Vadodara lies on the bank of Vishwamitri River, 141 km from Gandhinagar, the state capital. The eastern part is the old city, while the western part beyond the Railway Station is the modern part of the city.
Vadodara came into prominence during the period of the Maratha confederacy, when the a general of the Marathas, Pilaji Gaekwad, conquered the city from the Mughals. He and his descendants ruled the region, initially under the vassalage of the Maratha Peshwas, becoming increasingly independent as the Peshwas weakened as a power. After the defeat of the Peshwas, the Gaekwads continued to rule the kingdom as one of the autonomous princely states under the British. Vadodara owes much to the Gaekwads, who were generally considered to be enlightened rulers, bringing industry and excellent educational institutions to the city. Many of the attractions for travelers are from those times.
The city has continued its tradition of being a being an industrial centre during modern times as well. It is home to people who have moved here from other cities in India, attracted by a lifestyle that combines the calm of a small town with the amenities you would expect from a major city. Vadodara has a significant population of people who have returned from a stay abroad (former Non-Resident Indians or NRIs) who have decided to settle here.
Apart from Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi and Sindhi are spoken by pockets of the population, Marathi due to the heritage of the Gaekwad rule and Sindhi by descendants of refugees from the Partition. Most people are easily able to speak passable English, and in certain areas you will meet people that are fluent in English.
The nearest international airport is about 100 km away in Ahmedabad which hosts Air India, Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines.
- 2 Vadodara Junction Railway Station. The busiest station in Gujarat. It is situated on the Mumbai - Delhi Western Railway Main Line. Even high speed trains on Delhi-Mumbai route, like Shatabdi and Rajdhan, stop at Vadodara Junction. Humble Mail/Express Trains connect Vadodara to nearby towns and even some in Gujarat. This railway station has seven platforms. Exits from platform no. 1 to 5 and 7 will lead you to Sayajigunj, and exit from platform 6 will lead you to Alkapuri.
The National Highway no.8 passes through Baroda. It is connected by excellent roads. There is an express highway to Ahmedabad, and highway travel is fairly speedy by road, at least to other places in the western part of the country. Its going to be a 6 Lane road soon.
- 3 main bus station (at Maharaja Sayajirao University), ☏ . Non-air conditioned buses arrive from here which connect Vadodara with all the parts of Gujarat and the major cities of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. Intercity buses from Ahmedabad take 2 hours on the expressway and cost ₹150 per person and up (as of January 2015). When looking up fares and schedules on bus ticketing sites, you may have to use the city's alternate name of Baroda to find information about buses to Vadodara.
Local transport consists mainly of City Buses and three-wheelers called auto-rickshaws which are very cheap and easily available. Always insist on meter usage and the rate payable is 10 times the amount shown plus 1. (for example, if it shows 2.80, the fare is ₹28+₹1 = ₹29 for a 4-5km journey). The fare is meter reading plus 5. An extra ₹5 is charged if there are 4 passengers.
The VITCOS City Buses take you to all parts of the city and the VITCOS Bus Stand is right opposite to the Railway Station. The buses are very comfortable and cheap. It costs ₹1 per 1.2 km.
- 1 Baroda Museum & Picture Gallery, Dak Bunglaw (Sayaji Baug Garden), ☏ . 10:30AM - 5PM. The museum displays Indian musical instruments, Mughal miniatures, sculptures, textiles and objects from Japan, Tibet, Nepal, Egypt. The museum's artifacts were collected by Maharaja Sayajirao, devoted to travel. The Picture Gallery displays paintings by British artists, also from Sayajirao's private collection.
- 2 The EME temple. Vadodara is quite serene. It was built by the Military and one can enjoy a pleasant hour in its premises.
- 3 Fateh Singh Museum, Jawaharlal Nehru Marg, Navapura (housed within the Maharaja's palace), ☏ . The royal family of Baroda has a notable collection of his works. Apart from these, there are many art works of masters collected and commissioned by Maharaja Sayajirao. If you are art lover, keep aside a day for the palace and museum. The museum itself is in the palace premises. to view several Raja Ravi Verma originals.
