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Tourist Places To Visit In Vadodara (Baroda)
“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta. This is so true, isn’t it? As we travel to different places and meet different people, memories of our visits remain forever with us and we cherish them as long as we live.
A visit to Vadodara will be an experience of a lifetime. It is one of the finest places in India with a rich cultural and traditional history. From majestic palaces to alluring temples, Vadodara is not only an ideal place to spend a memorable weekend but also to learn so much about the beauty of its architectural brilliance.
Vadodara comes alive, especially during the Navratri festival where you see the true color of its culture and tradition. So make sure not to miss out on visiting Vadodara to experience the Gujarati essence. Let us walk you through some of the best tourist places to visit in Vadodara.
One of the most visited places in Vadodara is the astounding palace known as the Makarpura palace. It was built by Maharaja of the Gaekwad dynasty, Khanderao Gaekwad II, in 1870. The specialty of this magnificent architecture is its design which is Italian. This royal palace is a souvenir of the Gaekwad dynasty and it still stands tall for over 140 years.
This majestic palace was famous for being the Summer Palace for Maharaja Gaekwad and his family. The distinct highlight of this ‘three-storeyed structure’ was its 130-acre garden built in typical Japanese style. It was designed by Kew, William Goldring, the architect of Royal Botanical Gardens. It had a massive swimming pool and a lake filled with swans. The garden also had Italian-styled ivory fountains which were animated to welcome the king.
This amazing structure is now a training spot of the Indian Air Force and is closed for public viewing. Nevertheless, the tall arches, numerous pillars, and the rows of miniature spires of this grand building will charm any tourist, who happens to pass by.
Sayaji Baug, also known as the Kamati Baug, was built by Maharaja Sayaji Rao Gaekwad III in 1879, and was named after him. Sayaji Baug is the largest garden in the western region of India which is located in Central Vadodara. It stretches over 113 acres (0.46 km2 approx) and has a rich flora of over 98 different categories of trees.
Apart from its enchanting greenery, the garden also has many spots which attract travellers. The Sardar Patel Planetarium, Sayaji Baug Zoo, Baroda Museum, and Picture Gallery are some of the best attractions of the Sayaji Baug. There is also a toy train for children to move around the garden.
Built in the year 1894, the Baroda Museum and Picture Gallery within Sayaji Baug has a prolific collection of ethnography, art, sculpture, and ethnology. Some major attractions of this museum include Egyptian mummy and a skeleton of a blue whale. The picture gallery, opened in 1921, displays the artworks of British painters. The Floral Clock inside the park is remarkable and first of its kind in the state. The clock has a natural look and its machinery works underground. The hour, minute, and seconds hands move on a 20 ft diameter dial.
- Museum and Picture Gallery: 10:30 am to 5 pm, all days
- Garden: 9:30 am to 6 pm, all days
- Planetarium: 4 pm to 4:30 pm (Gujarati), 5 pm to 5:30 pm (English), and 6 pm to 6:30 pm (Hindi)
- Museum and Picture Gallery: INR 10 for Indians, and INR 200 for Foreigners
- Planetarium: INR 7 per adult, and INR 5 per child
Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park
Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park is a Cultural UNESCO World Heritage Site located near the historical city of Champaner, a city built by Sultan of Gujarat Shah Mahmud Gujarat, in the Panchmahal district. It is located at a distance of 50 km to the east of Vadodara.
The place is filled with monuments that have a splendid mix of Islamic and Hindu architecture from the 15th and the 16th centuries known as the pre-Mughal era. Some of the main tourist attractions include the Jami Masjid of Champaner which is the main mosque where people offer prayers, especially on Fridays. It is built from the limestone which is available locally and has mesmerizing shades of pink and yellow. Every section of the Jami Masjid is an incredible piece of art.
Another attraction is the Tomb of Sikander Shah on the Champaner-Halol road. It is a circular structure with a tomb of the Shah inside it. The entire place is spacious. Finally, there is another beautiful structure named ‘EK Minar ki Masjid’ (one columned mosque). There is just one pillar standing tall, surrounded by nothing. The gate of the pillar is locked permanently, however, there are some exquisite carvings beneath the balconies on each floor.
This place is especially for those who love photography and will take one complete day to visit it properly. A site map is available at the Jami Masjid which will help you move around the place easily. It is advised to hire a local vehicle and try to reach this place by sunrise to get mesmerized by the scene, golden sunshine hitting those marvelous pink and yellow hues on the monument. The perfect time to visit this place is between November and January.
Location: Champaner, Gujarat
Timing: 8:30 am to 5 pm, all days
EME Temple, also known as the Dakshinamurti Temple, was built in the year 1966 by the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (EME) Corporations. This temple is dedicated to Dakshinamurti, a form of Shiva as supreme teacher. It is run and managed by the Indian Army Authorities. It incorporates holy symbols of all religions in its structure and design:
The ‘Kalash‘ symbolizes Hinduism
The ‘Dome‘ symbolizes Islam
The ‘Tower‘ represents Christianity
The ‘Golden-structure‘ above the tower represents Buddhism
The ‘Entrance‘ of the temple stands for Jainism
Timing: Monday to Saturday – 6.30 am to 8.30 pm
Lukshmi Vilas Palace
The Lukshmi Vilas Palace is located at the heart of Vadodara. It was built by the Gaekwad Dynasty of the Maratha Empire who ruled the state of Baroda in the 1880s. One of the sublime structures in India, this is one of the most visited tourist places in Gujarat. It is an architectural marvel of Major Charles Mant enduring construction cost worth GBP 180,000. It is said to be 4 times bigger than the Buckingham Palace in London.
It took nearly 12 years for completion and is the largest private dwelling built till date with 170 rooms for just 2 people. The palace was constructed by Maharaja Sayaji Rao III who named it after Rani Laxmibai - his third wife. Even today, it remains as the official residence of the Gaekwads of Baroda.
Timing: Wednesday to Monday – 9.30 am to 5 pm; Closed on Tuesdays
Charges: INR 200 per person
Vadodara Museum and Picture Gallery
As you enter the beautiful Sayaji Gardens, the equestrian statue of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III will lead you towards the Baroda Museum and Picture gallery. It was built in 1887 by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III and the Museum became public in 1894, while the Picture gallery opened its door in 1921. The museum has a rich collection of artifacts related to geology, natural history, archaeology, and other personal collection of belongings of Maharaja Sayajirao III. For all the architecture admirers, this is a must-visit place.
Location: Dak Bungalow, Sayajigunj.
Timing: All Days – 10.30 am to 5.30 pm
To witness a spectacular sunrise in Gujarat, Narmada Canal is the place to be at. It is one of the technological marvels of India that has crystal clear blue water surrounded by natural scenery. The best time to visit Narmada Canal is during monsoons. It is about 3 hours away from Vadodara and one of the most well-maintained canals of India powering solar energy for electricity generation.
You can visit this place for taking memorable selfies with your loved ones or maybe just enjoy a soothing walk at the site. Apart from the above mentioned most visited places, it is suggested to visit the Sursagar Lake, Surya Narayan Temple, Jambughoda Wildlife Sanctuary, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Nyay Mandir, Kirti Mandir, and S-Cube Water Park.