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Vadodara (Gujarati: Vaḍodǎrā), formerly Baroda ( Baroḍā), is the third most-populated city in the Indian state of Gujaratmarker after Ahmedabadmarker and Suratmarker. It is one of four cities in the state with a population of over 1 million, the other being Rajkotmarker and the two cities listed above, although it has a massive population of over 3 million. It is also known as the Sayaji Nagarimarker (Sayaji's City after its famous ruler, Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III) or Sanskari Nagari (The City of Culture, a reference to its status as the Cultural Capital of Gujarat). Vadodara or Baroda, formerly the capital city of the Gaekwar State, is situated on the banks of the Vishwamitri, a river whose name derived from the great saint Rishi Vishwamitra. It is located southeast of Ahmedabadmarker. It is the administrative headquarters of Vadodara Districtmarker.

Vadodara is home to almost 1.6 million people. (as of 2005), the beautiful Lakshmi Vilas Palacemarker and the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Barodamarker (M.S.U.) which is the largest university in Gujarat and undoubtedly the best. Its famous for various faculties and departments, including the Fine Arts, Performing Arts, Technology, Management, Psychology, Social Work and Medicine streams. It has a high literacy rate by Indian standards of 78% (2001). Major industries include petrochemicals, engineering, pharmaceuticals, plastics and Forex. Famous companies such as ABB, Reliance Industries, Larsen and Toubro, IPCLmarker, ONGC and Sun Pharmaceuticals all have a strong presence in this city.


Vadodara has a rich historical background. The ardent historian can trace Vadodara's history over 2000 years and more. The first noted history of the city was of the early trader settlers who settled in the region in 812 AD. The province was mainly Hindu-dominated with Hindu kings ruling till the year 1297. The Gupta Empire was the first power in the region in the early years of the Christian Era. After fierce battles, the region was taken over by the Chalukya Dynasty. Finally, the kingdom was annexed by the Solanki Rajputs. By this time the Muslim rule had spread across India, and the reins of power were then snatched by the Delhi Sultans. The city was ruled for a long time by these Sultans, until they were easily overthrown by the Mughal emperors. The Mughals' biggest problem were the mighty Marathas who slowly but eventually took over the region. It became the capital of the Maratha Gaekwads. Sayaji Rao III (1875-1939), a most able ruler, made many public and bureaucratic improvements in the region. Although the British had a major influence on the region, Baroda remained a princely state until Independence. Like all other princely states, Baroda also joined the Dominion of India in 1947.

Origin of name

Two thousand years ago, there was a small town known as "Ankottak" (present day Akotamarker) on the western bank of the river Vishwamitri. The earliest mention of Vadodara is in a Granth or charter of 812 that identifies it as "Vadapadraka", a village attached to the nearby town of "Ankottaka". In 600 AD severe floods in the Vishwamitri forced the inhabitants to move to the eastern side of the river to a village known as "Vatpatrak" (Leaf of Banyan tree) which developed into Vadodara. In the 10th century, Vadapadraka replaced Ankottaka as the main town.

The city was once called "Chandanavati" after its ruler "Raja Chandan" of the "Dor tribe of Rajputs, who wrested it from the Jains. The capital had also another name Virakshetra or Viravati (Land of Warriors). Later on it was known as Vadpatraka or Vadodarámarker, which according to tradition is a corrupt form of the Sanskrit word Vatodar meaning In the heart of the Banyan tree. It is now almost impossible to ascertain when the various changes in the name were made; but early English travellers and merchants mention the town as Brodera, and it is from this that the name Baroda is derived. In 1974, the official name of the city was changed to Vadodara.

In 1907, a small villagemarker and townshipmarker in Michiganmarker, United States was named after Barodamarker.

It is also rumoured that the name Baroda originated from two words Vat which means the Banyan tree and Aodh, which means a tent/canopy. According to a popular legend, the region in and around present day Baroda was full of Banyan trees that formed a dense cover that looked like a huge tent canopy from a distance. Thus the name Baroda stuck.