- 4 Hazira Maqbara (Qutubuddin Tomb), Tagore Rd/Vaijnath Mahadev Marg crossing (Danteshwar area). The mausoleum contains the graves of Qutb-ud-din Muhammad Khan and his son Naurang Khan. It is an octagonal structure in the style of Mughal tombs.
- 5 Khanderao Market. Another palatial building created by Sayajirao III in 1906 at a cost of 3 lakhs. It was a present by him to the Municipality to mark the Silver Jubilee as his administration. The offices of Vadodara Municipal Corporation are located in this building
- 6 Kirti Mandir (Temple of Fame). The cenotaph of the Maharajas of Baroda.
- 7 Laxmi Vilas Palace, ☏ . Tu-Su 11AM-5PM. To view the palace you must ask for a permit from the Maharaja’s secretary in the palace office or call the above phone. The imposing palace was built in the Indo-Saracenic tradition, with an eclectic mix of Indian, Islamic, and European elements by Maharaja Sayajirao III in 1890. Major Charles Mant was the architect. The interior, full of multi-colored marble and mosaic tile , include a museum, containing portraits of the Royal family and original paintings by Raja Ravi Varma.
- 8 Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU). The world-famous Maharaja Sayajirao University has one of the largest campuses in Gujarat, full of beautiful historical buildings including Kala Bhavan, a former palace which is pictured in this article.
- 9 Makarpura Palace, Himmat Nagar, Marutidham Society (close to the airport). not open to the public. The former royal summer palace now houses a training school by the Indian Air Force. It's a magnificent building modeled after Italian Renaissance prototypes, well worth a sight from outside
- 10 Sevasi Vaav (Sevasi Well) (beside the Sevasi Bus Stand). Stepped well with some beautiful carvings on its pillars
- 11 Surya Narayan Temple (opposite the Main Post Office, Raopura Area). The oldest temple of the city.
- 12 Tambekar Wada, Tambeaker Road, Dandia Bazar (Raopura Area). The private mansion (Haveli) of a chief minister (diwan) of Baroda who lived during the last Mughal Empire. It's a wooden four-storey building notable for its miniature-style painted murals, depicting scenes from Lord Krishna’s life, from the Mahabharata, and from the Anglo-Maratha war. Tambekarwada is a heritage monument under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India. Only a small part of the historical mansion is open to the public
The Old City
- 13 Central Library Baroda, Fatepura Road, ☏ . One of the oldest public libraries in India.
- 14 Gendi Gate, Gendi Gate Rd, Moghul Wada. One of the few survived gateways to the old city.
- 15 Mandvi Gate, Fatepura Road, Mandvi Gate Circle.
- 16 Nazar Baug Palace, Panigate Road, Chhipwad. Only guided tour from 9AM-6PM. a former royal guesthouse now converted into the Railway Staff college. The palace is scheduled to be demolished in early 2015.
- 17 Nyaya Mandir (Temple of Justice), MG Rd.
There are quite a few sights worth taking a look at such as the Lakshmi Vilas Palace and the old zoo. If you're headed here plan a trip that lasts not more than three days because then you'll run out of things to do. And because of the fact that it is cosmopolitan, infrastructurally decent and well connected by rail, road and air, this is a good place to have as your 'hub' and make day trips to other places.
- Cinepolis, 2nd Floor Inorbit Mall, ☏ . Good 3D effect.
- 1 The Gaekwad Baroda Golf Club. Baroda’s premier club and Gujarat’s oldest private golf club
- 2 Inox Multiplex, Race Course Road, Gopal Baug, Ellora Park, ☏ . By far the best movie theater in town. Also at Seven Seas Mall 4th Floor
- 3 Mahatma Gandhi Nagar Gruh, Kothi Rd, Opposite Jubilee Baug,, ☏ . 9AM – 11PM. Dance shows, and musical events
- 4 S-Cube Water Park, Opp. Ajwa Lake, Near Vrundavan Garden, ☏ . 11AM - 7PM. Water park with many slides, family pool, wave pool and six cuisine restaurant.
- 5 Sayaji Baug Garden. Set on the banks of the Vishwamitri river, the garden is home to the Baroda Museum, the Sardar Patel Planetarium, and the Sayaji Baug Zoo. A toy train runs around the garden covering a distance of 3.5 km
- 6 Sir Sayajirao Nagargruh, Shankheshwar Parshwanath Marg, Akota. The 1000-seat auditorium is Baroda music and dance main venue.
