Ideal time : 2-3 hrs
Entry Fee : Palace fees: INR 150
Museum fees: INR 60
Timings : 9:30 AM - 5:00 PM (Closed on Mondays and public holidays)
Laxmi Vilas Palace is one of the most majestic structures in India and was the private residence of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III. Known to be the largest private dwelling of the size equivalent to four times of the Buckingham Palace, this magnificent palace is a must visit when in Vadodara. Sprawling across an area of about 700 acres, it is still home to the royal family of Vadodara, the Gaekwads. The lush gardens of the palace add to the beauty of the entire experience of being here. Lucky tourists can spot monkeys or peacocks strutting around. The grounds also include a 10-hole golf course. In earlier times, a small zoo was also a part of the area. What remains today are a small pond and a few crocodiles.
The striking palace was constructed in 1890 and took nearly twelve years to complete. The total cost of the construction was around £180,000. The chief architect of the place was Major Charles Mant. He followed the Indo-Saracenic style while constructing the palace which is a hybrid of the Hindu, Gothic and Mughal architectural forms with the presence of domes, minrates and arches. It also incorporates several other buildings within its complex including the LVP Banquets and Conventions, Moti Baug Palace and the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum building. An excellent audio tour with free drink and snack are included in the ticket price.
The museum building was mainly constructed as a school for the Maharaja's children. Today, the museum houses an extraordinary collection of paintings by Raja Ravi Verma and various other artefacts gathered from all around the world. A good blend of both foreign as well as local materials and workmanship was used in the construction of the palace. Red stone was brought in from Agra, blue trap stone from Poona, marbles from Rajasthan and Italy were used while twelve workmen from Venice laid down the beautiful montage floor of the Darbar Hall of the palace.