Laxmi Vilas Palace
About the location: Still the residence of Vadodara’s royal family, Laxmi Vilas was built in full-throttle 19th-century Indo-Saracenic flourish at a cost of Rs 6 million. Built over 500 acres, this is the largest private home built till date and four times the size of Buckingham Palace. The most impressive Raj-era palace in Gujarat, its elaborate interiors boast well-maintained mosaics, chandeliers and artworks, as well as a highly impressive collection of weaponry and art. Paintings by the famous artist, Raja Ravi Verma who was specially commissioned by the then Maharaja of Baroda, adorn the palace. It’s set in expansive park-like grounds, which include a golf course. The Navlakhi stepwell in the premises is a window to the ancient water resource system built by kings to overcome the parched lands of Gujarat. Other buildings within the complex include the LVP Banquets & Conventions, Moti Baug Palace and the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum building. This is also home to the Moti Bagh Cricket Ground, the offices of the Baroda Cricket Association and a rare indoor teak floored tennis court and badminton court.
Brief History: The palace was built by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III in 1890, who ruled the Baroda State. Major Charles Mant was credited to be the main architect of the palace.
How to get there
By Road: Vadodara, 112 km from Ahmedabad and 420 km from Mumbai, is located on National Highway 8. There are various state transport (ST) buses and private luxury coaches from all over Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, and Rajasthan. Ahmedabad-Vadodara intercity buses take 2 hours and run every 15 minutes. There are also several private bus companies on or near Station Road. Tickets vary according to the type of bus, but the average rate is Rs 100/- to Ahmedabad and Rs 200/- to Mumbai. You can also rent a car with a driver to explore the city and its surroundings at the Express Hotel. Rates range from Rs. 650/- without air-conditioning to Rs. 2200/- for luxury vehicles, for 8 hrs or 80 km per day.
By Rail: Vadodara, a major railway junction is located on the Western Railway, which connects Mumbai, Delhi, and Ahmedabad.
By Air: Vadodara is connected by various domestic airlines to Ahmedabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Daman, and Pune.