Lakshmi Vilas Palace Baroda

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Visited this palace in Feb 2016. It was a dream come true. Not as grand as the Umaid Bhawan Palace but spectacular in its own way. Lucky to be there when a wedding was held so palace was lit up. This album has daylight and evening pictures. It was possible because of the kind permission given by the Gaekwads, the owners of this palace (erstwhile rulers of Baroda). Am indebted to them. Palace view west side.

Palace about 7.30 pm i.e. before the wedding started. This side is west facing. Lucky it was full moon day. Front side of palace is all lawns and a golf course. These pictures are a tribute to Maharaja Sayaji Rao Gaekwad III, the forward looking ruler of Baroda 1875-1939. More about him later.

Palace on east side. Left is tower, centre is a mural. Album first shows you external pics of palace, then takes you inside followed by close ups of external. Information about the palace taken from the site www.gaekwadsofbaroda.com Credit and copyright lies with them.

Lit up east side. This pic was just ahead of sunset so lighting effect is different. "Lukshmi Vilas Palace, the magnificent residence of the royal family of Baroda was built by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III in 1890 with Major Charles Mant as the chief architect."

South side view. Gardens are very well maintained. "It had taken twelve years to build and had cost around £180,000". Visitors hours 10 am to 4.30 pm except Mondays and public holidays.

A lit up southern side. "Reputed to have been the largest private dwelling built till date and four times the size of Buckingham Palace, this beauteous structure features an Indo Saracenic style of architecture".

West side left to right first part view ie Durbar Hall side. Palace has 187 rooms and compound is over 700 acres. It includes large open areas, a golf course, the Motibaug palace ground and Maharaja Fatehsingh Museum. It houses many paintings of Raja Ravi Verma. Lots to see.

The same part lit up. Wanted to know more about the palace so looked up the Outlook Traveller on Heritage Holidays in India. It is an excellent reference book but was surprised to see that the Lakshmi Vilas Palace was not covered. This collection of pictures seeks to make up for lack of coverage of a masterpiece.

Centre part, Maharaja residence. Tower is 9 storeys. "The exterior of the Maharaja''s apartments were dressed up in the garb of Hindu martial architecture, with most of the detail borrowed from the fortress of Bharatpur."

Fully lit. Am lucky to be there when the palace lawns were rented out for a wedding. The palace has many sculptures and a step well. Missed seeing that.

Right view women''s apartments. Today the erstwhile rulers stay here. "The ladies'' quarters ended in a forest of domes and canopies copied from the Jain temples of Gujarat. "

A fully lit view. Marriage was about to begin. "The dazzling palace also houses an exceptional compilation of old armoury and sculptures in bronze, marble & terracotta". Baroda is very well connected by train esp on the Mumbai route and only 100 odd kms from Amdavad. It takes 1-3 hours to see the palace. Met lots of tourists from Delhi and Mumbai.

Side view taken about 11.30ish. The palace has a frontage of over 500 feet long. This allowed palace to have 3 distinct and separate parts for public rooms ie Durbar hall, Maharaja''s private residence and the ladies quarters. "The skyline of the palace is a fantastical mixture of bangaldar eaves, chhatris, a tall tower and a central cupola."

This is Umaid Bhawan Palace Jodhpur. Like the Baroda palace it is an amazing structure even though the design is very different. To see pics of Umaid Bhawan Click here

The man in pic requested me to take their family. Took this pic with a flash unlike others. Palace look different. Did I make a mistake by not using the flash for other pics.

Entrance to palace. Like the jharokas. "The materials used were a blend of east and west. The basic construction was brick faced with red sandstone from the quarries of Agra, with some blue trapstone from Poona and marble from the quarries of Rajasthan".

Side view of entrance going up to north side of palace. Palace provides you with an audio tour.

As you enter the palace.

Ceiling of area as you enter palace. "Workmen from Madras came to apply the ‘chunam’ plaster to many of the interior walls".

Steps to the first floor, entry restricted. Right is Ganesha, above that first floor is peacock painting that you can partially see.

