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Gujarat - Vadodara or Baroda, Dabhoi, Champaner, Pavagadh
Vadodara or Baroda
Once known as the City of Gardens or Baroda, is now known as Vadodara. It was a rich city. The carpet, decorated with glittering pearls and the cannon, built using expensive gold prove that it was a wealthy city. The city looks astonishing as beautiful with its gardens and well stretched out roads.
A lot of homes, scattered on the city premise, demonstrate modern architectural stylishness and elegance. Wooden carvings, wonderful sculptures, adorned walls (with pictures), riveting Haveli, 31 lush green tea gardens and scattered lakes make this historical city of Gujarat a class apart attraction. Located at an altitude of 35 meters, Vadodara, has definitely lost its old charm and has become a polluted city for its industries.
The industrial city, Vadodara, is spread on the prolonged banks of the River Vishwamitri. The saint Vishwamitra had meditated sitting on the captivating banks of the Vishwamitri River. The River has derived its name from the name of the well known saint, Vishwamitra.
Truly talented artists of Vadodara had created a genre in the musical arena. The melodious tunes of these artists have entertained many over the years.
The entire city of Vadodara decorates itself during charming Navaratri festival. City dwellers enjoy the festivity together.
The old and beautiful Chandan Talav is now known as Sursagar Lake. The Lake, located at the heart of the city, is spread across an area of 1000*600 feet. The Lake and natural locale around look marvelous, especially during night. For an agreeable experience, tourists can take pleasure in boating on the water surface of Sursagar Lake. A grand Shiva idol has been built right in the middle of the Lake.
The Naya Mandir, erected during 1896, on the banks of the Sursagar Lake, depicts a beautiful commingling of Mogli and Gothic architectures. The district court is operating now from the rooms of the Naya Mandir. The carving is said to be the architectural master piece. Lot of efforts had been put in to give it its original and riveting shape. To see the animated fishes you can drop their foods in the water of the Sursagar Lake.
It’s not a bad idea to take a walk to the renowned and pious Jumma Mosque, located adjacent to the Sursagar Lake.
Sayaji Baug, positioned in the middle of the city, exhibits countless numbers of amusement materials. You need at least half a day to explore the entire terrain of the wonderful park. For an evening walk you can always go to the Sayaji Baug. Sayaji Baug, built by Sayaji Rao in 1879, is Covering a rambling 113 acres of manor and it houses zoo, museums and Art Gallery. The appeal of the newly built Sardar Patel Planetarium is immense. An exhibition takes place in every evening (except on Thursday). Don’t miss that. The museum is very rich in collection. Especially, the anthology of Sanskrit books is impressive. Miniature Mogli pictures and class-apart art gallery are the special enticements of the museum. University and Lal Baug are delimiting Sayaji Baug.
To watch the anatomies of animals and human beings, you have to visit the anatomy museum once. The Health Museum also deserves a visit. An idol of H H Maharaja Sayahi Rao III is there at the entrance of the Park.
Sri Aurobindo Nivas: Memories of Sri Aurobindo, the Bengali philosopher and nationalist, are closely attached with the name of the city. He was a professor there in Vadodara for a long time. He once took the responsibility of a private secretary of the royal family. He lived here in Vadodara for few years as well (1894- 1906) in his residence namely Sri Aurobindo Nivas. The Aurobindo society had taken an initiative to recall his memories and founded a commemorative on the premise of the Sri Aurobindo Nivas on 29th September, 1971.
One of the biggest attractions of Vadodara is the EME Steel Temple, about 3 km away from the railway station.
The temple of Dakshinamurthy had been shaped by the students of the Electrical Mechanical Engineering and soldiers using both bronze and silver in 1965. Later on, the temple was revamped on 5th December, 1966 using Aluminum. The stylishness and classiness of the temple would enthrall you. 5 grand Bat trees (Ficus benghalensis) adorn the adjoining premise. The charming Botanical Garden, located at the end way of the city, is pulling nature lovers as well.