- 7 Sursagar Talav. This artificial lake with a huge statue of Shiva.
- Navratri, meaning nine days, is the biggest festival of Baroda. People worship the nine avatars of Goddess Durga, the manifestation of Shakti. The festival includes typical dances, known as Garbas and Dandiya Raas, performed by men and women wearing traditional, colorful dresses. The Navratri festival normally falls in the month of October every year
If you wish to undertake studies in the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (MSU) you must apply at any India Embassy or Consulate in your country for a student visa. International student fees are high. Your best bet for reducing costs is to apply for scholarship issued by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).
Vadodara has companies like L&T, Xylem water solutions, IOCL, ABB, GSFC, ONGC, IPCL (now Reliance), Bombardier, General Motors, Kemrock, Alembic and Jyoti. Many other petrochemical companies like GACL and pharma companies like Sun Pharma, Alembic and Sarabhai are also well known. It is also considered a good location for IT companies, and a new biotech park is coming to the city. Quickstart Global has set up its operations as well, providing employment to more than 800 people in Vadodara.
Camel leather and related arts of embedding pure gold and stone colors, on camel leather and hide vessels are well known here.
- 1 Centre Square Mall, Sarabhai Road, Alkapuri. A lot of international and local brands and some recreational options.
- 2 Inorbit Mall, Gorwa road, Subhanpura (opposite Alembic school), ☏ . best mall in town. A wide array of retail outlets and international brands. A large food court offers world cuisine (Chinese, Italian, fast food). Entertainment arcade with 10-lane bowling alley and HD cinema.
- 3 , around Naya Rd. Visit here for cloth and handicraft shopping.
- 4 Seven Seas Mall, VIP Road, Jayesh Colony, Fatehgunj.
- 5 Vadodara Central, Race Cource Road, Genda Circle. 11AM–10PM.
There are plenty of eateries in and around the city and getting good food is not a problem.
- 1 Dairy Den, Dairy Den Circle, opposite SBI Bank, (Sayajigunj area, near the railway station), ☏ . 8AM–11PM. This is Baroda's first ice cream parlor that serves soft cones. You can enjoy a variety of flavors over here.
- 2 Frigtemp, Nt 1, Enstern Society, Fatehgunj, ☏ . Recommended for Frankies, at (Fatheganj, Karelibaug & Old Padra Road).
- 3 The Goodies Cafeteria, Gol Bungalow, Sayajigunj, ☏ . 11AM–10:30PM. Goodies, also in Sayajiganj, Makarpura, Fatehganj and Natubhai Circle, are favorite hangouts for youngsters apart for their bakery delights & junk food!
- 4 Govinda's Restaurant, Gotri Road (ISKCON Temple, on the first floor), ☏ . Lunch timing: 11AM - 3PM, dinner 6:30PM - 10PM.. Veg Restaurant. Samosas, alu (bataka) wadas, dahi wadas and gulab jamuns. The "prasad snack bar", where many items are available daily from 5PM until 9PM (9:30-10PM on Sundays and holidays) is located in the northeast corner of ISKCON Temple.
- 5 Kalyan Restaurant (near the Railway station and the Central Bus Station), ☏ , email@example.com. 8AM–11PM. Here you can get a variety of food choices from Chinese to continental along with Chaats, South Indian foods, etc. It is a self-service restaurant with good quality food. The best thing is the sizzler at the very low price of ₹130 and good in taste.
- 6 Mahakali Sev Usal, Shiyabaug, Kevdabaug (near Kirti Stambh, Old City). M-F 8AM-8:30PM. Food stand, delicious Sev Usal
- 7 Millenium Restaurant, 1st Floor Fatehgunj Main Rd, Jayesh Colony (Opp. Methodist Church), ☏ . noon–10:45PM. Most popular for Biryani. Also in Alkapuri
- 8 Mirch Masala, 4, Meghdhanush Complex, Gotri Road (Race Course Circle), ☏ . noon-3PM and 7PM-11PM. Veg and Nonveg Punjabi food. Try out the dilli chaat. Also inside Inorbit Mall.
