Vadodara district is a district in the state of Gujarat. The city of Vadodara (Baroda), in the western part of the district, is the administrative headquarters. Vadodara District covers an area of 7,794 sq km. It had a population of 3,641,802 of which 45.20% were urban as of 2001 census.
The district is bounded by Panchmahal and Dahod districts to the north, Anand and Kheda districts to the west, Bharuch and Narmada districts to the south, and the state of Madhya Pradesh to the east. The tallest point in the region is the hill of Pavagadh. The Mahi River passes through the district.
Baroda State was a former Indian State in Western India. It was an important native state and had direct relations with the Indian Government but geographically was in intimate connection with Bombay Presidency. Baroda State has a rich historical background. The ardent historian can trace Baroda's history over 2000 years and more. Before the Gaekwars captured Baroda, it was ruled by Babi Nawabs, who were the officers of the Delhi ruler. Moghul rule came to an end in 1732, when Pilaji Rao Gaekwar brought the Maratha activities in Southern Gujarat to a head and captured it. Except for a short period, Baroda continued to be in the reign of the Gaekwars from 1734 to 1948. The greatest period in the Maratha rule of Baroda started with the accession of Maharaja Sayaji- Rao III in 1875. It was an era of great progress and constructive achievements in all fields. The State became a part of Bombay State in May 1948 and of Gujarat State on 1st May 1960.
Vadodara or Baroda, the capital city of Gaekwar State, is situated on the banks of Vishwamitri, a river whose name derived from the great saint Rishi Vishvamitra. The city was once called Chandanavati after its ruler Raja Chandan of Dor tribe of Rajputs, who wrested it from the Jains. The capital had also another name "Virakshetra" or "Virawati" (a land of warriors). Later on it was known as Vadpatraka or Wadodará, which according to tradition is a corrupt form of the Sanskrit word Vatodar means 'in the heart of the banyan tree'. It is now almost impossible to ascertain when the various changes in the name were made; but early English travellers and merchants mention the town as Brodera, and it is from this that the name Baroda is derived. Again in 1974 the name changed to Vadodara.
SAYAJI BAUG: Sayajirao III built Sayaji Baug, well known as Kamati Baug, in an area of about 113 acres, on the river Vishwamitri, The garden has a Zoo, a Musesum and Picture Gallery, a small museum for Health and Hygience, and for children a Toy Train and Fun rides. It has well Maintained lawns, decorated with sculptures placed on pedestals. The park has fountains and trees, which makes it worchwhile for a visit. The park also for a planetarium. The park also has a BandStand.
FLORAL CLOCK: he floral clock is first of its kind in the state. It consists of hour, minute and seconds hands that move on 20 feet diameter dial. The whole mechanism is underground giving the natural look.
BARODA MUSEUM AND PICTURE GALLERY: The famous museum was built in 1894 on the lines of Victoria, Albert and Science Museums of London. 'Mad' Mant in association with R.F. Chisholm who refined some of Mant's finest works to make genuine Indo-Sarcenic architecture designed the Building of this Museum. It preserves a rich collection of art, sculpture, ethnography & ethnology. Several of the paintings are not only original but masterpieces at the picture gallery. It also houses a skeleton of a blue whale and an Egyptian Mummy.
SARDAR PATEL PLANETARIUM: Located in Sayaji Baug, the Planetarium, with a capacity of 200 seats, runs 3 shows everyday (except Thursday). The audio- visual shows are on the movement of celestial bodies in space, earth's planetary system and India's space program.
SAYAJIBAUG ZOO: The Zoo is located inside the Sayaji Baug. Situated in the natural aromatic atmosphere the Zoo has several types of mammals, birds, reptiles, and alligators.
AUROBINDO SOCIETY: An international monument of Shri Aurobindo. Relice of Shri Aurbindo are preserved here. It is open to all for meditation. It houses a library and study room.
TOY TRAIN:The Toy Train is extremely popular amongst children. It runs on a small track width 10 inches covering a distance of 3.5 Km. giving the entire view of the garden to the children.
E.M.E.TEMPLE.(Dakshinamurty Temple): Located in the cantonment area, this unique Shiva temple of E.M.E. school is a major attraction for both tourist and devotees. It is entirely built of aluminium sheet in 1966.
KHANDERAO MARKET: This is a palatial building created by Sayaji Rao III in 1906 at a cost of three lakhs. It was then presented to the Municipal Corporation on the Silver Jubilee celebrations. There are many Municipal Offices housed in this building. The main entrance resembles in architecture that of the gate of dabhoi fort.
LAXMI VILAS PALACE: It is one of the finest buildings in Vadodara. Maharaja Sayaji Rao III built in the style of Indo-Sarcenic architecture for his residence. The construction of this place was from 1878 to 1890 AD at a cost of about 60 lakhs. The interior of Laxmi Vilas Place in marble mosaic, fine stone, glass and wood is enchanting and has valuable furnishings. Maharaja's personal Museum is also housed in the same premises.
KIRTI MANDIR: This is a majestic monumental building also known as Temple of Fame. Built by Maharaja Sayaji Rao III in 1936 AD to perpetuate the glorious memories of his ancestors, it has various rooms preserving the statues and the photographs of the Royal family. It is an 'E' shaped building with domes, terraces, balconies and a central sikhara, of 33 meters height, built in the Hindu Style.
NYAY MANDIR: This Temple of justice, is a magnificent and massive building built in Mixed Indo- Sarcenic and European style by Maharaja Sayaji Rao III. It is two storied with large courts and a fine central hall decorated with mosaic works. A beautiful marble statue of Chimnbhai, the first queen of Sayaji Rao III adorns the hall. The building is used at present as District court.
MAKARPURA PALACE: This lovely place was build by Maharaja Khanderao (1856-1870 AD) for his residence. There was a magnificent Deer Park adjoining the place. Sayaji Rao III added a new wing to it and renovated the palace, which was in ruins. This new wing was designed in the contemporary European style. An excellent garden and a summerhouse surround the palace.
M.S. UNIVERSITY: The premier and outstanding Residential University campus was established in 1882 by Maharaja Sayaji Rao III. There are architecturally interesting buildings in the campus. The Central dome of the Faculty of Arts is 144 feet high. Various higher education disciplines are available to the students including Fine Arts. The University has a rich collection of books on almost all subjects and in various languages.
LAHERI PURA GATE: This is a picturesque Gate with three large arches. It is the western gateway to the fortified medieval town of Vadodara.
NAZARBAUG PALACE: Situated in the old walled city near Mandvi Clock Tower, it is the oldest palace built in old classic style in the late 19th century.
PRATAP VILAS PALACE: Designed in renaissance architecture, it houses the Railways Staff College, the main training center of the Indian Railways. The college is equipped with a beautiful mini railway model room showing different types of railway operations including track signals.
MAQBARA (Hajira): t was built in Safavi-Persian style. It is famous for its carved marble windows. Constructed in memory of Kutub-ud-din, the General of the Army of the Great King Akbar, it is one of the oldest Moghul monuments of the city.
PALACE MUSEUM (Maharaja Fatehsingrao Gaekwad Museum): Located in the Laxmi Vilas Palace, it has a fabulous collection of Greek, Roman and European Sculptures and Art objects. There are original paintings of India's celebrated artist Raja Ravi Varma and European oil paintings.