Ajwa Nimeta Dam and Garden :
At a distance of 23 km from Vadodara Railway Station, Ajwa Garden is a well laid-out garden situated on the banks of Ajwa Dam near Vadodara, Gujarat. It is an ideal weekend hangout for the people of Vadodara.
The major attraction of the garden is the 100-meter row of perfectly aligned musical fountains that mesmerize visitors with coordinated water shoots in the background of lively colours. Fountains are operated only on every Saturday, Sunday, Monday and other public holidays i.e. Independence Day, Republic Day, Christmas, Ramzan, Sharad Purnima, Gaurivrat (Jagran). Also, the park contains colourful flowering trees, palm trees and children play area.
The garden is surrounded by a number of attractions like water parks, amusement parks and hotels. Just adjacent to the garden is the Ajwa Dam, an earthen dam built in the early 20th century by the then ruler of Vadodara, Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III to provide water to the residents of Vadodara. The dam is about 5 km long and can store water to the height of 211 feet. The reservoir has 62 gates and is connected to the Vishwamitri River which flows through the city of Vadodara, so that excess water in event of floods is dispatched to this river.
Even though weekends here are crowded, it is a perfect place to spend the time with friends and family. The best time to visit garden is evening to night, when light& sound of fountains show starts.
Park Entry Timings: 10 AM – 8 PM
Musical Fountain: 6 PM – 8 PM (November to February) &
7 PM – 9 PM (March to October)
Ticket cost: Rs. 20 for Adults & Rs. 15 for Children
Laxmi Vilas Palace
Lakshmi Villas Palace is the Official residence of the Maharaja of Baroda. The royal family still resides in this magnificent palace built-in 1889.
About the location: Still the residence of Vadodara’s royal family, Laxmi Vilas was built in full-throttle 19th-century Indo-Saracenic flourish at a cost of Rs 6 million. Built over 500 acres, this is the largest private home built till date and four times the size of Buckingham Palace. The most impressive Raj-era palace in Gujarat, its elaborate interiors boast well-maintained mosaics, chandeliers and artworks, as well as a highly impressive collection of weaponry and art. Paintings by the famous artist, Raja Ravi Verma who was specially commissioned by the then Maharaja of Baroda, adorn the palace. It’s set in expansive park-like grounds, which include a golf course. The Navlakhi stepwell in the premises is a window to the ancient water resource system built by kings to overcome the parched lands of Gujarat. Other buildings within the complex include the LVP Banquets & Conventions, Moti Baug Palace and the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum building. This is also home to the Moti Bagh Cricket Ground, the offices of the Baroda Cricket Association and a rare indoor teak floored tennis court and badminton court.
A part of the palace is open for visitors during the day 10 am to 5 pm. Mondays is the weekly off day. Weekends can get crowded, so best to come on any other day. The ticket cost Rs. 200 and it includes a complimentary audio tour guide in either English, Hindi & Marathi. Photographs inside the palace are not permitted. The tour takes about an hour. Water & other cold beverages are available at a charge for visitors
Timing: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Closed on Mondays
Ticket cost – 200 Rs.
About the location : Short for Electrical and Mechanical Corps, in honour of the people who built the temple, the EME Temples is a symbol of the secularity practised in the Indian Army, the EME Temple in Vadodara is an aluminium-clad abode, constructed at the intersection of ancient and modern.
Also known as the Dakshinamurthy temple, it primarily houses a massive idol of Lord Shiva, along with a miniature Lord Ganesha (specially brought in from Mahabalipuram). There is also a silver arch with the holy words “Om Namah Shivaya” engraved on it.
It is a popular opinion among archaeologists that this temple is unique regarding its design, concept and geodesic design covered with war scraps and aluminium sheets. The unique aspect is how the temple supports secularism by incorporating holy symbols from every religion in its structure. The Kalash on the top symbolises Hinduism. The Dome signifies Islam. The Tower represents Christianity. The Golden-structure above the tower expresses Buddhism. The Entrance stands for Jainism.
