Have You Visited India's Largest Private Residence?

While browsing through the internet, most of you might have come across the famous Buckingham Palace of London and read extensively about its history, architecture and visitor tours. But do you know about the Lakshmi Vilas Palace, which is believed to be nearly four times larger than the Buckingham Palace? Situated in Vadodra city of Gujarat, India, the palace sprawls over a large area with mango orchards, a zoo, a golfing arena and club, a pond, elevators and even a small railway network running across its lush green gardens!

Built by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III around 1880 AD, Lakshmi Vilas Palace will complete its 120 glorious years in 2020 AD. The Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum of the Palace is said to exhibit original paintings of the famous Indian artist, Raja Ravi Verma. Witnessing their beauty along with the grandeur and opulence of Lakshmi Vilas Palace is truly an experience in itself during your visit to Vadodra!

History Of The Palace

Lakshmi Vilas Palace
Lakshmi Vilas Palace, Vadodra
The Lakshmi Vilas Palace was built at a time when the Britishers were facing stiff resistance from the Indian Kings. However, Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad the third never fought against them and sought their assistance in developing his state under the British rule. It cost around GBP 180,000 during that time to build the palace, which was constructed under the supervision of architect Major Charles Mant. However, due to fits of depression and paranoia, he died before the completion of the project.

Today, Lakshmi Vilas Palace is one of the largest palaces in India and also the residence of the royal family of Vadodra. Before living in Lakshmi Vilas Palace, the then royal family used to live in Sarkarvada or the Nazarbaug Palace. The palace beholds a large collection of artworks, all of which have been put for exhibition at the museum. These include the paintings of gods and goddesses of the Indian mythology, painted by Raja Ravi Verma himself.

The engine kept at the museum entrance was once used to transport Maharaja’s children from the main palace to school, which was initially placed on the other side of the palace gardens. The pond present inside the palace is the only remains left of the zoo built during the old times. You can take audio guides at the entrance gate to know more about the history of the place.

Palace Architecture 

Darbar Hall, Lakshmi Vilas Palace
Darbar Hall, Lakshmi Vilas Palace
Lakshmi Vilas Palace has been built in an Indo–Saracenic style architecture. During your visit to the palace, you will come across the famous Darbar Hall, where most of the musical concerts and events are presently held. The Darbar Hall also showcases the throne used by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III during his reign. The best thing about Darbar Hall is the Belgian coloured glass windows in addition to a collection of bronze, marble and terracotta sculptures with armoury collections as well.

Inside the 500–acre compound of Lakshmi Vilas Palace, you may find many other buildings such as Moti Baug Palace, Moti Baug Cricket ground, Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum and an indoor tennis court with teak flooring.

Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum

Raja Ravi Varma Painting, Lakshmi Vilas Palace
Raja Ravi Verma's Painting of Goddess Lakshmi, Lakshmi Vilas Palace
Presently known as Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum, this structure was once a royal school. Called as Motibaug School, even Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III completed his schooling here. The school was further converted into a museum, where the royal family hired Dr H. Goetz to design the interiors of the building, including the arrangement of historical artefacts and Ravi Verma's artwork collection. Named after Maharaja Fateh Singh Rao Gaekwad, the museum trust for preserving the artefacts, this museum also houses the artist's painting of Lakshmi, the Indian Goddess of wealth and fortune.

The outstanding and the foremost part of the museum showcases bronze, oil and marble artefacts. Chinese and Japanese enamel, bronze sculptures, porcelain are housed in the western part of the museum, while copies of Greek and Roman statues are placed in the eastern part of the museum.

How To Reach

Via Airways
Vadodra has extensive connectivity with most of the major Indian cities. These include Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Bangalore etc. So, you may book your flight tickets accordingly.

Via Railways
High–speed trains such as Shatabdi Express, Rajdhani Express and other Superfast trains halt at Vadodra Junction station. So, if you are planning via railways, you can check the train schedule and book tickets as per your convenience.

Via Roadways
If you are travelling to Vadodra in a private vehicle, you may drive along National Highway No. 8 (NH 8) passing through Vadodra city. There are AC and Non AC buses and other affordable public transport facilities.

Opening Hours & Entry Fee

Tuesday to Sunday - 10:30 AM to 05:30 PM
Closed on Monday
It is recommended to visit between 10:30 AM and 12:00 PM as there are relatively lesser crowds around this time. 

Compulsory Entry Fee at the gate - INR 200 per person.
Apart from this compulsory fee, you will have to pay accordingly:

Indian Nationals:
Adults - INR 40 per person
Children - INR 40 per person

Foreign Nationals: INR 150 per person

Group Tours (Of 20 students): INR 400

Tips

  • Wear a hat or a cap to avoid getting a tan while walking in open grounds of the Palace
  • Avoid going close to the pond since it houses crocodiles
  • Do not create commotion while touring the museum premises
Have you been to this magnificent palace in Vadodara? Do you wish to visit anytime soon? Let us know in the comments below! 

This post was published by Ashutosh Chandra

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