Gujarat’s third-largest city, Vadodara, is renowned as the state’s cultural and educational hub and is located on the banks of the river Vishwamistri. The ancient name of Vadodara was Vadapradaka, which translates as a village surrounded by banyan trees. Archaeological discoveries demonstrate that this area has been inhabited by humans since prehistoric times. Vadodara was ruled by the Mughals, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Solankis, Delhi Sultans, Imperial Guptas, and the Marathas. Vadodara is now a city of palaces, gardens, and massive industrial complexes.

Laksmi Vilas Palace

The Lakshmi Vilas Palace, one of the most exquisite homes ever built, is situated between vast gardens, mango orchards, and expansive meadows. The palace is an excellent example of the fusion of Hindu, Mughal, and Gothic architectural forms since it makes use of domes, minarets, and arches. The outside of the palace is decorated with Indo-Saracenic-inspired details like miniature domed “chattris” with finials, cusped arched entrances, and jharokha windows. The interiors have also been richly decorated with intricate stucco work, paintings, chandeliers made of crystal imported from abroad, stained glass windows, Venetian floor mosaics, fine furniture, and sculptures by the renowned Italian artist Felici.

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The Lakhsmi Vilas Palace_©Wikipedia
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The Lakhsmi Vilas Palace_©Gujarat Tourism
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Interior of Laksmi Vilas Palace_©Sandeep Mathur

Champaner Pavagadh Archaeological Park

Champaner is the only entire Islamic but pre-Mughal city in India. This place holds a beautiful mix of Maru- Gurjara and Islamic architectural styles. It is as if domes and arches have seamlessly come together with intricate stone carvings and perforated windows. There are several places to visit- Jami Masjid, Saher ki Masjid, Nevada Masjid, Kamani Masjid, and Kabutar Khana Pavilion with marvellous architectural features. There is an impressive eastern porch in Jamni Masjid, having intricately carved arches and jali windows. At the same time, Nevada Masjid is unique because of the presence of a cenotaph right in front of the mosque. On the other hand, arrays of arches with no roof in sight have made Kamani Masjid very special. 

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Jame Masjid of Champaner_©Wikipedia
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Keveba Masjid_© storiesbysoumya.com
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Kabutar Khana Pavilion_© storiesbysoumya.com

EME Temple

The EME Temple, devoted to Lord Shiva, is unique in style and concept thanks to its geodesic construction clad in aluminium sheets. The architecture of the EME Temple is a testament to secularism because it includes two domes, one devoted to Hinduism and the other to Islam. The Jain culture is represented by the two entrances, the Christian religion by the temple’s tower and the Buddhist religion by the tower’s gilded top. Since there are no separate places of worship for many faiths, the temple houses the sacred objects of all religions in one location.

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EME Temple_©tripuntold.com
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EME Temple_©gujaratexpert.com
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EME Temple_© gujaratexpert.com

Baps Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

The Vadodara neighbourhood of Atladara is home to the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir. The BAPS Mandir serves as the focal point of several religious and cultural events. Its teachings emphasize Hindu ethics while keeping in mind Indian culture and the importance of family unity. Architectural splendour is well renowned for the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir. Many holy characters, including Lord Shiva and Lord Krishna, are depicted in the intricate carvings on the temple walls, but the prominent idols here are Swaminarayan and Gunaititanad Swami. The temple hosts celebrations for most Hindu holidays, drawing visitors all year.

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Baps Shri Swaminarayan Mandir_©baps.org
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Baps Shri Swaminarayan Mandir_© tripcdn.com
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Baps Shri Swaminarayan Mandir_© punetourism.co.in

Hazira Maqbara

Hazira Maqbara, the mausoleum, contains the grave of Qutb-ud-din Muhammad Khan, who was the tutor of Salim, son and successor of Akbar, and also that of his son Naurang Khan who held essential offices in Gujarat under Akbar. The mausoleum resembles Humayun’s mausoleum in Delhi since it is constructed on a high octagonal platform with little gates facing the cardinal directions and five arches on each side. The tomb was erected somewhere about 1586, according to the Archaeological Survey of India. It is designed after the Delhi Mughal graves. The actual grave is located in an underground chamber in that sequence.