Travel Tip: One need to show some ID proof to visit the temple whereas Foreigners are not allowed to this temple as it is located in the army premises
Timings: 6. 30 AM – 8. 30 PM, Closed on Sundays
Sayaji Baug (Kamati Baug)
Sayaji Baug or Sayaji Gardens, as the name suggests, is dedicated to Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III himself. It is the most extensive garden in the western region of India with a sprawling 45 hectares of land. This was built in the year 1879 on the river Vishwamitri, and it comprises of a broad spectrum of flora, with more than 99 species of trees to its name. That’s not all; this park also houses two museums, a planetarium, a zoo, a toy train for children and a flower clock. So many utilities under one roof, make this attraction the most sought after in the state of Gujarat.
Garden: 5 AM – 9 PM
Baroda Museum & Art Gallery: 10.30 AM – 5.30 PM
Health Museum: 11 AM – 6 PM, Closed on Sundays & Public Holidays
Zoo: 8 AM to 11.30 AM & 2.30 PM to 6 PM, Closed on Thursdays
Toy Train: 10 AM – 8 PM, Closed on Thursday
Planetarium Show: 4 PM (Gujarati), 5 PM (English), 6 PM (Hindi)
Baroda Museum: Rs. 10 for Indians & Rs. 200 for Foreigners,
Toy Train: Rs. 40 for Adults & Rs. 20 for Children,
Zoo: Rs. 10 for Adults & Rs. 5 for Children,
Planetarium: Rs. 20.
Baroda Museum and Picture Gallery
The museum is considered to be one of the most famous museums of the country. It was constructed in 1894 and was designed by the famous architect R. F. Chisholm. The Picture Gallery building was added in 1910 and it houses excellent collection of originals by famous British Painters Turner and constable and many others.
The Egyptian mummy and a skeleton of a blue Whale are major attractions for those who visit the museum. Other treasures include the famous Akota bronzes dating the 5th century A.D., a collection of Mughul miniatures, a fully-fledged gallery of Tibetan Arts etc. The museum houses a rich collection of art, sculpture, ethnography & ethnology. Several of the paintings are not only original but masterpieces at the picture gallery. It also houses a skeleton of a Blue Whale and Egyptian Mummy.
Sardar Patel Planetarium
Sardar Patel Planetarium is situated in the Sayaji Garden, Vadodara. Tourist can get the awesome details on space, satellites, solar etc. at this place in 156 seat planetarium in one hour session. This is the ideal place for the tourist who is interested in astronomical history. The show arranged in Hindi, Gujarat and English language.
At a distance of 49 km from Vadodara, Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located in the ancient city of Champaner. It is one of the popular places of heritage in Gujarat, and among the prime places to visit as part of Vadodara tour packages.
Covering over an area of 1,329 hectares, Champaner – Pavagadh Archaeological Park is located around the historical city of Champaner, founded by the Rajput King Vanraj Chavda in the 8th century. Due to its strategic point on the trade routes, it lured many invaders including Khalji Dynasty, Chauhan Gurjars, Solanki kings, Khichi Chauhans. Later Mahmud Begada captured the city in 1484 and rebuilt Champaner into a splendid new capital. The region faced major devastation in 1535 CE when looted by Mughal Emperor, Humayun who made Ahmedabad the capital city again to control Gujarat. This marked the start of the decline of Champaner, which slowly fell into ruins. Later, ASI had rediscovered the city with 39 standing monuments that are a beautiful confluence of Hindu, Jain, and Islamic architectural styles.
Among the prominent heritage sites near Ahmedabad, it was inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2004. The heritage site is studded with prehistoric (chalcolithic) sites, a hill fortress of the early Hindu capital, and remains of the 16th-century capital of the state of Gujarat. The site also includes other vestiges, fortifications, palaces, Jain and Hindu temples, mosques, residential precincts, agricultural structures, and water installations such as step wells and tanks dating from the 8th to the 14th centuries. The transition between Hindu and Muslim culture and architecture in the late 15th to early 16th century is documented in the park, particularly the early Islamic and pre-Mughal city that has remained without any change.
