Vadodara or Baroda, situated on the banks of the river Vishwamitri was earlier the capital city of the Gaekwad state. Archaeological remains dating back to two thousand years around the river Vishwamitri clarify that there was a small settlement known as the Ankottaka, near a grove of Akola trees, which is now called Akota. Then a kilometer down east, a locality came up near a thick forest of vad or Banyan trees. This area was called Vadapadraka. In the place of Vadapadraka, today's Vadodora has come up. The word Vadodara is derived from the word 'Vatodar'. This Sanskrit word means 'the stomach of the banyan tree'. Later during British rule this name degenerated into Baroda and was known so until recently till it returned to the original name.
The city limits were once marked by four gates. These gates are still standing. In the 10th century Vadodara was ruled by the Chalukya dynasty, followed by the Solankis, the Vaghelas and the Sultans of Delhi and Gujarat. The Maratha general Pilaji Gaekwad is the one who developed this area and commenced the modern era of Vadodara's history. Before him the Babi Nawabs also contributed to the development of Vadodara. The Reign of Maharaja Sayajirao III is considered the golden era of Vadodara, as the city witnessed the most significant developments and social-economic reforms that were very progressive in the context of time of implementation. The city of Vadodara was called as the Sanskari Nagari or The City of Culture because of his unprecedented patronage of culture.
Vadodara is very famous for its Garba celebrations all over Gujarat. Navratri or Garba is celebrated with song, dance, lights and great enthusiasm at the local Garba grounds. During this occasion Raasa and Garba dances often go past midnight. Diwali, Uttarayan, Holi, Eid, Gudi Padwa and Ganesh Chaturthi are some other festivals celebrated with great excitement in Vadodara.
Vadodara, keeping up to its name ‘Sanskari Nagari’, upholds culture. The vast collection, at the Vodadara Museum and the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum, the Nandlal Bose murals of the Bhagvad Gita in the old Kirti Mandir, the Maharaja Sayaji University and the Picture Gallery are all examples of the rich culture that developed due to the patronage of the Gaekwads.
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Located on the banks of the River Vishwamitri, the Vadodara city is in central of Gujarat. The river usually dries up in summer, barring only a small stream of water. The city is in the in between plains of Mahi & Narmada Rivers. Due to increasing susceptibility to earthquakes the Bureau of Indian Standards has rated the town under seismic zone-III, in a scale of I to V.
The Vishwamitri river divides Vadodara geographically into two regions- eastern and western. The old city is on the eastern bank of the river that includes the old city of Vadodara. On the western side of Vishwamitri is the new city of Vadodara. This part of the city is well-planned with modern amenities.
Vadodara features a tropical savanna climate. There are three main seasons: Summer, Monsoon and Winter. Other than the monsoon season, the climate is usually dry. The summer is hot and dry. During monsoon its humid and there are sporadic heavy torrential rains .Winter is chill due to the northerly winds.
Vadodara is well connected with Delhi, Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Mumbai. Within the city public transport vehicles like buses, auto rickshaws and taxis are available for telecommuting buses has made public transportation quite easy. The popular vehicles amongst the public are cars, scooters, motorcycles and bicycles.
Kadia Dungar Caves, the Lakshmi Vilas Palace, the Nazarbaugh Palace, the Makarpura Palace, Sri Aurobindo Niwas, Ankottaka, Sayaji Baug, Sursagar Talav, Dabhoi, Chotta Udepur are all historical places of tourist attraction. The natural parks like Vadhvana Wetland & Eco Campsite provide a wonderful opportunity to see migratory birds. Sankheda; widely renowned for the lacquered woodwork technique used on furniture and craft items is also a place to visit to get a first hand experience of the process and buy craft works.
With all the cultural activities which is alive from the days of the Gaekwads and also with the natural diversities, Vadodara definitely is a place to visit.