Old Ankotakka

The early man lived on the banks of the Mahi Rivermarker. This river must have formed the flood plain during that age. The movements of these “food gathering” parasites on nature, living on the banks of the river, grumbling the roots and killing animals with crude stone tools made out of the cobbles and pebbles available on the river bank, were necessarily controlled by the availability of convenient raw materials for their tools. There are evidences of the existence of early man in the Mahi river valley at a number of sites within 10 to 20 km to the north-east of Vadodara. No evidences however of the existence of this man are found in and around present Vadodara. This may be because of the absence of gravels and cobbles on the banks of the Vishwamitri rivulet.

The next phase of the pre-historic Vadodara witnessed the first human settlement on the right bank of the river Vishwamitri on a group of dunes resting on the alluvium of the river. It also means that men knew about where to set up settlements, as they had selected an elevated land. The Vishwamitri must have been prone to seasonal floods even then. These people still belonged to the stone age, crafting their tools with finely grained stones. From their material culture and physical environment, they seem to have belonged to the same culture as those whose implements were found in the Mahi river valley. This human settlement has been dated to 1000 B.C.

Around the beginning of the Christian Era, a small township developed at the same spot as the above mentioned settlement on the right bank of the river. It came to be known as Ankotakka (present day Akota), the mound on which this settlement was established came to be known as Dhantekri. The entire settlement was developed by clearing grazing land and forests of Ankhol and covered an area of ½ to ¾ km². This is indicative of the presence of thick forests during those times. Due to its location on the ancient trade route between Gujaratmarker and Malwa, this small township flourished in to a commercial centre. There was a supposed commercial relation between this township and Romemarker.

The township of Ankotakka developed during the rule of the Guptas and the Vallabhismarker. It was subjected to periodical heavy floods. But a severe flood which inundated the renovated public hall, forced the inhabitants to abandon this township and move away from the banks of the Vishwamitri.

The event occurred in 600 A.D. The inhabitants moved to the east of Ankotakka to another elevated portion located on the present Kothi area. This formed the nucleus of a new township.

Recent history

Baroda state in 1909

The City of Vadodara aptly described by a medieval Jain writer as a Tilak on the Brove of Lata was a nodal center of the coastal plain of Gujaratmarker. It was strategically situated at a junction of the main highways linking Gujaratmarker with Rajputana and the Punjab in the north, Malwa and the Gangamarker valley in the north-east, Konkan in the south and Khandesh in the south-east. Significantly Vadodara today is a junction on the western railway of the lines leading to Ahmedabadmarker, Delhimarker & Mumbaimarker. This confirms the historic role of Vadodara in the communication pattern for movements of people and culture. The history of Vadodara city amply bears out its cultural and commercial activities during the last two thousand years. Apart from the traditional stories, knowledge of the history of Vadodara is based mainly on Jain literature and a few old inscriptions pertaining to Vadodara.

Baroda State was a former Indian State in Western India. Baroda's more recent history began when the Maratha general Pilaji Gaekwad (or Gaikwar) conquered Songadhmarker from the Mughal Empire in 1726. Before the Gaekwars captured Baroda, it was ruled by the Babi Nawabs, who were the officers of the Mughal rulers. Mughal rule came to an end in 1732, when Pilaji Rao Gaekwar brought the Maratha campaigns in Southern Gujarat to a head and captured it. Except for a short period, Baroda continued to be in the reign of the Gaekwars from 1734 to 1948. Initially detailed to collect revenue on behalf of the Peshwa in Gujarat, Pilaji Gaekwad remained there to carve out a kingdom for himself. Damajirao, son and successor of Pilaji Gaekwad, defeated the Mughal armies and conquered Baroda in 1734. He assumed the titles of an independent ruler. His successors consolidated their power over large tracts of Gujarat, becoming easily the most powerful rulers in the region. After the Maratha defeat by the Afghans at the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761, control of the empire by the Peshwas weakened as it became a loose confederacy, and the Gaekwad Maharajas ruled the kingdom until Indian independence in 1947. In 1802, the British intervened to defend a Maharaja that had recently inherited the throne from rival claimants, and Vadodara concluded a treaty with the British that recognized the Kingdom as a 'Princely state' and allowed the Maharajas of Baroda internal political sovereignty in return for recognizing British 'Paramountcy', a form of suzereignty where the subject of foreign affairs was completely surrendered.