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Hazira Maqbara _©wikimedia.org
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Hazira Maqbara_© gujarattourism.com
Hazira Mabara_© travelfoodandliving.files.wordpress.com

Kirti Mandir

Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III built Kirti Mandir, also known as the Temple of Fame, in 1936 as a memorial for the Gaekwad family. The structure, which has an exquisite architectural design, has several elegantly designed balconies, terraces, and tombs. The centrepiece of the attraction is a magnificently carved shikhara that rises to a height of 35 feet. The shikhara is decorated with sculptures of the sun, moon, and earth, as well as an unbroken map of India. The inside halls are adorned with various magnificent murals and paintings, including those by well-known artists like Nandalal Bose. Prayers and musical performances are currently held in the Kirti Mandir’s central hall.

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Kirti Mandir_©wikimedia.org
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Kirti Mandir_ ©gujarattourism.com
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Kirti Mandir_©gujarattourism.com

Nayaya Mandir

The Nyaya Mandir – Temple of Justice – houses the District Court of Vadodara. A statue of Chimnabai, Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III’s wife is located in the central hall and is covered with mosaic tiles. In the city’s heart, Maharaja Sayajirao had commissioned architect Robert Chisholm to construct a vegetable market. Still, once Chisholm finished in 1896, he altered his mind and converted it into a Town Hall and eventually a court. The Nyaya Mandir is one of several buildings in the city designed in an Indo-Saracenic style by Chisholm and mixes Gothic, Renaissance, and Mughal elements. 

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Nayaya Mandir_©touristinformationcenter.net
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Nayaya Mandir_©tripadvisor.com
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Nayaya Mandir_©indianexpress.com

Surya Narayan Temple

The Surya Narayan Mandir is one of Vadodara’s most renowned temples. The Surya Narayan Baug area’s luscious greenery surrounds the shrine. This building is made of white limestone and decorated with beautiful ornamentation in the Nagara style. The sanctum of the sun temple, which faces east, is topped with a Chikara. Beautiful carvings of warriors, horses, and celestial bodies can be seen on the temple wall, which showcases the artistic prowess of the people who lived at that time. Before the sanctum, there is an octagonal Mandap with six verandas. In the temple’s vicinity stands a giant, stunning black elephant statue. The temple was designed such that the sun’s first rays fall directly on it in the morning.

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Surya Narayan Temple_©freepik.com
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Surya Narayan Temple_©tripadvisor.com
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Surya Narayan Mandir_©googleusercontent.com

Khanderao Market

To commemorate his region’s silver jubilee in 1906, Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad ll built the massive Khanderao Market complex. The building houses the fruit and vegetable market and the Vadodara Municipal Corporation’s offices (VMC). The building was the previous design work by renowned architect Robert Chisholm before he left for England. It was constructed in the Indo-Saracenic style. The building’s main facade is decorated with “Nagara style Shikhars,” little “Chattris,” “Toranas,” and an impressive gateway. The doorway has a central section with sloping “Bengali” roofs and tall “Shikaras” on either side. The entranceway is further embellished by a massive clock in the middle surrounded on either side by “Jharokha” windows.

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Khanderao Market_©tripadvisor.com
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Khanderao Market_©static.toiimg.com
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Khanderao market_©ourvadodara.com

Maharaja Sayajirao University

In Vadodara city, Maharaja Sayajirao University is one institution that is home to a treasure trove of magnificent heritage structures. The majestic and eye-catching architectural expanse mesmerizes not just the neighborhood but also visitors from outside. A significant landmark of the city is the magnificent E-shaped Indo-Saracenic style art faculty dome, which is the second-highest dome in Asia. Walking around the campus is like entering a book. The current vice-chancellor has also suggested creating a heritage tour of MSU as a tourist attraction to make this stroll a memorable experience.