Lakshmi Vilas Palace: A renowned edifice of Vadodara, Lakshmi Vilas Palace, is the residence of the stately family members. General people are not allowed to enjoy the interior designing of the palace though. The captivating palace on the dome was built by the emperor Sayaji Rao 3rd during 1880-1890 and is an evidence of Indo-Saracenic Gothic architectures. The artistic look of the palace has been offered by strategically placing red sandstones (Agra), Marbles (Rajasthan) and Agneya Stones. The class-apart architectural excellence and flair of the palace makes it a special attraction. Italian mosaic, displayed on the walls and floors of the palace, are treats to the eyes. This is an impressive artistic creation of the Italian architect Philichi. Enamoring sculptures, huge Chandelier, shimmering silver throne and the assortment of valuables are put on display. It has a praiseworthy collection of weapons in the armory as well. To watch the palace, covering a huge territory of 720 acres, you have to grant permission.
Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum, located towards the southern side of the premise of the Lakshmi Vilas on the Nehru road, has a massive collection of vibrant pictures which were brought from various corners of the world. The exhibition displays pictures of India, Japan and China. Some of the pictures are drawn by renowned artists of the world and are really very expensive. The Ravi Varma Gallery exhibits some impressive pictures of Vishwamitra-Menka, Arjun-Subhadra, Nal-Damayanti, and Sleeping Beauty- Urvashi.
Another nearby attraction that you should not miss is the Naolakhi Vav or Bawali, about 50 meters towards the northern side of the Palace.
The museum of the royal family or Kirti Mandir was founded on an elevated dome (110 feet tall). The wreaths of the Gaikwad family are kept in the museum. Four of the stately walls of the museum were creatively painted by the dexterous painter of Bengal called Nandalal Basu. The 1st wall displays a painting of a creation of the poet Rabindra Nath Tagore, the 2nd wall shows the mythological tales of Mahabharata and the 3rd wall demonstrates the devotional practices of Mirabai. Each and every wall is marvelous and is illustrating different artistic styles. To recollect the memories of Sayaji Rao, an idol has been constructed as his commemorative.
The Nazar Bagh palace, built long back in 1721, houses Sish Mahal, Star of the south pearl set and embroidery clothes with stones. The royal museum of the palace showcases weapons, made up of expensive gold and silver. Each and every shooting channel of the weapon has a weight of 127 kg.
The secretariat is there in another palace, erected during 17th century, located at the western tip of the Nazarbagh palace. A number of Havelis, located in and around the city, depict the charming Gujarati architectures. Tamnekarwada, displayed on the wall of the splendid Darbar, was built during 1849-1854 at the roadside of Rajmahal road.
Sri Sayaji Sarovar (Dam) is spread across an area of 190 square km and was excavated due to the construction of the 4390 meters long dam. The entire planning of the excavation of the Lake was done by Sri Jagannath Sadashiva Ji in 1891. The upper width of the 17 meters tall dam is 5 meters.
The splendor of the riveting orchard at the lower acclivity of the dam can be compared with the Vrindavan garden of Mysore. The garden is spread across ½ km along its adjoining slopes. Water fountains are positioned in a series. The well lighted orchard on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays entertains and fascinates huge numbers of holiday makers.
The Ajmara Water Park, fun world and mind blowing musical fountains are the other laudable attractions. The ambiance around would lift your spirit up for sure. The water park is not very far away from the city. It is just 25 km away from Vadodara. Hire a taxi to visit the Park. Availing a conducted tour, nevertheless, would not be a bad idea.
You can access the Vadodara Diary farm availing a conducted tour as well. Many products, made with milk, can be tasted here.
The Nimeta Picnic Garden is a charming destination for all the picnic and outing lovers. This beautiful garden, about 17 km away from the Vadodara railway station, can be accessed by hiring a car.
Dabhoi: About 27 km towards the south- eastern side of Vadodara, Dabhoi, is a primeval city of Gujarat. It is famous mainly for showcasing beguiling architectures on the ruins of old and unique stately monuments. The fortified city is accessible through 4 adjoining gateways. Later on the city was expanded during the era of Muslim, Maratha and British. The grand Diamond Gate of Dabhoi demonstrates significantly an impressive commingling of both Hindu and Gujarati architectural flairs. The colossal Hira Gate is another prime entrance of the city of Dabhoi. Hindu pilgrims flock to the nearby holy Kali temple, eminently constructed during 1225. The excellent artistic and diversified carving works on the walls of the sanctified temple would appease your soul.
Champaner: About 41 km towards the north- eastern side of Vadodara on the railway track of Vadodara- Godhra, Champaner, is located at an altitude of 882 meters of the Girnar hill. Once it was an independent capital of Rajputs. The old Rajput territory of Champaner was also known as Muhammadabad. Soaring hills and quietness of Champaner pull batches of crowds like a powerful magnet.