Flag of the Baroda State

The greatest period in the Maratha rule of Baroda started with the accession of Maharaja Sayajirao III in 1875. It was an era of great progress and constructive achievements in all fields. Maharaja Sayajirao III, who ruled from 1875 to 1939, did much to modernise Baroda, establishing compulsory primary education, a library system, a university, and model textile and tile factories, which helped to create Baroda's image as a modern industrial hub. Modern Vadodara is a great and fitting memorial to Maharaja Sayajirao. It was the dream of this able administrator to make Baroda an educational, industrial and commercial centre and he ensured that his dream would come true. For this reason, the city is also referred to as Sayaji Nagari (Sayaji's City).

With India's independence in 1947, the last ruling Maharaja of Baroda State acceded to India. Baroda State was merged into to Bombay State shortly after independence, which was divided into the states of Gujaratmarker and Maharastramarker in 1960, with Baroda becoming a part of Gujarat.

In recent times, Vadodara was affected by the devastating January 26, 2001 earthquakemarker that struck Gujarat. The city was spared the devastation suffered by some of the other major cities in Gujarat. However there were some casualties as poorly constructed buildings collapsed in the wake of the earthquake and the after shocks.

Geography and Climate

Shivji's Murti "Sarveshwar Mahadev" in Sur Sagar Lake

Vadodara is located at in western India at an elevation of 39 metres (123 feet). It is the 18th largest city in India with an area of 148.95 km² and a population of 1.6 million according to the 2001 census. The city sits on the banks of the River Vishwamitri, in central Gujarat. The Vishwamitri frequently dries up in the summer, leaving only a small stream of water. The city is located on the fertile plain between the Mahimarker & Narmada Riversmarker. According to the Bureau of Indian Standards, the town falls under seismic zone-III, in a scale of I to V (in order of increasing proneness to earthquakes).

There are three main seasons: Summer, Monsoon and Winter. Aside from the monsoon season, the climate is dry. The weather is hot through the months of March to July — the average summer maximum is 36 °C (97 °F), and the average minimum is 23 °C (73 °F). From November to February, the average maximum temperature is 30 °C (85 °F), the average minimum is 15 °C (59 °F), and the climate is extremely dry. Cold northerly winds are responsible for a mild chill in January. The southwest monsoon brings a humid climate from mid-June to mid-September. The average rainfall is 93 cm (36.7 inches), but infrequent heavy torrential rains cause the river to flood. The highest temperature recorded is 47 °C (116 °F) and the lowest is -1 °C (30 °F).

Vadodara is divided by the Vishwamitri into two physically distinct eastern and western regions. The eastern bank of the river houses the old city, which includes the old fortified city of Vadodara. This part of Vadodara is characterised by packed bazaars, the clustered and barricaded Pol system of shanty buildings, and numerous places of worship. It houses the General Post Office and landmark buildings like Laxmi Vilas Palacemarker, Mandvimarker area and Nyay Mandirmarker. The colonial period saw the expansion of the city to the western side of Vishwamitri. This part of the city houses educational institutions like the Maharaja Sayajirao Universitymarker, the Vadodara Railway Stationmarker, modern buildings, well-planned residential areas, shopping malls, multiplexes and new business districts centred around R. C. Dutt Road, Alkapurimarker and more recently, the Old Padra Road and Gotri.

  • Winter Temperature: Max 29 °C, Min 9 °C
  • Summer Temperature: Max 46 °C, Min 24 °C
  • Rainfall (mid-June to mid-September): 931.9 mm
  • Lowest Recorded Temperature: -1 °C on December 16, 1975
  • Highest Recorded Temperature: 46 °C on April 29, 1993

  • Pollution: In recent years, Vadodara has suffered from increasing air, water and soil pollution from neighbouring industrial areas. This has also amounted into a constant and uncomfortable increase in average temperatures across all three seasons. Uncontrolled chemical dump from nearby industries has arguably turned the local river Vishwamitri into one big sewer.

