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Friday, October 06, 2017
Situated on the banks of River Vishwamitri, Vadodara, also known as the cultural capital (Sanskari Nagar) of Gujarat, is one of the most culturally-rich cities in India. Situated at a strategically important geographical location, the city is truly cosmopolitan, welcoming a wide variety of people from not just India but the world.
Originally called Baroda, after early English travelers and merchants called it Brodera, the city is the third largest one in Gujarat. Its name was officially changed to Vadodara in 1974.
A little town called Ankottaka, a famous Jainism centre, was located on the banks of the river Vishwamitri in the 5th and 6th century AD. Archaeological findings suggest that Baroda dates all the way back to this time. The Akota bronze images are to be found in the Baroda museum even till this date. Once upon a time, the city was also called Chandanavati after its ruler, a Rajput king Raja Chandan.
Till the year 1297, the Imperial Baroda province was ruled by the Hindu kings. Before the Mughals took over, the city was ruled by the Delhi Sultans, until they were overthrown by the Mughals. Shortly after, the Maratha Gaekwads took over, with the city eventually becoming their capital.
The glorious Gaekwad rule began when Maratha general Pilaji Gaekwad overthrew the Mughals from Songadh in 1726. When the Mughal reign came to an end in 1732, Pilaji intensified his rule in Southern Gujarat. Damajirao, his son and successor, defeated the Mughal armies, and finally conquered Baroda in 1734. The Gaekwad Maharajas ruled the kingdom until the Indian independence took place in 1947.
The year of 1875 marked the golden period for the Maratha rule in Baroda. It was an era of great achievements and progress in all fields. Maharaja Sayajirao III (ruling from 1875-1939) made significant contributions to education, museums, art, architecture while being driven by his dream of making Baroda an educational, industrial and commercial center of the country.
After India gained independence in 1947, the state of Baroda was merged with Bombay. The state was then further divided into the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra in 1960, and it was then that Baroda officially became a part of Gujarat.
Famous for its culture, history and monuments, the city has a vibrant history related to art and architecture, earning the title of ‘Kala Nagari’. Here you will find a blend of Marathi and Gujarati culture. It is often said that the Navratri festivities is the best time to witness this city’s cultural wealth. Despite the increasing commercialism, it has succeeded in keeping the folk dance form of the festival alive and pristine. People from around the world visit the city to be a part of this unique nine-night celebration.
Known for its rich culture, Vadodara houses beautiful temples, museums, palaces, and other historic buildings that attract tourists from all over India. Its prime attraction is Sayaji Baug, the largest garden in Western India that also hosts the Baroda Museum and Picture Gallery, the Sayaji Baug Zoo and Aquarium, a working Floral Clock, and Sardar Patel Planetarium. A haven for shopaholics, the city’s bazaars feature an exciting assortment of handicrafts, textiles, and leather products. The city offers a plethora of options to travelers and tourists will be able to find plenty of hotels in Vadodara to choose from.