Just like a crown sitting on the head of a king, this place is the very pride of the city it is situated in. The magnificent Lakshmi Vilas Palace Vadodara, built by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad third in 1890, served as the permanent residence to royal family of Baroda. I could easily claim the palace was at least four times the Buckingham Palace in London. I purchased the audio tour available to the palace as we friends took an inside tour of the palace to have a closer look of the royalty in the literal meaning of the word.
I came across the most beautiful effigy of a peacock in the compound of the palace. I further strolled down the palace and saw various sculptures made up of bronze as well as marble. I wondered how workers with a pair of tools could carve all these sculptures without any contemporary technology available in that period of time. One of the most attractive arts was the painting of the royal family created by Raja Ravi Verma. There was a miniature railway line just at the entrance of the museum. The legend says Maharaja built this train to circle around the mango orchard present in the palace compound. Someone told me the recent Hindi cinema movie Grand Masti was shot at Lakshmi Vilas Palace itself. There was also a provision of playing sports in the compound of the palace. There were also two clay tennis courts, a golf course and a badminton court in the bounds of the place. This extravagant building was conceptualized by Maharaja but his architect was Major Charles Mant. Finally, I saw “Navlakhi”, which means nine hundred thousand, a step well also called “baoli” made 50 meters to the north of the palace.
Visitors timing were only from 10 AM to 4:30 PM, so we had to eventually leave. It is so unfortunate that photography is prohibited in the Lakshmi Vilas Palace Vadodara. I could not take pictures for my reference, but I took enough notes to help me revisit the place anytime I went through the pages of my diary again. After witnessing a milestone in ancient architecture and admiring every inch of it, I headed with my backpack straight to Sayaji Baugh Vadodara.