Industry & Commerce

Vadodara enjoys a special place in the state of Gujarat. Until the early 1960s Vadodara was considered to be a cultural and educational centre. The first modern factory (Alembic Pharmaceuticals) was established in Vadodara in 1907 and subsequently companies such as Sarabhai Chemicals, and Jyoti came up in the 1940s. By 1962 there were 288 factories employing 27,510 workers . At that time, the dominant industrial groups were chemicals and pharmaceuticals, cotton textiles and machine tools. The establishment of Bank of Baroda by Sayajirao III in 1908 also help industrial growth.

In 1962, Vadodara witnessed a sudden spurt in industrial activity with the establishment of Gujarat Refinerymarker and Indian Oil Corporation Limited at the nearby village of Koyali. Several factors like raw material availability, product demand, skillful mobilisation of human, financial and material resources by the government and private entrepreneurs have contributed to Baroda becoming one of India’s foremost industrial centres.

The discovery of oil and gas in Ankleshwarmarker led to the industrial development of Gujarat in a big way. The Vadodara region is the largest beneficiary in the process of this industrialisation. Gujarat Refinerymarker went into the first phase of production in 1965. The refinery being a basic industry made vital contributions on several fronts at the regional and national levels.

In Vadodara various large-scale industries such as [58274]Gujarat State Fertilisers & Chemicals , Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Limitedmarker (IPCL, now owned by Reliance Industries Limited) and Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals Limited (GACL) have come up in the vicinity of Gujarat Refinerymarker and all of them are dependent on it for their fuel and feedstock. Other large-scale public sector units are Heavy Water Project, Gujarat Industries Power Company Limited (GIPCL), Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) & Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL). In addition to these public sector enterprises, a number of other large-scale enterprises have come up in the private sector such as Bombardier Transportation, a Canadian company manufacturing the Delhi Metro from its site in Savli.

The establishment of large industrial units in a region automatically brings into existence a number of smaller enterprises. Vadodara is no exception and the city and the surrounding areas are today humming with industrial activity. The industrialisation of Vadodara has attracted entrepreneurs not only from Vadodara but also from all over Gujarat and the rest of India.

In line with the 'Knowledge City' vision of the Confederation of Indian Industry, Vadodara is gradually becoming a hub in Gujarat for IT and other development projects.

Vadodara is also home to the Vadodara Stock Exchangemarker (VSE).

Civic Administration

Vadodara City Officials
Mayor Balakrishna Shukla
Municipal Commissioner MK Das
Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana

Vadodara is administered by the Vadodara Mahanagar Seva Sadan . Some of the regions surrounding the city are administered by the Vadodara Urban Development Authority marker. The VMC was established in July 1950 under the Bombay Provincial Corporation Act, 1949. For administrative purposes, the city is divided into four zones and 26 wards.

The two main institutions involved in planning and development in Vadodara are the Vadodara Mahanagar Seva Sadan and the Vadodara Urban Development Authoritymarker. The jurisdiction of both these agencies is demarcated clearly not only physically but also functionally. The governing acts for both the institutions differ. The principal responsibility of VUDA is to ensure a holistic development of the Vadodara agglomeration covering an area of 714.56 km². whereas VMC is involved in the development of a limited area of 148 km².

Three corporators are elected from each ward, who in turn elect a mayor. Executive powers are vested in the municipal commissioner, who is an IAS officer appointed by the Gujarat state government. The mayor is responsible for the day-to-day running of the city services, municipal school board, the city bus service, the municipal hospital and the city library. The Vadodra City Police are headed by a Police Commissioner, an IPS officer.

The City elects 1 member to the Lok Sabha and 5 to the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha. All of the 5 assembly seats of Vadodara were won by the BJP during the legislative elections in 2002. In the 2006 Vadodara Mahanagar Seva Sadan elections, the BJP won 74 seats, 6 seats went to the Congress.

