Vadodara, also known as Baroda is a cultured, harmonious university town, situated about 100 kms. southeast of Ahmedabad. Before independence, Vadodara was the capital of the one of the most powerful princely states of Baroda and covered 21,144 square kms. The family name Gaekwad means Protector of Cows. The Gaekwad stood high in the order of precedence and was only one of five rulers who received a 21 gun salute. He was reputedly so rich that he had a carpet woven of diamonds and pearls and cannons cast in gold. Parks, lakes and palaces dominate the old city. It is now a rapidly expanding industrial centre, yet still a pleasant place to visit. Today, Vadodara prides itself as an educational centre and home to the sprawling MS University. Tourist Attractions in Vadodara The tourist attractions in Vadodara are the Laxmi Vilas Palace, Naulakhi Well, Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum and Nazar Bagh Palace. The Laxmi Vilas Palace was built by R.H. Chisholm. The palace is faced in red Agra sandstone with dressings of blue trapstone from Pune and Rajasthani marble. The Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum contins some fine European paintings. Laxmi Vilas Palace The Laxmi Vilas Palace was built by R.H. Chisholm. This palace was built in full throttle 19th century Indo-Saracenic style for Rs.6 million. The after early designs by the military engineer Mant, the facade of this extraordinary building is 150 m wide. The palace is faced in red Agra sandstone with dressings of blue trapstone from Pune and Rajasthani marble. The approach to the palace is very pleasant and the interior is spectacular. The Durbar Hall has walls and floor in Venetian mosaic and marble is used extensively throughout, as is stained glass from London. Laxmi Vilas Palace, Vadodara The Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum contains some fine European paintings. Tambekar Wada The Tambekar Wada is a wooden multistoreyed townhouse. This typical Maratha mansion was once the residence of Bhau Tambekar, Diwan of Baroda. Inside are some beautiful 19th century murals. Kirti Mandir The Kirti Mandir is situated around the Sursagar Lake in the centre of the town. The Kirti Mandir houses the Gaekwad Samadhi or memorial ground. Sayaji Bagh Within this shady, pleasant park is the Baroda Museum, which houses some good Asian statues and carvings, mangy zoology exhibits and an Egyptian room. The gallery has lovely Mughal miniatures and a motley crew of European masters. Nazar Bagh Palace The Nazar Bagh Palace has a Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace), a collection of the embroidered cloth and the jewel 'Star of the south'. The solid gold and silver guns, each barrel 127 kgs. in weight were kept here which on ceremonial occasions, were drawn by the teams of milk-white bullocks. Kirti Mandir, Vadodara Makarpura Palace is situated about 7 kms. to the south of the city. This was built in an Italian Renaissance style and has a facade of three storeys each with an arcade running around beautiful gardens. Naulakhi Well The Naulakhi Well is a fine baoli, about 50 kms. to the north of the palace. It is a well preserved baoli (step well) which has galleried compartments or levels. How to reach Vadodara By Air: The airport is situated 8 kms. northeast of the town. The regular flights are available to Mumbai and Delhi from Vadodara. By Rail: Vadodara is connected with trains to Ahmedabad, Jamnagar and Porbandar. By Road: Vadodara is connected with Ahmedabad, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Junagadh and Bhuj.