Vadodara, also known as Baroda, is the third largest city of Gujarat. Quieter than the capital Ahmedabad, Baroda resides on the banks of River Vishwamitri. After taking over The British in Gujarat the Marathas took the city under them. The Gaekwad clan of the Marathas made Vadodara as their capital and Maharaj Sayajirao III laid the foundations of the modern Vadodara. It is also known to be one of the fastest growing cities of Gujarat and is also an institutional hub. Vadodara is said to be the cultural capital of Gujarat. Enlisted here are the top 10 places to visit while in Vadodara.
1. Ajwa Nimeta Dam and Gardens
The Ajwa Nimeta Dam gets its name from Ajwa- the Lake and Nimeta- the Power Plant operating on the dam. The dam is built on the Vishwamitri River and fulfils the water requirements of the city people. The dam was constructed in the 20th century is about 5 km long. The Gardens of Ajwa Nimeta are a local attraction because of the colourful dancing fountains that are all along on the central line of the garden. The place also has a fun park and is hit amongst the locals.
2. Laxmi Vilas Palace
The royal home of the Gaekwads, Laxmi Vilas Palace is the largest private abode built till now. The size of the palace is about four times of the Buckingham Palace and has all the modern amenities. This architectural marvel dwells on both the Eastern and Western type of architecture. With the exteriors show casing the Indian touch the plush interiors match the European luxuries. One can admire the art and the architecture of the palace. With a lush golf course and with the ornate durbar halls, the palace speaks the splendid history.
3. EME Temple
The EME Temple or also known as the Dakshinamurthi Temple is built by the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Corps. The temple is one of its kinds as it depicts five main religions of India. The temple has army style architecture and is a pleasant sight. Lord Dakhshinamurthi is worshipped in the temple. The Kalash signifies the Hindu religion, the dome stands for Islam, The tower represents Christianity, the golden structure over the tower stands for Buddhism and the entrance of the temple stands for the Jainism. Since the idol is facing the south hence the name Dakhshinamurthi.
4. Nazarbaug Palace
One of the oldest monuments of Vadodara, Nazarbaug Palace was the royal abode of the Gaekwad’s clan. The palace was built in the early 18th Century and was a three storey monument. The overall value of the property was in billions and after an alleged robbery the palace now remains in the ruins. The glory of the original abode is lost but even the ruins transport you to a time back in history.
5. Kirti Stambh
Built in 1935, Kirti Stambh or the tower of fame was constructed by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III. The Kirti Stambh is one of the highest towers of the city and stands tall as a sign of victory. The Tower has a lion on the top that is faming eastwards and its back is towards the famous Laxmi Vilas Palace. As per Hindu Mythology it is said that the movement eastwards is for salvation, hence the lion faces east.
6. Sayaji Baug
From Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Sayaji baug built on the River Vishwamitri has 45 hectare garden and has an aquarium along with two museums. The garden is the largest in west India and houses close to 100 species of flowering plants. The beautiful garden has three entrance gates. The Baroda Museum and Picture Gallery are built in the garden along with the Sayaji Zoo and Sardar Patel Planetarium. The major attraction of the garden is the floral clock.
7. Baroda Museum and Picture Gallery
Resembling London’s famous Victoria & Albert and Science Museums the Baroda Museum and Picture Gallery were built. The place houses some beautiful paintings of European painters and also has miniatures from the Mughal reign. Some paintings are a replica of the originals but are a masterpiece. The major attraction of the museum is an Egyptian mummy and a skeleton of a blue whale. Both the architecture and the possessions of the place are marvellous.
8. Champaner – Pavgadh
The world heritage sites of Champaner and Pavgadh are a major reason of tourists flocking to Vadodara. The place was civilized centuries back, a little miniature town of the bygone era, was then lost in the jungles and were only discovered few centuries back in a demolished and ruined condition. A palace, some mosques, the narrow streets which were once live now is an archaeological marvel. There are also Jain and Hindu temples that are well preserved and are amazingly constructed.
9. Kadia Dunger Caves
Reflecting an imprint of Buddhist culture the Kadia Dunger Caves were built in the 1st and the 2nd century AD on a mountain top. These caves are a collection of seven caves that show Vihara style of architecture. The brick stupa on the stone at the foothills is another attraction of the place apart from the monolithic lion pillars. The caves have a religious vibe that enchants its visitors.
10. Chhota Udaipur
Sitting on the edges of a huge lake, b shares the boundaries with Rajasthan. It has a series of temples that could be seen distinctly from the skyline of the place. The Jain temple is famous for its Victorian Style architecture. The area also has a royal palace and is an amalgam of culture, heritage and religion.
Sitting proudly depicting Indian history, Vadodara is a town that didn’t surrender to the British Raj. The place is a beautiful amalgam of the Indian history and European architecture.