Vadodara, or Baroda as it is still commonly called was the capital of the princely state of Gaekwad prior to Independence. The earliest mention of Vadodara is in a grant or charter of 812 that identifies it as Vadapadraka, a village attached to the nearby town of Ankottaka. In the 10th century Vadapadraka replaced Ankottaka as the main town. The city was once called Chandravati, then Viravati and then Vadpatra because of the abundance of banyan trees on the banks of the Vishwamitri. From Vadpatra it derived its present name. Today, Vadodara, is a pleasant medium-sized city with some interesting museums, art galleries and a fine park.
Vadodara’s chief attractions are located in Sayaji Bagh, a large green park. Situated here are a number of museums, the planetarium, zoo and a vintage toy train. Of particular interest is the Baroda Museum and Picture Gallery which houses art and textiles from across the world, Gujarati archaeological remains and Moghul miniatures. South of the centre, the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum houses a royal art collection including copies of European masters and examples of Graeco-Roman, Chinese and Japanese art.
Beyond Vadodara, is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Champener, a ruined Muslim city. The Hill of Pavagadh, with its ruined fort rises beside Champener in three levels. In the month of Chaitra (March/April), a major festival takes place at the foot of the hill, honouring the goddess Mahakali.
A flamboyant showcase of Rajasthani architecture and a firm favourite on tourist itineraries as the third corner of India’s ‘Golden ...