The Sanskari Nagari
|Type of Tourism||: City Tourism, Heritage Tourism|
|Area||: 100.95 square kilometers|
|Population||: 1,602,424 (As per Indian census- 2012)|
|Altitude||: 129 meters|
|Best Tourist Season||: September to April|
|Languages spoken||: Gujarati, Marathi, Hindi, English|
|Telephone Code||: India (0265), International (+91)|
|Pin Code||: 390001|
|Best Tourist Season||: October to March|
|Clothing recommended||: Light cotton in summer, woolen in winter|
|What to buy||: Camel leather articles embedded with pure gold and stone colors, hide vessels, textiles, Khadi, cotton and Bandhani clothes, bed sheets, curtains, intricately carved showpieces, creative home décor articles, paintings, factory made and hand crafted furniture items, jewellery, other handicrafts|
|Food Specialties||: Leelo Chevdo, Chana Chatpat, Sev Usal, Dhokla, Khaman, Sev Khamani, Khandavi, Handvo, Undhiyu, Chorafali, Fafda, Ghanthia, Bhajiya, Methi na Gota, Kachori, Muthia, Patra, Dal vada, Khichu, Shakkarpara, Bhakhri, Thepla, Khichdi, Gathia nu Shaak, Ringna no Olo, Sev Tameta nu Shaak, Kadhi, Gujarati Thali, Adadiya, Sutarfeni, Kansar, Halvasan, Malpua, Magas, Sukhadi, Mohanthal, Ghooghra, Shrikhand, Laapsi, Topra paak, etc.|
|Local transportation||: Auto rickshaw, city buses|
|Vadodara Excursions||: Ajwa & Nimeta, Dabhoi, Nareshwar, Dakor, Chandod, Sankheda, Kabirwad, Galteshwar, Kayavarohan, Champaner, Pavagadh, Chhota Udepur, Sindhrot Nature Park, Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary|
Previously known by the appellation ‘Baroda’, Vadodara; nestled on the banks of the river Vishwamitri happens to be the fourth largest and one of the most populated cities in the state of Gujarat. Positioned about 130 kilometers to the southeast of the state capital Gandhinagar and some 114 km away from Ahmedabad, Vadodara; the former seat of the princely Gaekwar State now functions as the headquarters of the Vadodara District. Boasting of its historical, cultural, architectural and archaeological legacy of more than one thousand years, Vadodara traces its genesis back to the period of 9th century AD when it existed as a small town named Ankottaka. From antediluvian eon till today, this metropolis has been a witness to ascends and declines of several civilizations and dynasties which bequeathed it with a rich and diverse cultural heritage.
Vadodara, renowned for its swanky palaces, sublime temples, cozy avenues, eloquent art galleries, eminent museums, well-laid parks, vivid festivals and graceful ambience is essentially the cultural capital of Gujarat. Rightly honored with the laurel ‘the Sanskari Nagari’ which means, ‘the city of Culture and Values’, Vadodara is also reckoned by the title ‘the Sayaji Nagari’. The phase of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III’s ascendancy is believed to be the golden era in Vadodara’s history. Also a proud home to some of the world famous educational institutes including the MS University, the present day Vadodara is a blooming industrial and commercial hub of the Gujarat State. This city has engrossed many national and international IT Companies to set up their operational centers here as people cherish residing in Vadodara due to its comparatively uncomplicated life and abundance of resources.
In ancient times Vadodara was known by the epithet ‘Chandanavati’ which had derived from the name of its then monarch ‘Raja Chandan’ of a Rajput tribe named Dor who had conquered this city from the Jains. Chandanavati was also known by the monikers ‘Virakshetra’ or ‘Virawati’ which means, ‘the land of gallant warriors’. Later on, this civic came to be known by the names ‘Vadpatraka’ or ‘Wadodara’ which are supposed to have been coined from a Sanskrit word ‘Vatodar’ meaning ‘in the heart of the banyan tree’. According to the prevalent anecdote, the terrain in and around the present day Vadodara was crammed with Banyan Trees that formed a dense canopy resembling a thick huge tent. The township sprouted under this natural covering of banyan trees emerged as ‘Baroda’. The linguists interpret the term ‘Baroda’ as have originated from two separate words ‘Vat’ and ‘Aodh’, wherein ‘Vat’ means Banyan Tree and ‘Aodh’ means a tent or canopy. Ancient English merchants and travelers in their travelogues refer to Vadodara as ‘Brodera’ and some believe that the word ‘Baroda’ has originated from the word ‘Brodera’. A small township in Michigan of United States was christened after Baroda in 1907 AD. Baroda was officially baptized as ‘Vadodara’ many years after Independence in 1974 AD. The Vishwamitri River on whose banks this charming civil has been established derives its name from a great mythological sage ‘Rishi Vishwamitra’.
History Of Vadodara
The evidences of the existence of pre-historic man have been discovered at numerous sites in the Mahi Sagar Valley about 10 to 20 kilometers away to the northeast of Vadodara. Corresponding to that, the traces of the first human settlement have been found on the right banks of the river Vishwamitri which are estimated to be dating back to 1000 BC. Roughly in the beginning of the Christian Era, a small community named Ankottaka (present day Akota), was established at the very spot and the mount atop which it was perched came to be known as ‘Dhantekri’. As a result of its strategic geographical location on the ancient trade route between Gujarat and Malwa, Ankottaka gradually burgeoned into an ancient commercial centre. It is also suggested that this tiny township also held trade relations with Rome in the gone by era. The town further flourished under the dominance of Gupta and Vallabhi Kings yet, a severe flood in 600 AD made the inhabitants shift away from the banks of the river Vishwamitri to the present location of the Kothi area of Vadodara.
The earliest available chronicled history of Vadodara is dated back to 812 AD when ancient traders settled in this precinct. For next 500 years till 1297 AD the Vadodara Province was chiefly reined by different Hindu kings of various royal clans including Chalukyas and Solanki Rajputs. With the accession of Muslim rule in India, the sovereignty of this territory was abducted by the Delhi Sultans from the Hindu Rajas. Delhi Sultans were succeeded by the mighty Mughals who were later overpowered by the Maratha Empire. Before the Gaekwads conquered Baroda, this city was ruled by the Babi Nawabs; the officers of the Mughal Emperors. With the conclusion of Mughal Reign in India in 1732 AD, a Maratha general Pilaji Rao Gaekwad captured Baroda. Henceforward till the Independence of India, Baroda State under the British suzerainty retained its status as a Princely State and the city Vadodara served as its capital.
With the accession of Maharaja Sayajirao III in 1875 AD, the golden era of the Baroda State commenced. Sayaji Rao III proved to be the most efficient ruler who introduced significant public and bureaucratic changes and improvements in the region and achieved progress in all the possible fields. He contributed a lot in modernizing Baroda and established the image of this city as a leading educational and industrial hub. The princely state of Baroda was annexed to the free India in 1947 and remained a part of the Bombay State till 1960 AD when it was incorporated into the newly formed Gujarat State. The city Baroda was officially rechristened as Vadodara in 1974 AD.