Every corner of Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park is worth exploring as it is one of the must-visit Vadodara tourist attractions. There are generally eleven types of monuments at Champaner-Pavagadh and these buildings are situated on the plains of Champaner and on the hills of Pavagadh. Jami Masjid, Sahar ki Masjid, Kalika Mata Temple, Tomb of Sikander Shah, Ek Minar ki Masjid, Kevada Masjid, Helical stepped well, Mandvi or Custom House, Nagina Masjid, Pavagadh Hill, and Citadel Walls are the prominent structures inside the park. Currently, all these historical monuments are under the care of the Archaeological Survey of India. The Kalika Mata Temple, located on top of the 800 m high Pavagadh Hill, is an important Hindu shrine in the region, attracting large numbers of pilgrims throughout the year.
Timings: 8 AM – 5 PM
Entry Fee: Rs. 30 for Indians & Rs. 500 for Foreigners
At a distance of 1.5 km from Vadodara Railway Station, Kirti Mandir is the cenotaph of the Gaekwads situated near Vishwamitri Bridge in Baroda. Also known as the Temple of Fame, it is one of the popular and important places to visit in Vadodara.
The Kirti Mandir is actually a cluster of temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. It was built in 1936 by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III of the Gaekwad dynasty to perpetuate the glorious memory of his beloved ancestors. Built as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III, the outstanding E- shaped building was designed by Sir Edward Lutyens & V R Talwarkar.
The Kirti Mandir is adorned with terraces, balconies, domes and a central sikhara that rises to approximately 35 m height. The sikhara of this temple represents the sun, the moon and the earth in bronze with the undivided map of India. The interiors of the Kirti Mandir are marble treated and brilliantly decorated with intricately carved murals. The walls of the central hall are adorned with many impressive murals such as the Gangavataran, Life of Meera, the battle of Mahabharata and Natir Poojan which are all very well preserved works from the renowned Bengali artist Nandalal Bose. Besides, there is also some rare paintings of the famous artist Raja Ravi Varma.
The Kirti Mandir also houses priceless photographs and statues of the Gaekwads and coins, weapons and other personal items. One can also visit Lord Dattatreya temple situated nearby, where the royal family members used to offer their prayers.
Timings: 9.30 AM – 5 PM
BAPS Sri Swami Narayan Mandir
At a distance of 6 km from Vadodara Railway Junction, BAPS Mandir is a famous temple located in the Atladara locality of Vadodara city. It is one of the popular BAPS Mandirs in Gujarat and among the top Vadodara places to visit.
Known as a centre of cultural and spiritual activities, the BAPS Mandir is dedicated to Shri Swami Narayan. The temple is adorned with immaculate architecture, flawless design, and awe-striking grandeur. Managed by the BAPS Swami Narayan Sansthan, BAPS Mandir is a sight that will leave you mesmerized and enchanted during your Vadodara trip.
The idols of Gunatitanand Swami, Swami Narayan, BAPS gurus are worshipped here. Along with exotic design and architecture, one can also see the amazing carved paintings of Lord Krishna and Lord Shiva. This temple has a very good collection of paintings and sculptures that are a source of attraction for tourists. The temple has its own economical hospital also. The teachings of this temple focus on maintaining the Indian culture, family unity, and ethics of the Hindu faith.
The environment of the temple is very refreshing and peaceful. There are several aartis that are performed on daily basis. Various events take place on weekly basis like bal sabha, Satsang where people enjoy by getting fully indulged in devotion towards god. To keep the Indian culture alive, the temple also celebrates all the Indian festivals throughout the year.
Timings: 7.30 AM – 12 PM & 4 PM – 8.15 PM
In your Vadodara visit you also can visit Sindhrot Check Dam, Tapovan Mandir and Sursagar Lake, etc.