  • Election Wards: 28
  • Seats (Corporators): 84
  • Population per ward: 31,122
  • Seats reserved for women: 26
  • Total voters (as on 17-1-97): 809,185

Administrative Legends


The city is on the major rail and road arteries joining Mumbaimarker with Delhimarker and Mumbai with Ahmedabadmarker. Due to this Vadodara is known as a Gateway to the Golden Quadrilateral.


Vadodara Airport
Vadodara Airportmarker (IATA: BDQ) is located north-east of the city.


Vadodara was part of historic BBCI Railway. Railway had arrived in Vadodara in the early 1860s. On November 5, 1951 the BBCI Railway was merged with the Saurashtra, Rajputana and Jaipurmarker railways to give rise to the Western Railway. Now, the Vadodara Railway Stationmarker belongs to the Western Railway division of Indian Railways and is a major Junction on the Wstern Railway Main Line. Vadodara junction is Gujarat's Busiesit Junction with almost 150 trains passing everyday. One can travel to almost all the parts of India from Vadodara Junction, where there is a Junction of rails from the directions of Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Ratlam (4 sides). It has one of the largest Electric Locomotives Shed in Gujarat and various trains have a loco change over at Vadodara. Trains like Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Jan Shatabdi and important Mail/Express Trains halt at Vadodara Junction. Vadodara has 4 railway stations namely Vadodara Junction (BRC), Makarpura & Vishwamitri and Bajwa.


National Highway 8, connecting Delhimarker & Gandhinagarmarker with Ahmedabadmarker to Mumbaimarker, passes through the city. Vadodara is also connected with Ahmedabad through Indian National Expressway 1, a stretch of 97 km Super Highway with exits at Anand, Nadiad,S.P.Ring Road and finally Ahmedabad(or Vadodara depending on where you are coming from.)

Public transport vehicles within the city include buses, autorickshaws and taxis. There are a few private bus and taxi services as well. A significant proportion of the population uses their own vehicles – cars, scooters, motorcycles and bicycles. Vadodara motorists have very low traffic sense resulting to frequent traffic jams at key crossroads.

  • Paved Roads: 1680 km
  • Unpaved Roads: 400 km
  • Total Roads: 2080 km

The roads are dug up every winter for laying storm water drainage pipes, the rains always start before the work's finished, the roads are then filled up in a hurry, & they develop potholes after the rains. After the rains, some patchwork is done on the roads, but they get dug up again soom for laying pipes, and the cycle continues.


 India census, Vadodara metropolitan area had a population of 1,492,398. Males constitute 52% of the population and females 48%. Vadodara has an average literacy rate of 78%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; male literacy is 82%, and female literacy is 74%. In Vadodara, 11% of the population is under 6 years of age. Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi and English are the languages spoken in the city.
  • Population trends in recent years
1961: 298,398
1971: 467,487
1981: 734,473
1991: 1,031,346
2001: 1,306,035
2007: 2,200,000 (projected)

  • Number of households: 213,540
  • Population density: 9,527/km²
  • Literacy: 76.11% of total population (males 79.21%; females 68.41%)
  • Sex Ratio: 909 Female per 1000 Male


Aarkee Garba during Navaratri Festival
Vadodara is also known as ‘Sanskari Nagari’, i.e. Cultured City. Vadodara is one of India’s most cosmopolitan cities. Thanks to the vision and broadmindedness of the Gaekwads, the subsequent industrialisation, the proliferation of academic activities and a strategically important geographical location, Baroda has welcomed a wide variety of people from all over India and also from all over the world. In all of this, the sprawling and cosmopolitan MS Universitymarker campus and the large number of local, national and foreign industries act as a catalysing and unifying force.

The great museums on the palace grounds such as the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museummarker and art gallery are unique and carry artifacts from around the nation and the world. There are Gujarati film studios in the city as well as a large number of large old-style movie theatres in addition to the newer multiplexes that have sprung up in the past few years.

Diwali, Uttarayan, Holi, and Ganesh Chaturthi are celebrated with great fervour. Classical music and dance have their patrons, and so does the modern stage and pop culture. The culture and the traditions are both alive and being forever experimented with.

