Vadodara, the cultural capital of Gujarat, earlier known as Baroda, is the third largest city in the state. Located on the banks of the river Vishwamitri, Vadodara has a lot of tourist attractions. Vadodara is home to the royal family of Gaekwads and it also houses the largest university of Gujarat, the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda.
After the Rajput ruler, Raja Chandan conquered the present day Vadodara from the Jains it was named as Chandanvati. Later, the city got several names until it was christened Vadodara, referring to the Sanskrit term Vatodar, which means the belly of a banyan tree.
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Vadodara is well-connected to Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad. Hence, it is known as the Gateway to the Golden Quadrilateral. Vadodara celebrates Navratri with great fervour and gaiety and it would be amazing to see the garba dancers in the colourful attire.
Let us go through the major attractions of Vadodara to plan our itinerary accordingly during our visit to this charming place.
1. Laxmi Vilas Palace
A private dwelling that is four times bigger than the Buckingham Palace, Laxmi Vilas Palace is one of the architectural wonders of Vadodara. The palace has modern facilities of elevators.
The palace still remains an abode of the royal family of Vadodara. Built in the Indo-Saracenic architectural style, the palace was completed in the year 1980 and the palace has been featured in a lot of Hindi blockbuster movies.
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2. Sayaji Baug
Sayaji Baug is a beautiful garden dedicated to the citizens of Vadodara by Maharaja Sayaji Rao Gaekwad III in 1879. The garden is popularly known as Kamati Baug and is one of the largest gardens in Western India.
The garden has 98 species of trees and is filled with rich flora and fauna. The garden is spread across 113 acres of land and it also houses the Sayaji Baug Zoo, the Baroda Museum, a Picture Gallery and the Sardar Vallabhai Patel Planetarium.
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3. EME Temple
Dakshinamurthy, another form of Lord Shiva is the presiding deity of this unique temple. The temple was built by the Indian army authorities in the modern architectural style. The temple signifies secularism displaying various religions followed in our country.
The sacred pot installed on the temple tower signifies Hinduism while the dome is constructed to showcase the importance of Islam. Lord Dakshinamurthy is positioned on the tower which represents Christianity and the golden top displays the principles of Buddhism. The fire inside the temple is the symbol of Zoroastrianism and the entrance of the temple is built as per Jainism principles.
4. Sursagar Lake
Known as Chand Talao, Sursagar Lake is located in the middle of Vadodara city.
The lake has a 120 ft tall statue of Lord Shiva installed in it and the water in the lake never dries up. There are underground gates that empty the water into Vishwamitra river when the water level increases in the lake. The statue of Lord Shiva is lit up during the Shivratri festival and is a great sight to behold.
The beautiful island located in the middle of the river Narmada attracts a lot of travellers. There are boats available from the Shuklatirth Shiva temple to Kabirvad. Kabirvad stretches over an area of 3 km covered with huge banyan trees which have grown over the years.
The place was once a home to the great Indian saint, Kabir and hence the name Kabirvad. There is also a shrine dedicated to this great saint which is frequented by a lot of visitors and devotees. Away from the maddening crowd, to enjoy the solitude, Kabirvad is an apt place in Vadodara.
PC : Gujarat Tourism