After the rather commercial ambience of Ahmedabad, the charming city of Vadodara in the state of Gujarat comes as a pleasant change. The character of Vadodra or Baroda as it was earlier known as, closely reflects the legacy of Maharajah Sayaji Rao III who was a progressive ruler and a great city planner. Successive rulers added palaces, lakes and parks, making Vadodra one of the most appealing urban centres in the region.
Vadodra has a mixed bag of people from all over the country that came here attracted by Vadodara’s catholicity, its modern outlook, and its cosmopolitan culture. Contemporary Vadodara is important as a growing industrial city and a renowned centre for academics. The Baroda College of Fine Arts is acknowledged as one of the best in the country. So travel to Vadodra and discover its eclectic character.
How to Reach Vadodara?
By Air : Vadodara airport has daily and weekly connections to Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad. The airport is 6km from the city and auto rickshaws and taxis are available outside. The bigger hotels also arrange airport to city transfers, if you are booked to stay with them.
By Rail : Vadodara lies on the main broad gauge railway lines between Mumbai-Ahmedabad and Mumbai-Delhi, so there are several trains to choose from including the two superfast Shatabdi Express trains to Ahmedabad and Mumbai and the Rajdhani Express to Delhi.
By Road : Vadodara is very well connected by road to various parts of India. State government run buses ply to the neighbouring states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Within Gujarat, Vadodara is connected to Ahmedabad, Surat and Bhavnagar by regular roadways buses and deluxe air-conditioned coaches. Information and reservations can be done at the Central Bus Stand opposite the Vadodara Railway Station.
Best Time to Visit Vadodara
The summers in Vadodara can get rather hot so the best time to travel to Vadodara is after October and before March. During these months, the weather is very pleasant with the day temperatures at a cool 25degrees centigrade. Summer temperatures reach the 40 degree C mark, so it may be best to avoid travelling in the summer months of April to September.
October has the added advantage of being the time for the Navratri festivities.At this time of the year people celebrate with dancing and singing - the Dandiya Raas is performed by the younger crowd and there is a general bonhomie in the air.
Things to do in Vadodara
The list of things to do in Vadodara is endless. Visit the various museums, art galleries or the palaces that are a visual treat or shop till you drop for some traditional Gujarati handicrafts. Sit back and relax in the various gardens of the city or take a trip to the nearby places like Champaner or Pawagadh. Gorge on local Gujarati fare or delve into the variety of other cuisines available in the city. Revel in the religious fervour of Navratri and Dussehra as you soak in the different colours of Vadodara that embrace you with their warmth.
Places Near Vadodara
Some of the interesting places near Vadodra which are good for one or two daylong excursion are mentioned below.
Champaner (45 km) is an old 15th century fortress in the Girnar Hills built by local Rajput chieftains. Inside the old quarter of Champaner are many 15th and 16th century mosques built by Muslim conquerors who wrested control in 1484.
The Jami Masjid built in 1523 is the grandest; its richly ornamented 172 pillars and tall 100 ft high minaret are a classic example of Gujarati style of architecture allied with traditional Islamic styles. The domed granary building of Makai Kota, the Patai Rawal palace and the 11th /12th century Lakulisha temple are all that remain of the Hindu legacy of Champaner.
Pawagadh is a neighbouring fort a mere 4km away. The fortress dominates the region from its vantage point on the 2700-ft hill enclosed by ruined fortifications and topped by Hindu temples. Access to the fortress is past three stages, first comes the ruins of the actual fortifications, then the middle fort before finally ascending to the top with its Hindu and Jain temples.
The Dabhoi Fort 29km southwest of Vadodara is considered by many scholars to be an unsurpassed example of Hindu Gujarati architecture. Part of the Solanki Rajput stronghold in the area, it was built by the King of Patan in the 13th century. Within its four gates lay a reservoir and farms to provide sufficient food and water in withstand a long siege.
Chandod, further south of Dabhoi is the confluence of two important tributaries of the River Narmada. The place is a Hindu pilgrimage site with its picturesque bathing ghats and temples. Most interesting for most visitors is a ride on mechanised boats down the river to see some amazing rock formations past spectacular cliffs and ravines.
Rajpipla and Sankheda lie further away from Vadodara. The former is a base for a trip to the Shoolpaneshwar Sanctuary best known for its birds of prey. Sankheda is the home of typically Gujarati furniture made from red and gold or blue and silver lacquered wood.
Hotels in Vadodara – Choice is Yours
There are numerous hotels in Vadodara ranging from 3-star, 4-star and 5-star deluxe to budget hotels.