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Maharaja Sayajirao University_©wikimedia.org
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Maharaja Sayajirao University _©wikimedia.org
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Maharaja Sayajirao University _©shiksha.com

Makarpura Palace

The Makarpura Palace, constructed in the middle of the gardens, was ordered in 1870 by Maharaja Khanderao Gaekwad. The palace was built as the royal family’s summer home and hunting retreat. While the garden was built in Japanese style with elegant fountains, a swimming pool, a succession of pavillions, and a lake with swans, the palace has Renaissance-style architecture. Classical arches are arranged in rows throughout the building, and as one climbs, they gradually get smaller. A single-story Porte-Cochere in front features multifoil fountains in Italian style. A series of terraces connected by staircases and shaded by corrugated Chajjas made up the rear part.

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Makarpura Palace_©touristinformationcenter.net
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Makarpura Palace_©i.ytimg.com
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Makarpura Palace _©wikimedia.org

Tambekar Wada

The Bhau Tambekar Wada, a historic structure constructed in 1874, is located on Pratap Road, close to the clock tower, in the center of Vadodara City. This Maratha mansion has four stories and is embellished with 19th-century murals, paintings, superbly sculpted doors, minutely carved walls, and several arcades and columns. The back walls are constructed into a timber framework, and the entire mansion is raised on a stone foundation. Paintings of Ramayana and Mahabharata events from the 19th century, gods and goddesses from the Brahmanical pantheon, and war scenes with Indian and European troops and nobles may be seen on the first floor’s shell-lime plastered walls and wooden doors.

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Tambekar Wada_©gujarattourism.com
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Tambekar Wada_©Wikipedia
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Tambekar Wada_©gujarattourism.com

Mandvi Gate

One of the most notable landmarks in Vadodara is Mandvi Gate, the north gate of the Royal Enclosure for the Baroda State. Its past dates back to the Mughal era. It is a four-story concrete building with an attached clock. The majority of the building is still standing, including some jaalis. The gate is lit in vibrant colours on special occasions like holidays and cultural gatherings. Three imposing arched arches can be found on each of the four corners of this spectacular square-shaped Mandavi pavilion. On significant days, it is lit up. When it was formerly a market, two wide streets that split into four parts and converged in the middle were interspersed with it.

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Mandvi Gate_©indiaheritagewalks.org
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Mandvi Gate_© travalour.com
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Mandvi Gate_© touristinformationcenter.net

Tapoyan Temple

One of Vadodara’s best and most well-known temples is the Tapovan Temple. It is a stunning temple complex that the Indian Oil Corporation created and that Reliance Petrochemical Industries presently maintains. Gaushala is located on the backside. The lawns are lush, green, and well-kept. With a meditation hall, the God Karthik, God Balaji, and all the Gods and Goddesses of Indian culture are worshipped at the Tapovan Temple in Vadodara. This Mandir’s architecture is distinctive, and the ceilings are painted in exquisite colour combinations that are beautiful to look at.

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Tapoyan Temple_©i.ytimg.com
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Tapoyan Temple _© trawell.in
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Tapoyan Temple _© localguidesconnect.com

Kuber Vendari Temple

One of the most sacred places in the city is this 2500-year-old temple, which is located at an incredible height of more than 800 feet from the Narmada shore. On Somvati Amavasya, worshippers go there to honor Kuber Bhandari, a manifestation of Lord Shiva. Folklore says that when Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati came to this location, they encountered a food and water shortage. He decided to eliminate this threat by staying around constantly and providing food and drink.