Warrior in chariot. Note the pillar design.

Corridor.

The Hathi Hall. Right door leads you to the Durbar Hall.

Same hall. Palace is very well maintained. "Carrara marble was imported for the doorways of the hall, the pillars and the ornamental staircase."

Durbar Hall. "The hall has a Venetian mosaic floor, Belgium stained glass windows and walls with intricate mosaic decorations." Awesome. Wish could see some pictures of the olden days when the Durbar Hall was active. To see more pics of Durbar hall Click here

Italian courtyard of fountains. To read about the Gaekwads and names of kings 1721 to date Click here

Pillars and stained glass windows. Maharaja Sayaji Rao Gaekwad, who ruled from 1875 to 1939, was Baroda''s most respected ruler. To read about him Click here

Courtyard with tower on top, in centre is water from fountain. Reproducing excerpts from book Sayajirao of Baroda The Prince and the Man by Fatehsinghrao P Gaekwad to tell you about the achievements of this great ruler.

Now start with close ups of external part of palace. East side with mural in centre. "Language of courts was English, was replaced with Gujarati".

Close up of the first floor of east side. "Child marriage banned. Widows could remarry and bigamy was outlawed."

Close up of mural. "Started library in every village or group of villages having population in excess of 5,000. Adult education and women''s education started. Mobile library movement started."

Work on wall close to mural. "Free and compulsory education for all school going children and a fine was levied on parents who refused to send their children to school."

Door of Durbar Hall. Next to palace is LVP Banquets. It has a conference hall, board rooms with modern facilities. During my visit saw number of corporates having conference there. To know more Click here

Close up of exquisite work. Got to know that palace also used for film shootings esp from the South. "Larger villages were encouraged to establish water works, mainly for drinking water under a special subsidy".

Close up north side entrance. "Attempt and success in the eradication of untouchability. Built schools exclusively for the untouchables, gates of Hindu temples were thrown open to them."

Steps that lead you to the Durbar Hall. Paintings on either side, missed which personalities ka paintings hai.

Close up of pillar. "Thereafter started mixed schools and bright students given scholarship eg Dr Ambedkar. "

Stained glass above door. "He openly and secretly hobnobbed with known enemies of the Raj, was a great nationalist".

North side entrance, pillars lit for wedding.

Angular view north western side. "Hired Sri Aurobindo as Prof from 1893 to 1906 during which period he plunged into political activities, wrote fiery articles denouncing the wrongs of British rule. "

Close up north side of first floor. "Maharaja gave military training to of Aurobindo''s friends in the Baroda cavalry thereby defying a ban imposed by the British govt against employment of Bengalis in the army. "

West side, one of the entrances to Durbar hall.

Close up of entrance. On both sides see crocodiles on top and small temple centre of pic.

Pillars and stained glass.

West side view of wall.

Intricate work west side wall.

Front view with 9 storeyed tower.

Close up view of tower.

Just next to earlier pic is close up of another area that forms part of Maharaja Residence during earlier times.

Area on right of entrance.

Close up of area next to current entrance.

Close up of erstwhile rulers current home.

Playing golf.

Maharaja''s entrance. If flag flying high means Maharaja in palace. Saw a similar concept in Amber Fort Jaipur.

Front view of palace dome. To see some really old pics of Baroda including palace Click here

Wedding time was gorgeous. Seeing the palace through a fountain. To see pics of Lallgarh Palace Bikaner Click here

A Spanish group of musicians played some wow music, surprisingly they played quite a few Bollywood tunes. To see pics of City Palace Udaipur Click here

Close up, loved it. Attracted lots of guests. The palace complex has Fatesinhrao Museum which "houses Chinese and Japanese porcelain artefacts, 2 rooms on the ground floor are treasure troves of the Roccoco period in art". To know more Click here

This miniature train travelled from the palace to the princess school ie now the Fatehsinhrao Museum. To read more Click here

Mandap where the marriage was to take place. To see pics of the super Gajner Palace Hotel Bikaner Click here