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The City of Palaces - Vadodara, Gujarat

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Vadodara or Baroda, situated on the banks of river Vishwamitri is the third largest city in Gujarat. The interesting city has an eventful past and a vibrant present as well. Originally named after the vast number of Banyan trees in the region, Vadodara is now an industrial hub as well and plays a key role in the economy of the country. Once the home to the Maratha Gaekwads, the city has many monuments to capture your attention, including grand palaces.

The city offers a little something for every kind of traveller, whether you are a history buff or artist or a businessman, the city will impress you. Explore the many monument, museums, gardens and other tourist attractions that Vadodara offers. Here are some of the must-visit places in Vadodara.

Laxmi Vilas Palace

Laxmi Vilas Palace

One of the most opulent places to visit in Vadodara is the Laxmi Vilas Palace. Built by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III, it has the remarkable title of the largest private residence in the world. It is supposedly over four times the size of the Buckingham palace. Sporting grand yet sophisticated architecture, the palace grounds has many attractions ranging from the Moti Baugh Palace to the Fateh Singh Museum. Vivid stained glass work, elaborate tile work and sculptures adorn this massive palace. Visitors are often left enthralled and speechless at the beauty that Laxmi Vilas Palace exudes to this day.

Photo Courtesy: Emmanuel Dyan

Kirti Mandir

Kirti Mandir

Another place to visit in Vadodara is the Kirti Mandir. It is built in solemn memory of the Gaekwad ancestors by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III in 1936. The cenotaph is an elaborate structure, built with stone for the external parts and interiors in marble. Decoration within the cenotaph includes vibrant wall murals and detailed carvings. Other article on display are photographs of the royal family and various statues. The cenotaph is also a set of temples dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.

Photo Courtesy: Emmanuel Dyan

Khanderao Market

Khanderao Market

Among the palatial buildings of Vadodara is another place to visit, the Khanderao Market. Built in 1906, the impressive structure with a grand entrance is now used as the Vadodara Municipal Corporation office. It has gained popularity as a market for the variety of shops that have been set up at the back of the building. The market sells a variety of products including vegetables, fruits and flowers.

Photo Courtesy: VMC

Hazira Maqbara

Hazira Maqbara

A famous place in Vadodara is the Hazira Maqbara. It is the mausoleum of Muhhamed Khan and Naurang Khan, personalities that held important positions in Gujarat under the rule of King Akbar. The structures are built in Mughal style. The building has an elevated structure in with eight sides and five arches on each side. Interestingly the tomb chamber is false and the actual burial is underground. Arabic texts from the holy book of Quran are delicately carved on the inner walls of the Maqbara. The structures are surrounded by well-maintained gardens.

Photo Courtesy: Abhishekmechdutta

Baroda Museum and Picture Gallery

Baroda Museum and Picture Gallery

If you are interested in a trip that educates as well as entertains, head over to a famous place in Vadodara, the Baroda Museum and Picture Gallery. The museum showcases a variety of artefacts ranging from the famed Akota Bronzes from the 5th century AD, Mughal miniatures, an Egyptian mummy and even a Blue Whale's skeleton! The picture gallery has a wide range of masterpiece paintings that are works of famous European artists and other works such as a complete gallery of Tibetan Art. You can visit the museum on any day of the week between 10:30 am to 5:00 pm. It remains closed on the days of government holiday.

Photo Courtesy: Emmanuel Dyan

Sayaji Baug

Sayaji Baug

The large garden spanning across 113 acres, Sayaji Baugh is a key sightseeing place in Vadodara. The garden is home to a variety of trees and other vegetation. It also houses the Baroda Museum and Picture Gallery, Sardar Patel Planetarium, zoo, aquarium and well-maintained gardens. A popular feature of the park is the Floral Clock, a part of the garden landscape and constructed by planting various varieties of grass and bushes, the 20 ft in diameter clock has the hour, minute and seconds hands with the machinery located underground, giving it a rather unique look.

Photo Courtesy: Emmanuel Dyan

Kirti Stambh

Kirti Stambh

It represents both an iconic symbol of the city as well as a famous sightseeing place in Vadodara. The Kirti Stambh or the Tower of Victory is located in the vicinity of Polo Ground. It was built in 1935 to mark the 60th year of Sayajirao Gaekwad III's rule. Constructed in pink Songadh stone, the monument is said to have a deeper philosophical meaning. It is said to represent the decision of the King to leave a life of luxury to live his last few years attaining salvation. This is represented by the statue of a lion atop the pillar with its back facing the Laxmi Vilas Palace and the face towards the east.

Photo Courtesy: Shakti

Pratap Vilas Palace

Pratap Vilas Palace

A popular tourist attraction in Vadodara is the Pratap Vilas Palace, presently functioning as the National Academy of Indian Railways. Built in 1914 A.D. the palace is also known as the Lalbaug Palace. The grand palace sports a confluence of styles from various parts of the country. The stately columns and elegant archways are noteworthy. Intricate carvings of nature-based motifs such as flowers, creepers and birds make the palace unique. Today, the palace grounds offers other attractions such as picturesque gardens and a miniature railway model.

Photo Courtesy: Indian Institute of Students

Food and Stay

Food and Stay

A variety of Gujarati cuisine can be tried at the various restaurants available in Vadodara. Try the variety of rotis (pancakes made from wheat) that are made with various ingredients such as the delicious methi rotis. Explore the side dishes or farsan and popular snacks that are widely available on the streets. For a full meal, don't miss out on the Gujarati Thali.

For the best hotel deals in Vadodara, click here.

Photo Courtesy: Devika

How to reach Vadodara

How to reach Vadodara

By Road: Vadodara enjoys excellent connectivity to major cities in the region by a network of good roads. The NH-8, expressway and state highways connect Baroda to various destinations.

By Rail: The Vadodara Railway Junction is one of the busiest stations in the country and has many trains connecting the city to various cities and towns in the country.

By Air: Vadodara Airport has regular domestic flights to key destinations such as Delhi and Mumbai. For international flights, the nearest airport is the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

Photo Courtesy: Emmanuel Dyan

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