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Kuber Vandari Temple_©tripuntold.com
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Kuber Vandari Temple_© mouthshut.com
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Kuber Vandari Temple_© funwithtour.in

References:

Let’s dig deep into the grandeur of Vadodara’s Lakshmi Vilas Palace (2021) SY Blog. Available at: https://www.squareyards.com/blog/lets-dig-deep-into-the-grandeur-of-vadodaras-lakshmi-vilas-palace (Accessed: November 18, 2022). 

Soumya.gayatri (2021) Champaner Pavagadh archaeological park – a lost World Heritage Site, Stories by Soumya. Available at: https://www.storiesbysoumya.com/champaner-pavagadh-archaeological-park-heritage-site/ (Accessed: November 18, 2022). 

Eme Temple (no date) Discover India. Available at: http://www.discoveredindia.com/gujarat/attractions/temples/eme-temple.htm (Accessed: November 18, 2022). 

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan mandir (no date) Thrillophilia. Available at: https://www.thrillophilia.com/attractions/baps-shri-swaminarayan-mandir (Accessed: November 18, 2022). 

Hazira Maqbara (qutb-ud-din Muhammad Khan’s tomb) go back (no date) Hazira Maqbara (Qutb-ud-din Muhammad Khan’s tomb). Available at: https://www.baroda.com/2/Sightseeing-In-Vadodara/Hazira-Maqbara-Qutb-ud-din-Muhammad-Khan%E2%80%99s-tomb (Accessed: November 18, 2022). 

Kirti mandir (no date) Thrillophilia. Available at: https://www.thrillophilia.com/attractions/kirti-mandir (Accessed: November 18, 2022). 

Nyaya mandir go back (no date) Nyaya Mandir. Available at: https://www.baroda.com/2/Sightseeing-In-Vadodara/Nyaya-Mandir (Accessed: November 18, 2022). 

singh, P. (no date) Rajasthan tour planner, Ranakpur, Timings, Entry Fees, Location, Facts, History, Architecture & Visiting Time. Available at: https://www.rajasthantourplanner.com/Monuments-Citywise/surya-narayan-temple.html (Accessed: November 18, 2022). 

www.facebook.com/HistoryOfVadodaraBaroda (2019) Khanderao market, History of Vadodara – Baroda. Available at: https://historyofvadodara.in/khanderao-market/ (Accessed: November 18, 2022). 

Darshana Chaturvedi / TNN / Nov 19, 2009 (no date) Maharaja Sayajirao University, a treasure royale of heritage wonder: Vadodara News – Times of India, The Times of India. TOI. Available at: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/vadodara/maharaja-sayajirao-university-a-treasure-royale-of-heritage-wonder/articleshow/5244754.cms (Accessed: November 18, 2022). 

www.facebook.com/HistoryOfVadodaraBaroda (2019) Makarpura Palace, History of Vadodara – Baroda. Available at: https://historyofvadodara.in/makarpura-palace/ (Accessed: November 18, 2022). 

Tambekar Wada go back (no date) Tambekar Wada. Available at: https://www.baroda.com/2/Sightseeing-In-Vadodara/Tambekar-Wada (Accessed: November 18, 2022). 

Mandvi Gate (no date) Mandvi Gate | District Vadodara,Government of Gujarat | India. Available at: https://vadodara.nic.in/tourist-place/mandvi-gate/ (Accessed: November 18, 2022). 

User-Twitter (2017) Tapovan Temple vadodatra gujarat, Tourist Places. Available at: https://tourisplaceindia.blogspot.com/2017/01/tapovan-temple.html (Accessed: November 18, 2022). 

Hotels, L.T. (2020) Top 10 most famous tourist places to visit in Vadodara, Lemon Tree Hotels Blog. Available at: https://blog.lemontreehotels.com/top-10-places-to-visit-in-vadodara/ (Accessed: November 18, 2022). 

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A young and enthusiastic architect from Bangladesh who has an immense interest in writing and content-making. She loves to connect with different people while sharing thoughts and ideas. Also, she is determined to be an ecologically concerned designer of tomorrow.

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