rao in 1870, Makarpura Palace was the summer palace that exhibited Italian style of architecture. Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III renovated the entire palace. These days, Indian Air Force uses the location for various trainings and therefore, this palace is not open to public.
Ankottaka – Located on the banks of river Viswamitri, Ankottaka or Akota is a small town that is well known for 68 bronze images of tirthankars, which were discovered from this site. Currently the images are placed in Vadodara Museum. During 5th and 6th century, Akota was known as the key center for Jains and Jain studies.
Sayaji Baug – Maharaja Sayajirao III built the huge park in year 1879. Park embraces a planetarium, zoo, toy train, a flower clock, an astronomy park and 45 hectares of garden grounds. It is also known by the name Kamati Baug and is worth a visit.
Sri Aurobindo Niwas – Located at Dandia Bazaar, Sri Aurobindo Niwas is a popular ashram that attracts many people from different parts of city. The niwas houses the remnants of the yogi, Rishi Aurobindo Ghosh and is open for people to meditate.
Dabhoi – Earlier known by the name, Darbhavati is a primeval fortified town that has a lot of significance in Jain scriptures of Grinar. The fort of Dabhoi is a perfect example of rich cultural heritage in Baroda. It embraces four main gates namely, Hira Bhagol, Vadodara gate, Champaner gate and Nandod gate. The town is also known as a pilgrimage center for Jains and incorporates 6 other temples.
Chote Udepur – Located at the border of Rajasthan, Chote Udepur is one of the princely states that accommodate an assortment of ancient temples within the periphery. Jain temple found here is known for its unique Victorian architecture and attracts a lot of tourists every year. While visiting Chote Udepur, Kusum Vilas Palace, Prem Bhavan and the tribal market should not be missed. Furthermore, a trip in the narrow gauge train is a must watch while visiting Baroda.
Things To Do
The city rich in its culture attracts thousands of people every year from all around the country. There are many museums, palaces and caves in and around this place where tourists can experience the rich culture. Festival of nine nights, Navratri is celebrated with great enthusiasm in Baroda. During this time, the entire city is full of colors, decorated with lights and is a delight to see.