Vadodara (earlier known as Baroda) is known as the Cultural Capital of Gujarat and owes its cultural heritage to the Gaekwad dynasty, a prominent Maratha family during their rule over the Baroda state from 1721 – 1947.
Lakshmi Vilas Palace is the most prominent architectural contribution of Gaekwad dynasty in Vadodara. The Palace is an extravagant building of the Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture, built under the rule of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III in 1890. The palace grounds include a golf course and Sayajirao’s personal museum, containing, among other displays, original paintings by Raja Ravi Varma. A one-hour audio guide is provided at the time of admission to the palace with an entry fee of Rs. 100.
Some interesting facts:
- It is said to be the largest private residential palace built till date and is four times the size of Buckingham Palace. It is said to be built at a a cost of GBP 180,000.
- The palace structure represents mix of Indian, Islamic, and European elements. This is prominently visible from the outside view of the palace.
- The highlight of the palace is the Darbar Hall. It has a Venetian mosaic floor, Belgium stained glass windows and walls with intricate mosaic decorations.Outside of the Darbar Hall is an Italianate courtyard of water fountains.
- Not to miss is the collection of old armory and sculptures in bronze, marble & terracotta by Fellici.
- The palace remains the residence of the Royal Family.
- Also on display is Small model of the The Flying Scotsman train that used to take the Princes & Princesses from the Palace to the Princes School (now Maharaja Fatehsingh Musuem). It is Worlds’s Smallest Locomotive Steam Engines. This train was gifted by the Maharja of Baroda, Pratapsingh Gaekwad to his childrens in 1941.
Pictures of Palace:
Maharaja Fatesingh Museum
If you are ardent enthusiast for paintings, art work and sculptures, then you should also visit Maharaja Fatesingh Museum situated in Laxmi Vilas Palace compound in the erstwhile Motibag School building where members of royal family completed their schooling.
The museum exhibits beautiful paintings of Raja Ravi Verma, Ph. Bose, Felici, Fyzee Rehman and other European Artists.The museum also has collection of impressive sculptures, glasswork and Chinese and Japanese porcelain.
Picture of other Vadodara Historical monuments
- Best time to visit : Nov – Feb
- Once can also visit Kirti Mandir, a cluster of temples dedicated to Lord Shiva built by Maharaj Sayajirao Gaekwad in 1936, in the memory of deceased members of the royal Gaekwad family. See picture above.