Picture a city teeming with history and culture. A city also called Kala Nagari (City of Art) and Sanskari Nagari. A city known for its regal past, its imposing palaces and the seat of the erstwhile Baroda royal family, the Gaekwads. Nestled beautifully on the banks of the lovely River Vishwamitri, Vadodara is all these things and so much more. Did you know a fun fact? The city actually received its name from the large number of Vad or Banyan trees dotting it.
Finding the best places to visit in Vadodara can sometimes be a headache of regal proportions too. Wondering why? There are too many of them to keep track! A single trip is not enough in most cases for getting the true vibe, flavors and mystical magic that pervades the historical city in all its pores, meandering alleys and colorful and vibrant thoroughfares.
As said before, Vadodara is teeming with some of the most important and most-visited tourist attractions in Gujarat. From palaces and temples to historical destinations and cultural potpourri, you get it all here without a doubt! However, here’s filtering out 10 of the must-visit Vadodara landmarks that you must not miss on your trip!
The splendor of royalty and nostalgia of bygone eras combine to create a spellbinding effect on visitors at the Lakshmi Vilas Palace, arguably one of the most famous attractions in Vadodara. The elaborately designed Durbar Hall will amaze you with its picturesque European architecture and Belgian stained glass windows.
The sight is a treat to behold, complete with floors sporting Venetian mosaic and multi-colored marbles used throughout the pillars and many other areas of the structure. The palace covers a colossal 700 acres and was earlier the official residence of the royal Gaekwad family. If you haven’t been to the Lakshmi Vilas Palace, then you will not have experienced the regal vibe that Vadodara stands for.
Address: Gate Number 2, Lakshmi Vilas Palace Estate, J.N. Marg, Vadodara
Entry Fee- Fee for Palace- Rs. 200, Fee for Maharaja Fatesingh Museum (Indians) – Rs. 60 and Rs. 150 for foreigners. Fee for children is Rs. 40.
Timings: 10.30 AM-5.30 PM on all days except Monday for the Museum. Timings for the Palace are 10 AM-5 PM on all days except Monday.
How to Reach: The palace is just 7 kilometres away from the airport in Vadodara and can be reached with a cab. The railway station is also 4 kilometres away from the palace which is on the prominent Jawaharlal Nehru Marg thoroughfare. Cabs and auto rickshaws can be hailed for getting to the palace.
Sayaji Baug is just what the doctor ordered if you’re feeling a little weary and in need of some much-needed solace. The sprawling greenery, majestic lawns and gargantuan variety of flora will be a treat for your senses indeed! Named after the iconic Maharaja Sayajirao, the park was built in 1879 on the river bank across 113 parks. Set up a little picnic amidst the bushes or come across hidden wonders like beautiful Grecian statues, a Victorian-esque bandstand and even pristine deer strolling about in the zoo during your explorations.
The planetarium, aquarium, History of Health Museum and Vadodara Museum and Picture Gallery all combine to give you a plethora of delights that are hard to miss! Have kids with you? No problem! Simply set them up for a toy train ride that covers a decent 3.5 km, offering gorgeous views along the way! Want an Insta-ready background? Check out the uniquely crafted floral clock with machinery working from way under the ground. Boy if that isn’t deep (quite literally!) we wonder what is!
Address: Vinoba Bhave Road, Near Kala Ghoda, Sayajigunj, Vadodara.
Entry Fees- Rs. 7 per adult and Rs. 5 per child for planetarium. Rs. 40 and Rs. 20 per adult and per child respectively for toy train. Rs. 10 and Rs. 5 per adult and per child for zoo.
The park is closed on Thursdays.
How to Reach: Simply hop onto a cab or autorickshaws for reaching Sayaji Baug which is located in proximity to the famous Maharaja Sayajirao University.
Royal wonders never cease when you’re in Vadodara and delightfully so! One of the oldest palaces in the city, the Nazarbaugh Palace goes way back to 1727, having been built by Malhar Rao Gaekwad. Once used as the Baroda royal family’s guest house, this palace is a treasure trove for history lovers with its antiques, heirlooms, artifacts, Greco-Roman, Japanese and Chinese artifacts and a lot more. The Sheesh Mahal or glass palace is a stupendous treat for the senses and a true masterpiece by all means.
Address: Panigate Road, Chhipwad, Vadodara.
Entry Fees- No entry fees.
Timings: 9 AM-5 PM.
Indeed one of the top places to visit in Vadodara, the Baroda Museum & Picture Gallery promises a fun ride into the beating heart of the city, its historical past and of course, a fascinating glimpse into a diverse collection of artifacts from carved ceramics and an Egyptian mummy to antiques from Nepal, China and Japan. The picture gallery is famous for its Tibetan arts, most of which are from Sayajirao’s personal collection as well!
More surprises await you in the Zoology section where you’ll chance upon a gigantic blue-whale skeleton that goes up to 22 meters (yes you heard it right!). The library, with its mind-boggling collection of 23,000 books and journals is another great place for making fabulous discoveries if you’re a bibliophile.
Address: Fatehgunj Main Road, Sayaji Baug, Opposite Fine Art Faculty, Dak Bungalow, Sayajigunj, Vadodara.
Entry Fees: Rs. 10 (Indians) and Rs. 200 (foreign visitors).
Timings- 10.30 AM-5 PM (all days).
How to Reach: The museum can be accessed with public transport like autorickshaws and cabs and is situated near Professor Chandravadan Mehta Marg.
