Vadodara also known as Baroda formerly, is the third largest city in the Western Indian state of Gujarat, after Ahmedabad and Surat. It is the administrative headquarters of Vadodara District and is located on the banks of the Vishwamitri River. Southeast of Ahmedabad. Both the railway line and national highway connecting Delhi and Mumbai pass through Vadodara. The city is the site of the Lakshmi Villas Palace, once owned by the royal Gaekwad dynasty of the Marathas. It is also the home of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, the largest university in Gujarat. An important industrial, cultural and educational hub of western India, the city houses several institutions of national and regional importance while its major industries include petrochemicals, engineering, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, plastics, IT and foreign exchange services amongst others.
Baroda has a rich historical background. The ardent historian can trace Baroda’s history over 2000 years and more. However, the recent threads can be picked up when the Moghul rule over the city came to an end in 1732, when Pilaji brought the Maratha activities in Southern Gujarat to a head and captured it. Except for a short break, Baroda continued to be in the hands of the Gaekwads from 1734 to 1949. The greatest period in the Maratha rule of Baroda started with the accession of Maharaja Sayajirao III in 1875. It was an era of great progress and constructive achievements in all fields. Maharaja Saiyajirao was one of the foremost administrators and reformers of his times. He initiated a series of bold socio-economic reforms. He attached great importance to economic development and started a number of model industries to encourage initiative, and then handed back the working industries to private enterprise. He started model textile and tile factories. It is as a result of his policy of industrial development that Baroda is today one of the most important centres for textile, chemical and oil industries today. He introduced a number of social reforms. In no department of administration has the far-sighted policy of this wise ruler been more conspicuous than in education and a library movement to argument his adult education scheme.
A large number of corporates are headquartered here. The upcoming IT Park at Vadodara, had been attracting many firms recently. Many entrepreneurs and corporates that emerged from here made an International repute recently. Bank of Baroda, one of the largest chain of branches and atm in the country was started here. In the recent times growth of E-Commerce Business has increased immensely from Vadodara. Some of BarodianSellers Top the charts of best sellers in their respective categories on famous marketplaces. Accessories Master (ACM), ECellStreet (ECS) top the charts on ebat.in and amazon.in respectively some of the other well-known ecommerce business operating from Vadodara are phoolbul.com, badabargain.com, purchasekaro.com, ecellstreet.com, dealscafe.in etc.
The People and Culture
The people of Baroda like to tell visitors that their city is a ‘SanskariNagari’, that is, a ‘cultured city’. By and large the visitors agree. The city does indeed have rich cultural traditions. And today’s Barodians have quite a full and hectic cultural life throughout the year. The outstanding trait about Baroda’s cultural life is that is remarkably cosmopolitan. And while there are hundreds of different identities, everyone participates in all activities. So, the culture of the city is not just history or heritage; it is dynamic, ever-charging and alive. The official language of Gujarat is Gujarati, but Hindi, Marathi and English are also widely used in Baroda. State and local government offices in the city use both Gujarati and English, Central government offices use English and Hindi and industrial and commercial organisations use English. The medium of instruction at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda is English. The medium of instruction in the city’s school varies Gujarati, Marathi, Hindi, English etc.
Baroda is synonymous with education. The patronage of education started with MaharajSayajirao and the city has built further on the academic infrastructure established by him. The present educational foundation rests on over 20 public schools and over 100 private schools. Towering benevolently over all is the Maharaja Sayajirao University, the jewel in the Baroda crown, so to speak. MSU is the only university in Gujarat with English as the medium of instruction. It has 13 faculties and 17 residential hostels, 4 of them for women students. The university caters to over 30,000 students.
Places to Visit in Vadodara
- Palaces: Lakshmi Vilas Palace, Nazarbaug Palace, Makarpura Palace, Pratap Vilas Palace, Tambekar Wada.
- Buildings & Monuments:Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, KirtiMandir, KirtiStambh, NyayMandir, Khanderao Market, Aurobindo Ashram, EME Temple, HaziraMaqbara, Kala Ghoda, MairalGanpatiMandir.
- Museum & Gardens: Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum, Baroda Museum & Picture Gallery, SayajiBaug.
- Excursions:Ajwa&Nimeta, Dabhoi, Pavagadh, Champaner-PavagadhArcheological Park, Kayavarohan, Dakor, Sankheda, Sursagar Lake, Sindhrot.
Vadodara Airport is located northeast of the city. Vadodara has air connectivity with Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkatta, Banglore and Hydrabad. Vadodara is set to have an International Airport in near future. The city is on the major rail and road arteries joining Mumbai with Delhi and Mumbai with Ahmedabad. Because of this Vadodara is known as a ‘Gateway to the Golden Corridor’. National Highway No. 8 passes through the city. All connected with the major airports of India. Public transport vehicles within the city include buses, auto-rickshaws and taxis. There are a few private bus services too. Of course, there are many people who use their own vehicles – Cars, Scooters, Motorcycles and Bicycles. Private taxis are also available.