Vibrant art and culture, grand heritage buildings
and a royal legacy
Vadodara is very much the city of the 1800s Maratha ruler Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III, and reminders of his reign are everywhere. You’ll notice some distinctly Victorian design elements among the Mughal and Maratha architecture, reflecting the ruler’s penchant for European style. Many landmark buildings today house institutions like courts and colleges.
With a boom in industry, Vadodara is fast emerging as a centre of commerce, but remains deeply connected to its cultural roots. There’s nothing like participating in a foot-stomping garba dance to remind you that you’re in Gujarat, and the nine-day Navratri festival is an especially lively time to catch a performance.
Rediscover the city’s love for art at the Maharaj Fateh Singh and Baroda museums, both remnants of the Maratha era, where you can admire Raja Ravi Varma originals, beautiful mosaic work, and portraits of the royal family. At weekends, wander with the people among the fountains and flowerbeds in beautiful parks and gardens like Sayaji Baug.
Old Baroda’s narrow lanes are dotted with markets, shrines and century-old establishments built by the Gaekwads. In the teeming bazaars of the fortified city, like the market at Mandvi, you can hunt for traditional outfits like the chaniya choli, as well as colourful embroidered and mirrorwork fabric. Shopping and street food go hand in hand here, and the city serves up an array of typical Gujarati farsan. Load up on local favourites such as sev, kachori, chevdo and the all-time winner, sweet and spicy bhakarwadi, in areas like Fatehgunj and the Old City.