- 9 Nayab Restaurant, Saptagiri Complex, Akota Rd. Although menu is extensive at Nayab Restaurant, their delicious tandoori items are highly recommended and make for an excellent dining at very low prices. Takeaways are available
- 10 Pooran Singh's kababs and parathas, at Race Course Road (near the Barista Lavazza coffee bar by the Chakli Circle). He's an ex-Welcomgroup chef who runs his own place now.
- 11 Raju Omlet, S/4, Mahalaxmi Apartment (Opp. Bank Of Baroda). 4PM-10PM. Eggetarian delights in Karelibaug in VIP Rd.
- Romana Pizzeria, 2nd Floor, Ashoka Icon, Sangam Cross Roads, Harni Warasiya Road.
- 12 Vanity, Sarod (At Sayajigunj near railway station), ☏ . M-F 11AM–11PM. Tasty non-vegetarian food.
- 13 Vishal Sandwich (near Baroda High School in Alkapuri). Try their samosa sandwich.
- Ginger Hotel, Opp. Saffron Tower, Near Methodist Church, Fatehgunj, ☏ . Offers breakfast & buffet at ₹150 & ₹200 respectively.
- 14 Havmor, 56 Puneet Nagar Society, Old Padra Road, ☏ . 11AM–11PM. Offers excellent variety in non-vegetarian delicacies. Plus they have their own Havmor ice-cream joint outside. Try Cookie Crunch or Coffee flavoured one - they are the ones to fall for & also at Sayajigunj, near railway station).
- Kala Ghoda (Hotel Sayaji), Near Kalaghoda Circle, Sayajigunj, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. You get both vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies. Offers buffet at ₹250 on weekdays and at ₹275 on Sundays. For people who prefer something other than buffet, there is Nakshatra, a rooftop restaurant.
- Periyar, Ramin Park Society, Old Padra Road, Harinagar. Non-vegetarian food from South India.
- 15 Zaika, Ground Floor 1, Saran Bldg - Old Padara Rd (opposite Bhadralok Apartments, Sheetal Nagar, Akota), ☏ . noon–3PM & 7AM–11PM. Good taste. Recommended for non-vegetarian food.
Don't forget to try the famous 'Gujarati Thali' (Kathiyawadi):
- 16 Kismat kathiyawadi, Amit Nagar Char Rasta, VIP Rd (On the Expressway), ☏ . Also try the thali at Kismat Kathiyawadi in typically rural ambiance. Meal for 2 at 100 bucks. Must visit!
- 17 Mandap (Gujarati Thali, Hotel Express Towers), R.C. Dutt Road, 1st floor, ☏ , email@example.com. 11:30AM–3PM, 7:30-11PM. At ₹150, this thali is delicious and an exceptional value in delightful surroundings. Recommended by locals.
- 18 Barbeque Nation, R.C. Dutt Road, 3rd Floor, Shreem Shalini Mall, Alkapuri (Alkapuri area), ☏ . 12:30–3PM & 7:30-11PM. Very good non-veg fare at the buffet.
- Peshawri, RC Dutt Road, Alkapuri. Inside WelcomeHotel.
- The Gateway Hotel Akota Gardens Vadodara, Akota Rd (at Taj Residency).
Vadodara is a nice place to be but lacks a nightlife altogether because of a blanket ban on alcohol throughout Gujarat. Foreign nationals can procure alcohol after getting a permit, but this procedure is not without its headaches.
You will need your passport plus a photocopy of your passport data page and your visa. You must ask your hotel to stamp this photocopy and write a simple statement to say that "xxx is residing at this hotel, room xxx. The fee for the permit is ₹100. The permit is valid for one month, during which time each person is allowed to buy a limited quantity - 10 units at a time (one unit is 10 large bottles of beer, or 3 bottles of wine or 1 bottle of spirits), no more than twice in six days. This should satisfy all but the heaviest of drinkers. You can use the permit at any location that sells alcohol.
The wine shop at the Hotel Kaviraj (the hotel is being refurbished but the wine shop is open on the side of the building) is open from noon to 10PM and can always issue a permit.
Choose any of the hotels available besides the railway station (Sayaji Gunj area), but be aware that they sometimes refuse foreign tourists because of the paperwork needed for the booking.