The illustrious Indo-Saracenic architectural grandeur on the walls of the one of the oldest forts of Gujarat namely Jahanpana fort is noteworthy. Numerous dotted mosques on the premise of the Jahanpana fort depict a cultural blending of Muslim and Jain architectures.
Apart from the appeal of the Jahanpana fort, tourists can also enjoy the charm of the nearby Jumma mosque, built by Mahmud Begera in 1523. The magical architectural majesty and panache, showcased on the walls of the mosque, is eye catching. 32 meters tall two minarets greet the hordes of holiday makers here. 242 contiguous pillars and 28 domes lay the foundation of the mosque.
Don’t forget to take a look at the ruins of the Rajput fort at the foothill. Another arty edifice called Sat Mile Palace located atop the hill was an innovative and unique creation of Rajputs. Access both of these renowned historical palaces hiring an auto from Halol which is a tiny town on Vadodara- Godhra road. If you are lucky, then it is possible to get a direct bus to the Rajput fort from Champaner.
You can avail a train from Vadodara to Champaner and Godhra.
Pavagadh: The steep and towering hill of Basalt stone is Pavagadh hill, about 4 km towards the south- western side of Champaner. Numbers Hindu mythological tales are associated with the 820 meters tall Pavagadh hill.
The hillock Machi, on the top of the Pavagadh hill, is accessed by the nature lovers through a spiral road way. Trekkers would love to trek for 1 ½ km to the top most crest of Pavagadh from the heart of the hilly town Machi. Tourists who don’t have enough strength can easily book a rope way car to travel to the top of Pavagadh hill. 700 meters long rope way would offer you plenty of things to cheer about. Watch the delightful sight of the cosmos sitting on the rope way car. This path of 7 minutes would enthrall you on any given day. The ruins of the singular fort and captivating palace of the Solanki dynasty are the prime attractions of Pavagadh.
The hallowed Mahakalika temple of the saint, Vishwamitra, on the crest of Pavagadh hill, can be accessed by walking through 225 stairways. Dudhia Talav and Chhachia Talav are there at lower elevation one after the other.
Tritalika Champavati Mahal was a summer resort previously. Hindu temple, mosque and Jain temple are positioned on the undulating land of Pavagadh. The panoramic sight Narmada Canal of South Gujarat can be best viewed standing on the uneven land of Pavagadh.
Frequent bus services are available from Vadodara to Pavagadh. You can even hire a jeep from Vadodara to Pavagadh.
The archeological exhibition center of Pavagadh has now proudly included its name in the list of the world heritage site of UNESCO.
Hotel Champaner in the Machi Haveli, located at a height of 1500 feet, is the best place to stay in Champaner. Few other hotels and Dharamshalas are also there in Pavagadh.
The ashram of the sage, Bhrigu, is located at the mouth of the Narmada River and the ocean. It lies 70 km off Vadodara. It was previously known as Bhrigukachba. Later on it was named as Bharuch. The history of Bharuch dates back to bygone era.
The fortification of the fort of Bharuch was destroyed in order to follow the order of the Mughal emperor Aurnagzeb. Later on, another fortification had been built by the Maratha dynasty around the beguiling fort of Bharuch. The collector office, civil court, church and Victoria Clock Tower, located on the fort premise, are the coveted attractions.
The Jumma mosque at the downside of the fort was constructed long back during 14th century using various items of an ancient Jain temple. Bharuch, however, is now famous for textile business.
Suklatirth on the banks of the Narmada River is a pilgrimage destination and is located at a distance of 16 km towards the eastern side of Bharuch. The holy Vishnu temple is the prime lure of Suklatirth.
You can stay at Toran Holiday Home of TCGL in Suklatirth.
How to reach: Vadodara is connected to Mumbai, Ahmadabad, Delhi, Kolkata, Porbandar, Amritsar, Surat, Chennai, Jaipur, Indore and many more Indian destinations by train. Buses regularly ply to Vadodara from Mumbai, Indore, Ahmadabad, Dakor and other spots of Gujarat.
Where to stay: Hotel Ambassador, National Lodge, Hotel Chandan Mahal, Hotel Aditi, Vadodara Guest House, Hotel Amity, Hotel Green, Vishram Gruha, Best Western Rama Inn and Hotel Utsav.
Check our hotel booking links below for photos, rates, options and online bookings.