, is the third larges city in the Indian State of Gujarat, after Ahmedabad and Surat. It is the administrative headquarters of Vadodara District. It is located on the banks of the Vishwamitra river, southeast of Ahmedabad, 139 km from state capital, Gandhinagar. Both the railway line and national highway connecting Delhi and Mumbai pass through Vadodara. The city was once called Chandravati, after its ruler Raja Chandan, then Viravati, the abode of the brave, and then Vadpatra because of the abundance of banyan trees on the banks of the Vishwamitri. From Vadpatra it derived its present name Baroda or Vadodara.
Laxmi Villas Palace
The City of Vadodara was described by a medieval Jain writer as a Tilak on the Brove of Lata
. It was a nodal center of the coastal plain of Gujarat. It was strategically situated at a junction of the main highways linking Gujarat with Rajputana in the north, Malwa and the Ganges valley in the north-east, Maharashtra in the south and south-east.Baroda state was a former Indian State in Western India. Baroda's more recent history began when the Maratha general Pilaji Gaekwad conquered Songadh from the Mughals in 1726.
Modern Baroda is a great and fitting memorial to its late ruler, Sayaji Rao Gaekwad III (1875-1939 AD). It was the dream of this able administrator to make Baroda an educational, industrial and commercial centre and he ensured that his dream would come true. Baroda is situated on the banks of the river Vishwamitri (whose name is derived from the great saint Rishi Vishwamitra). Vadodara
The city was once called Chandravati, after its ruler Raja Chandan, then Viravati, the abode of the brave, and then Vadpatra because of the abundance of banyan trees on the banks of the Vishwamitri. From Vadpatra it derived its present name Baroda or Vadodara. Baroda has a rich historical background. The ardent historian can trace Baroda's history over 2000 years and more.
However, the recent threads can be picked up when the Moghul rule over the city came to an end in 1732, when Pilaji brought the Maratha activities in Southern Gujarat to a head and captured it. Except for a short break, Baroda continued to be in the hands of the Gaekwads from 1734 to 1949. The greatest period in the Maratha rule of Baroda started with the accession of Maharaja Sayajirao III in 1875. It was an era of great progress and constructive achievements in all fields.
Maharaja Sayajirao was one of the foremost administrators and reformers of his times. He initiated a series of bold socio-economic reforms. He attached great importance to economic development and started a number of model industries to encourage initiative, and then handed back the working industries to private enterprise. He started model textile and tile factories.
It is as a result of his policy of industrial development that Baroda is today one of the most important centres for textile, chemical and oil industries today. He introduced a number of social reforms. In no department of administration has the far-sighted policy of this wise ruler been more conspicuous than in education, and in none have the results been more real and tangible. He boldly introduced compulsory primary education and a library movement (the first of its kind in India) to augment his adult education scheme.
It was he who visualised a general scheme of development in all branches of knowledge at different stages, with the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda at the apex. Modern Baroda owes its beauty, its educational institutions and its masterpieces of architecture to the insight and vision of this great ruler.
In Vadodara various large-scale industries such as Gujarat State Fertilizers & Chemicals (GSFC), Indian Petrochemical Corporation Limited (IPCL, now owned by Reliance Industries Limited) and Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals Limited (GACL) have come up in the vicinity of Gujarat Refinerey and all of them are dependent on it for their fuel and feedstock. The establishment of large industrial units in a region automatically brings into existence a number of smaller enterprises. Vadodara is no exception and the city and the surrounding areas are today humming with industrial activity. The industrialisation of Vadodara has attracted entrepreneurs not only from Vadodara but also from all over Gujarat and the rest of India.
In line with the 'Knowledge City' vision of the Confederation of Inidian Industry, Vadodara is gradually becoming a hub in Gujarat for IT and other development projects. Vadodara is also home to the Vadodra Stock Exchange (VSE).
There is a saying that nothing grows under the banyan tree, but this is not true of Baroda. Having witnessed the rise and fall of the empires and kingdoms of the Hindus, Pathans, Moghuls and Marathas, it now occupies a unique position on the educational, cultural and industrial map of India. Yet, it has been fortunate enough to retain the beauty of its rich and varied past. And it is one of the few cities in India which is still influenced by the lost might of its ruling dynasties.