Anshuman Gaekwad might be the best known of the distinguished royals of Vadodara (earlier Baroda) but the city owes its fame and prosperity to another magnanimous member of his family. Maharaja Sayaji Rao Gaekwad, who made Baroda a Sanskari Nagari (cultured city) as the locals would have itâ€¦and why not? Sayaji Rao lived in the magnificent Laxmi Vilas Palace. Faiyaz Khan of the celebrated Agra Gharana sang for him. Raja Ravi Verma painted for his family. Seek and you will find his illustrious legacy preserved in the many museums and art galleries strewn all over the city.
HOW TO REACH
Vadodara airport has daily and weekly connections to Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad. The airport is 6km from the city and auto rickshaws and taxis are available outside. The bigger hotels also arrange airport to city transfers, if you are booked to stay with them.
Vadodara lies on the main broad gauge railway lines between Mumbai-Ahmedabad and Mumbai-Delhi, so there are several trains to choose from including the two superfast Shatabdi Express trains to Ahmedabad and Mumbai and the Rajdhani Express to Delhi.
Vadodara is very well connected by road to various parts of India. State government run buses ply to the neighbouring states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Within Gujarat, Vadodara is connected to Ahmedabad, Surat and Bhavnagar by regular roadways buses and deluxe air-conditioned coaches. Information and reservations can be done at the Central Bus Stand opposite the Vadodara Railway Station.
WHAT TO SEE
Laxmi Vilas Palace :-
This is the residence of the royal family that was built by Maharaja Sayajirao III in 1878 in the Indo-Saracenic style completed in 1890. The palace has an extensive collection of sculptures (bronze and marble) as well as some old armour pieces that are interesting. The Fatehsingh Rao Museum on the grounds is good for those interested in old paintings and other art objects. Save time for a visit to the nearby Naulakhi Well – a baoli (step-well).
Baroda Museum :-
Baroda MuseumÂ Was built in 1894 and has an extensive art collection including several works by reputed British and other European artists. Other attractions are the Egyptian mummy, a skeleton of a blue whale, elegant Akota bronzes (5th century AD), Mughal miniatures and a gallery of Tibetan Art.
Nyaya Mandir :-
It is a splendid example of Byzantine architecture and is well worth a visit. Today it doubles as the Baroda District Court. This medieval structure is imposing both in proportion and style and makes for a great visit especially on weekends when the courts remain closed.
Sayajibaug and Sardar Patel Planetarium :-
A park built by Sayaji rao III in 1879, situated on the banks of the Vishwamitri. Spread over 113 acres, the attractions other than the greens are many – including a zoo, the Vadodara Museum and Picture Gallery, the Museum of Health and Hygiene and the Sardar Patel Planetarium. Kids get a kick trying the toy train that traverses the park.
Nazarbaug Palace :-
The royal art collection is brimming with works of masters like Raphael, Titian and Murillo. Also displayed are pieces, which can be classified under modern western, Indian paintings, Greco-Roman exhibits, Chinese and Japanese art. The extensive collection of contemporary Indian art is noteworthy.
All about buying hand crafted furniture, textiles and the entire selection of handicrafts that Gujarat is so famous for. The bulk of shopping is done in the shops at Raopura, Mandvi, Teen Darwaza, and Lehripura Mandir Bazaar. More modern shops selling contemporary fashion apparel and furnishings can be found at Alkapuri Arcade and National Plaza.
All about savouring some of the scrumptious fare available in the city. In the more reasonably priced restaurants in Vadodara, Indian, South Indian, local Gujarati, Chinese cuisine and fast food like burgers and pizzas are available.
For north Indian and Mughlai food, visit the Zaika restaurant or the rooftop restaurant in Sayaji Hotel which serves a varied cuisine.[para} Vadodara does have its fair share of discos, coffee shops, and night clubs. Other avenues of entertainment are the numerous movie theatres that screen all the latest releases.