Navarātrī or Garba is the city's largest festival, with song, dance and lights during every October. Many of the residents spend their evenings at their local Garba grounds where local musicians play traditional music while people dance the Raas and Garba dances which often goes on past midnight. This is also a time when the youth are more visible outdoors and until later than other times of the year. The people of Vadodara have preserved the original and the traditional part of the Navarātrī. Garba in baroda attracts a fairly large number of international tourists.


The patronage of education started with Maharaja Sayajirao and the city has built further on the academic infrastructure established by him.

The present educational foundation rests on over 20 public schools and over 100 private schools. Towering over all is the MS Universitymarker, the jewel in the Baroda crown, so to speak. MSU is the only university in Gujaratmarker with English as the only medium of instruction. It has 13 faculties and 17 residential hostels, 4 of them for women students. The university caters to over 100,000 students. There are various courses on offer, ranging from Medicine to Commerce. The university has been divided into several departments and there are number of courses offered in each of the department. The Fine Arts faculty is famous worldwide for its contribution in arts. The faculty of Performing Arts is also a very reputed institution teaching music, drama, dancing etc.

The recent decision of CII to develop Vadodara as 'KNOWLEDGE CITY'. has been well received by the Barodians all over the world


Cricket is by far the most popular sport in the city, as it is in the rest of the country. However, the interest in basketball, football , field hockey, volleyball, table tennis and tennis is much greater than the average Indian city.

Not only Vadodara has its own first-class cricket team that competes at the national level, but it also boasts of the oldest cricket ground in Asia, called Moti Baugmarker (The same ground on which Mohammad Azharuddin had scored a record fastest century of 62 balls, now broken). Apart, from that there is also a private cricket ground owned by IPCL, which also hosts ODI. Prominent cricketers from Vadodara include Atul Bedade, Vijay Hazare, Chandu Borde, Kiran More, Nayan Mongia, Anshuman Gaekwad (former coach of the Indian cricket team) and more recently Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan, Yusuf Pathan, Pinal Shah, Jacob Martin, Ajitesh Argal and Connor Williams. The Baroda cricket team has been a consistently good performer at the national domestic Ranji Trophy championship and has won it 6 times.

At schools a huge range of sports tend to be played. Vadodara has a rich tradition in which various schools compete against each other in various inter-school sporting competitions.

Vadodara also has a couple of large-sized swimming pools at Lal Baug and Sardar Baug which have become learning centers of swimming for lots of students from different schools in and around the city.


Vadodara has a number of newspaper publications. English-language dailies published and sold in the city are the Times of India, Indian Express, DNA and Economic Times. There are three Gujarati dailies in the city — Sandesh, Gujarat Samachar and Divya Bhaskar. A large number of national and regional magazines, periodicals and journals are regularly published and circulated across the city. The Gujarati film and television industry has a small but significant presence in the city. The city has five local FM stations: Radio Mirchi (98.3 MHz), now Red FM (93.5 MHz), Big FM (92.7 MHz), Radio City (91.1 MHz) and All India Radio (93.9 MHz). All India Radio is broadcast on the AM band. Satellite radio was launched in nearby city of Ahmedabad by WorldSpace in 2005. Households receive television through two main cable networks, InCablenet and Siti Cable, while DTH has little popularity in Vadodara. A network of optical fibre cables connects almost the entire city. The city's telephone services are provided by landline and mobile operators like BSNLmarker, Reliance Infocomm, Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and Tata Indicom. Broadband Internet services are provided in most parts of the city by the telecom companies.

Places of interest

  • Malls and Multiplexes: Vadodara Central, 7 Seas, Big Bazaar, Center Square Mall, Spencer's Hyper, PVR Deep multiplex, Chandan multiplex, Inox multiplex, Fame Multiplex, Westside, More

  • Other Interesting Places: Gandhi Nagar Gruh (Town Hall), Vadodara Central Library, ABS Tower Art Gallery, IPCL-Reliance Mandir Complex, Kirti Mandir


See also

Further reading

External links

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