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Laxmi Vilas Palace

Grand but the historic monument of Laxmi Vilas Palace in Vadodara speaks about the grandeur in which the Maharajas of yesteryears aimed to live. Located in the centre of this small but busy town of Baroda or Vadodara in Gujarat, Laxmi Vilas palace has encountered many decades of kingships and still stands tall as the largest privately built mansion, supposed to be four times the size of Buckingham palace. Art work in this building is worth a view and it sure does awe the travellers. One of the most important aspects of Laxmi Vilas Palace is the magnanimity of the rooms, each room having its significance in the artwork and craftsmanship. Besides the main building, there are plenty of other areas of interest in the complex of this palace.


Gaekwad rule in Baroda was marked by construction of various palaces and stylish residences. One of these was the Laxmi Vilas Palace, which went on to become the epitome of royal residences in India as well as in the world. Even though the palace has a century old history, its glamour lies in the fact that it is still very much functional and well maintained with the present royal family of Gaekwads, residing in the palace complex. Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III constructed the Laxmi Vilas palace in 1890 in Baroda city.
Architecture was overlooked by the famous architect, Major Charles Mant and the total cost of construction during those days was nearby about 6 million rupees. R F Chisolm completed the construction of this building. Most of the designs were built from the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture. During the construction work, most of the materials were brought from foreign lands, as well as from special places in India. Modern amenities were widely used in the construction of the palace, including the presence of elevators during the late 19th century.

Palace Complex

The complex of Laxmi Vilas Palace is spread over an area of 700 acres, where there are various other structures. Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum is located at the entry point of the palace from where tourists get their tickets for entering into the palace. Motibaug Palace is a part of the bigger palace, but presently, it is being used as a club house for the exclusive members of the Gaekwad Baroda Golf Club. For the members, there is a huge golf course laid down by Maharaja Pratapsinhji in 1930s for entertaining his European guests. This golf course was later renovated in 1990s by his grandson Samarjitsinhji and opened to the public. Behind the Motibaug Palace is a huge swimming pool, where peacocks and langoors are still seen loitering around. Near the swimming pool are gym and sauna facilities. Adjacent to the museum and Motibaug Palace is the Moti Bagh Cricket Ground, offices of the Baroda Cricket Association, teak floored tennis court, badminton court and clay tennis courts. A small zoo was present in earlier days, where a major part has been covered. Miniature train is found in the entrance to the museum, which was used by Maharaja in earlier days, to carry his children around the mango orchard inside the campus, to go from school to home. This train has been refurbished by Maharaja Ranjitsinhji Pratapsinhji Gaekwad.


Interior decor of the entire Laxmi Vilas palace is breathtaking. Built in Indo-Saracenic style, it comprises of designs from Indian, Muslim, Moghuls, Gujarati and Marwar styles. Doors and windows are large and have mammoth carving around them. Pillars have ornate designs, throughout the palace. Statues and sculptures were brought in from all parts of the world and kept at different positions inside the palace. Some of the noteworthy depictions are bronze vase with snakes, Italian marble structure showing Moses, Egyptian lady with a child and a special marble craft of the bust of Maharani Shantidevi, whose detailed artwork is still clearly evident.

Most attractive in the palace structure is the Darbar Hall which was the place used for meetings by the Maharaja. This hall has a Venetian mosaic floor, mosaic ornate works on the walls, stained glass work from Belgium and multicoloured marbles, tiles and intricately designed balcony around the hall. This balcony was meant for the ladies to attend the court.

Adjacent to the Darbar Hall is an open space with Italianate marble and water fountains. Inside the palace are some rooms with collections of armours and arms, swords, guns, shields, and other items used by the army, built from terracotta, metals and marble. The Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum houses plenty of artwork belonging to the royal family, various paintings in original work of master painter Raja Ravi Verma and other artefacts belonging to that era.

Maintenance work in present day in the Laxmi Vilas Palace is overseen by the existing Maharaja of Baroda. Part of the palace is taken up by the royal family as residence, a small section known as Motibaug Palace has been converted into club house and the remaining portion is available for public viewing.

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Laxmi Vilas Palace
Laxmi Vilas Palace
Laxmi Vilas Palace
Laxmi Vilas Palace
Laxmi Vilas Palace
Laxmi Vilas Palace

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