SITUATED on the banks of the Vishwamitri river, Vadodara owes much of its splendour to Sayajirao Gaekwad (1875- 1939), a former ruler who transformed his principality into a progressive centre of culture, education and industry. Today Vadodara, also known as Baroda, is a vibrant city with many interesting buildings, museums and parks. The Laxml Vitas Palace, an Indo-Saracenic pile, was designed by the English architect, Major Charles Mant. It took 12 years to build and was finally completed in 1890. It is still the residence of the erstwhile ruling family, though there are plans to convert parts of it into a luxury hotel, The Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum, within the palace grounds, has a rare collections of paintings by one of India’s leading painters, Raja Ravi Varma (1848- 1906). Sayaji Bag , a beautiful park in the heart of the city, houses a zoo as well ;is the Vadodara Museum and Picture Gallery which exhibits an eclectic collection of Mughal miniatures, European boil paintings, textiles, carved doors from old Is avelis and royal artifacts.

Pride of place goes to its collection of 68 siriking bronzes from Akota, a Centre of Jain culture in the 5th century. Other notable sights are the Kirti Mandir, the sm(aemmoardiahl)i of Vadodara’s royal family; the Nyaya Mandir, an Indo- Saracenic building which is now a law court; and a number of painted hovels . The city also has the Maharaja Sayajirao University’s College of Fine Art, an institute of national eminence.

ENVIRONS: The famous Amul Dairy is located in Anand, 38 km (24 miles) northwest of Vadodara. Synonymous with the “White Revolution” that made India self-sufficient in milk, it helped pioneer India’s dairy cooperative movement, and now procures one million litres of milk every day front 1,000 milk cooperative societies. It is open daily to visitors from 3 to 5pm.

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