- 1 Ginger Hotel, Opp. Saffron Tower, Near Methodist Church, Fatehgunj, ☏ . Although a budget class hotel, price is a little bit high. Well-designed rooms but not large enough. Ginger Hotel Chain is owned and operated by Tata Group
- 2 Hotel Sunrise, 5, Sampatrao Colony, R. C. Dutt Road, Alkapuri, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Budget hotel. 21 A/C rooms covered with Wi-Fi. Book well in advance
- Zostel, Central Bus Station (next to Vadodara Jn. train station), ☏ , email@example.com. Dormitory and single beds. Central air conditioning. Laundry. Separate female dorms. Internet kiosk ₹299 / ₹199 half day stay.
- 3 white house (white house service apartment), B/h. Panchmukhi Hanuman Temple, Vasna-Bhayli Rd. Vadodara, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 1PM, check-out: 11AM. ₹3000.
- 4 Hotel Aditi (near Sardar Patel Statue, Sayajigunj), ☏ , .
- 5 Hotel Apex International (near Sardar Patel Statue Sayajigunj), ☏ .
- 6 Hotel Express Residency, 18/19 Alkapuri Soc,, ☏ . US$55/ night.
- 7 Hotel Revival, Sayajigunj, Dak Bunglaw. US$62/70 par night.
- 8 Hotel Surya, Sayajiganj (near Railway Station), ☏ . Rooms range from economy class to Deluxe. Check their website for details US$41/ night.
- 9 PM Regency, Sarod, Sayajigunj, ☏ .
- 10 Surya Palace Hotel, Sarod, Sayajigunj, ☏ .
- 11 Tansha Comfort Residency, Dutt Road, ☏ . US$52/ night.
- 12 The Gateway Hotel Akota (Taj Residence), Akota Gardens, ☏ . Part of the Taj Group of Hotels, US$124/ night.
- 13 Hotel Hampton Inn by Hilton, 14, Friends Co-op Society, ☏ . US$113/ night.
- 14 Welcomhotel Vadodara, R.C. Dutt Road, ☏ , email@example.com. Leading 5-star hotel in Vadodara.
Vadodara has 3 main post offices:
- 1 Haribhakti Post Office, Race Course Road, ☏ .
- 2 Head Post Office, Kharivav Rd, Raopura (Near Surya Narayan Mandir), ☏ .
- 3 Manjalpur Post Office, ☏ .
Phone and internet
Most hotels in Baroda do offer free Wi-Fi. You'll be able to check email or use Skype at McDonald's Family Restaurants too. Internet Cafes are few.
- 4 HB's Cyber Cafe (in Sayajigunj). Connection speeds are good.
Vadodara is generally a safe city, and is heavily secured by the local cops (who may be in yellow-ochre, black, white or informal dress but in yellow-ochre socks). In the relatively unlikely event that you have any trouble, you can call 108 (emergency number).
Tourists and especially non-resident Indians can expect to pay significantly more than locals, so don't be surprised if you experience this.
- Bharuch - Halfway between Vadodara-Surat, Bharuch is the oldest city in Gujarat.
- Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park (47 km from Vadovara) - a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You'll see the remains of a medieval city whose architecture is special because it was Islamic buildings executed by Hindu and Jain workmen in a very unique style. Pavagadh Kalika mandir is a must see place. You may hire local taxi or auto to reach Manchi which is 5 km from Pavagadh. There is a state bus facility every hour from Pavagadh to Manchi. At Manchi, Get a Ropeway (Udan Khatola in Hindi) ticket (₹98 to and fro) one of the best ropeways in India. After getting down from ropeway, climb 250 steps to kalika mandir.
- Dabhoi (33 km from the city center) - an old fortified town, originally known as Darbhavati, renowned for its gates and Jain temples, both impressive for its fine carved details
- Sankheda - Travel to Sankheda to see the making of lovely lacquer-coated furniture.
- Tejgadh - A village noted for its Tribal Academy of Gujarat, which is a social service organization aiming for the development of local tribals. It also operates a museum showcasing tribal crafts.
|Routes through Vadodara|
|Ahmedabad ← Anand ←||N S||→ Vadodara|