Looking for something surreal, almost out of a movie? Sursagar Talav has the same sort of effect on people, with the imposing Shiva statue and majestic Trishul rising from sparkling blue waters of the lake, leaving you in a meditative trance. The entire ambience fosters relaxation and you can almost feel divinity washing away your stresses while the surrounding flora and greenery heal your soul. The interesting part is that Sursagar Talav is an artificial lake (you’ll find it hard to believe!) and offers attractions like boating as well.
Picture a lazy afternoon with a pleasant sun and your beloved or loved ones for company as you paddle along the blue waters and take mesmerizing pictures of the statue amidst the shining horizon. Sounds like bliss doesn’t it? Indeed! Sunsets are the best times by all means while moonlit nights are suitable for more adventurous and romantically inclined visitors!
Address: Mandvi, Vadodara.
Entry Fees: Free.
Timings: 24 hours.
Continue with your exciting royal odyssey as you stop by at the pillared and imposing Makarpura Palace. Built with inspiration from Italian Renaissance styles, this palace will get you clicking frenetically. Every angle will look like a dream at this masterpiece built in 1870 courtesy Maharaja Khende Rao. Renovated by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad, the royal family summer house is a treat for the eyes and is a training location for the Indian Air Forces today.
While you may not be lucky enough to venture inside, simply catching a glimpse of the arches, spires and innumerable pillars is enough to make your heart skip a beat!
Address: Himmat Nagar, Makarpura, Vadodara.
Entry Fee: Rs. 125 per person.
Timings- 10 AM-6 PM (all days).
Palace closed for public viewing.
Venture away from the main city to rediscover bliss and artistic splendor alike at Sankheda. A unique art and crafts village nestled 50 kilometres away from Vadodara, this art-filled idyll is home to the famous Kharadi community which is known for splendid woodwork and teakwood masterpieces.
These pieces are also known as Sankheda after the town itself and are lovingly polished into brown and orange. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that these artworks are sold across the globe and not just throughout India. Buy a piece of art and take home Vadodara’s artistic magnificence in your pocket!
Address: Sankheda, Vadodara.
Entry Fees: Zero.
Timings: 9 AM-7 PM (all days).
How to Reach: Sankheda is roughly 50 kilometres away from Vadodara city and can be accessed through cabs or buses.
8. Kirti Mandir
One of the best places to visit in Vadodara without a doubt (particularly for spiritually inclined visitors), Kirti Mandir is a pristine temple complex dedicated primarily to Lord Shiva. The architecture and design of this temple that also owes its construction to Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad in 1936, will captivate you immensely. Affectionately called the Temple of Fame, it is known as a cenotaph for the ancestors of the Baroda royal family.
Want to know something truly unique about this temple? For answers, look at the tall Shikhara, a prominent part of Hindu temples which usually have statues/idols of various Gods and Goddesses. Here, the Shikhara has the moon, sun and earth, complete with an Indian map prior to Partition. Everything is sculpted in bronze. Discover the fascinating mysteries of the Kirti Mandir and check out the murals carved beautifully across the structure. Raja Ravi Varma paintings and other items used previously by the royal family are added bonuses for sure!
Address: Kothi Road, Dak Bungalow, Sayajigunj, Vadodara.
Entry Fee: No entry fees.
Timings: 9 AM-7 PM (all days).
How to Reach: The temple is located near the Abhivyakti Sanskrutik Kendra. You can easily reach via cabs or autorickshaws.
Want a little thrill, adventure and history thrown in together into a compelling mix? Shift away from the madding crowd to this ancient fortified district town that locals believe was founded by King Siddhraj Jaisinh prior to the 13th century. Take in the ancient yet beautiful city that will amaze you with its majestic structures and walls with intricate artwork and designs. Iconography finds pride of place across the fort walls with artistic splendor rampant in their placement. There are four gates to explore with Hira Gate being the most famous one.
Local lore says that this gate was built by a mason who was buried underneath the same. He was punished for attempting to build a pool for the love of his life. This has given rise to several tempting myths and fascinating stories regarding the Hira Gate and the fort itself. Oh and did you know that Asia’s biggest narrow-gauge railway station is found in this town? We bet you didn’t!
Entry Fees: No entry fees.
How to Reach: The village is a little away from Vadodara city so you will have to take a cab to reach Dabhoi.
Vadodara is not just about beautiful palaces and pristine temples. It is also known for the legend of Qutbuddin Muhammed Khan, one of Emperor Akbar’s generals. Qutbuddin Hajira is a tomb built in his remembrance back in 1586. Take in the spectacularly designed monument amidst sprawling lawns and lush greenery and feast your eyes on the captivating carvings and Jaali work. The designs on the windows and arches will also catch your eye instantly to say the least!
Experience Mughal architecture in all its splendor, while the old-world allure is carried forward by the ancient step-well nearby where you can certainly expect a Kodak moment (or two!).
Address: Danteshwar, Vadodara.
Entry Fees: No entry fees.
Timings: 9 AM-6 PM (all days).
These are indeed the 10 top places to visit in Vadodara that you should not miss. Vadodara will give you a princely feeling, laden with nostalgia, spellbinding architecture, healing spirituality, colonnaded history, museums and culture seeping out at every corner.
Indeed, it is a fantastic ride for the aesthetes, culture buffs and history lovers alike. Without further ado, book your tickets and plan a mesmerizing trip to Vadodara. It will leave you satiated yet strangely craving more!
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