Spreading along the banks of the Vishwamitri River, Vadodara is an ancient city founded more than 2,000 years ago. Harbouring a UNESCO World Heritage Site, ancient palaces and traditional markets, it also surprises with modern shopping malls and a state-of-the-art planetarium.
Things to do in Vadodara
Old and new blend harmoniously on winding weathered lanes dotted with gourmet restaurants and boutiques. Laxmi Vilas Palace dazzles with luxurious furnishings, paintings, chandeliers and stained-glass windows while housing an impressive museum of art curated by the royal family. Durbar Hall on the premises offers musical concerts and cultural presentations.
Aurobindo Ashram, an offshoot of the main ashram in Pondicherry, was founded by a famous Indian freedom fighter and welcomes travellers for meditation and yoga. If you’re travelling with little ones, they’ll enjoy the planetarium and toy train at Sayaji Baug gardens. It also houses a zoo with more than 1,000 animals, including the wildly popular Asiatic lions.
Make your way to the landmark dual domes of Khanderao Market and join lively crowds purchasing flowers, fruits, spices, hand-painted satin dresses and silk sarees. To watch master tailors at work and order custom designs, stop in at Baroda Prints on Salatwada Road.
Many travellers come to Vadodara on their way to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, about an hour’s drive outside the city. You can see remnants of the historical city of Champaner that date back to the 8th century, including bastioned forts, Chalcolithic sites, tombs and temples.
Getting around Vadodara
Vadodara International Airport sits about four kilometres outside the city centre, where you can rent a car. You can catch a bus at the central bus stand near the train station or hail a taxi or auto rickshaw. Tour operators offer excursions to Vadodara.