On This Page: Facts / Did You Know(s) | Interesting Links

Facts / Did You Know(s)
• The History of Vadodara – Baroda goes back to the early ages of Indian History, i.e. from 812 AD.

• Baroda had its own Navy 280+ Years ago…!

• Vadodara had Trams running nearly about in 1890 to 1920’s.

• PratapNagar was earlier Known as Goya Gate…!

MSU – Faculty of Technology and Engineering, Kirti Mandir, Pratap Vilas Palace and MSU- Fine Arts Buildings when viewed from top, are in ‘E’ shaped.

• Faculty of Science has 137 year old, 8-inch refractive telescope made from Carl Zeiss Lens, one of biggest in Gujarat!

• The Vocal Music Department of MSU’s Faculty of Performing Arts is Oldest & Largest in India!

• The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda has well maintained museum on the relics of buddha which was found from the buddhist site of Dev Ni Mori in the northern site of Gujarat. (i)

• First High School Opened in Vadodara (Baroda) was in Year 1871.

• In 1907, A Small Village and Township in Michigan, USA was named after Baroda.

• In 12th Century – Ahmedabad, Surat, Himatnagar, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Bhavnagar, Surendranagar, Bhuj Cities Did Not Existed. Vadodara (Baroda) was Vatpadra village…!

• There is First Statue of Chatrapati Shivaji at Sayajibaug in World. It was unveiled on 8th March 1934, by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad. The Statue is 13.5 ft in height and 3.5 ft in width.

• Only Vadodara (earlier Baroda State) had Underground and Well-Planned Drainage Line in Whole India before 115+ ( 1894) Years.

• Sampatrao Colony, located at Alkapuri is named after Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III’s brother, Shrimant Sampatrao Gaekwad (1865-1934)!

• The road from Circuit House to Ambedkar Circle is named after Romesh Chandra Dutt (popularly known as R C Dutt Road), who were Dewan of Baroda State from 1 June 1909 to 30 november 1909.

• The road from Jayratna Cross Road to junction of Pratap Nagar Railway Station is named after Ramanlal Vasantlal Desai (popularly known as R V Desai Road), who were a Gujarati writer & important figure of Gujarati Literature.

• Shivaji Marg is original name of Dandia Bazaar Road.

• Leela Bungalow near Mandvi was the earliest Raj Mahal of Baroda.

• Govindrao Madhyavarti School was Asia’s biggest Primary School.

• First Radio Station (Baroda Aakashwani Centre) of Gujarat was established in Baroda on 10th January 1947 by Shrimant Pratapsinh Gaekwad.

• Marble Statue of Queen Victoria at Mumbai (earlier Bombay), was dedicated by Maharaja Khanderao Gaekwad of Baroda in 1846! (i)

• List of Wada’s:

– Ambegaonkar Wada
– Kadu no Wado
– Pandher no Wado
– Parkar no Wado
– Fakruddin no Wado
– Bapat no Wado
– Bhaskar Vitthal Wada
– Bhode no Wado
– Mirbakar no Wado
– Majmudar no Wado
– Munshi no Wado
– Sarkar Wada (© www.HistoryOfVadodara.in)
– Sarangpani no Wado
– Sitaram Buva no Wado
– Shirke no Wado
– Hakim Saheb no Wado
– Halpale no Wado
– Kharchikar Wada
– Nawab Wada
– Jagtap Wada
– Thakkar Wada
– Dhamder no Wado
– Kale no Wado
– Tambe Wada
– Malekar Dighe Wada

During the rule of Gaekwad, there were ~110 wada’s & all the wada’s had biggest area of Diwankhana. Also each wada used to have a well, a small place for weapons or armors & a place to keep food. During any emergency like flood or attack, if someone was unable to walk out of Wada, the family staying in Wada were secured due to these facilties !

• Pols: (© www.HistoryOfVadodara.in)

– Mama ni Pol name was derived from Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad II’s Mama from Kotwad. He stayed here, so from time, the pole was known as Mama ni Pole.

– Pratap Madgha ni Pol name was derived from Veer Pratapsinh Marda, who stayed here & were native of Rajasthan. The Marda was then replaced as Madgha.

– Dala Patel ni Pol was named after a man who helped Marathas enter Baroda.

– Shyamal Bechar ni Pol got its name from on of the financers of State, who lived there.

• Warasiya area was named after Ahmedabad’s Sultan Muhammed Shah III’s senapati – Waris Shah from 16th century.

• Piramitar Road was named after Sayad Tahir, patron saint of Muzaffar II. It is actually named as Pir Amin Tahir !

• Fatehpura area, located just outside Champaner Gate was named after Fatehsinhrao (1778 – 1789), son of Maharaja Damajirao Gaekwad II !

• Bawamanpura & Mahmudwadi date back to Mughal era, where Bawamanpura was named after Saint Babaman, where his dargah can be also found. It is believed from old perisan manuscripts that he lived here in days of Akbar & Jahangir. Mahumad was also Muslim saint from which Mahumudwadi is named after !

• The triangular shape like Nose on Pani Gate is an iconic symbol of the city; locally known as ‘Baroda nu naak’, an honour to Vadodara (Baroda)!

• The Gaekwads first settled in Juni Gadhi (Old Gadhi) area, which had been built by Sultans & the Bhadrakali Temple there dates back to days of Damajirao II, where the image of goddess is believed to be brought from Pavagadh !

• Babajipura and Raopura, which cover the whole area between the old city and the Gayan Shala and residential areas, were named after Babaji Appaji and Diwan Ravji Appaji respectively !

• The Gaekwad Baroda Golf Club is only Golf Course in the India, surrounding a Palace!

• ‘Hirakk Gaj’ was Baroda State Elephant. He was over 14 ft tall and weighed over 5 tons. He carried the adorable Gaekwari Gold Ambari which weighed half a ton.

• A special track was laid between Lukshmi Villas Palace and Old Railway Station (now near polytechnic college) when Maharaja /Royal family wanted to travel…!

• In olden time, Lukshmi Villas Palace had an Artificial Waterfall as well as Artificial Mountain.

• The Tower of Lukshmi Villas Palace has spiral staircase…!

• In Lukshmi Villas Palace, there is a Hathi (Elephant) Room from which the King alighted on his Elephant.

• In 1890, For Internal Communication in Lukshmi Villas Palace, Telephone Exchange was developed for it.

• Lukshmi Villas Palace is reputed to have been the Largest Private dwelling built till date and Four (4x) Times the Size of Buckingham Palace.

• It took almost 12 Years (1878 to 1890) to complete Lukshmi Villas Palace. It costed GBP 180000 & the Architect was Major Charles Mant.

• The Original Name of Laxmi Vilas Palace is Lukshmi Villas Palace. As of in Official Documentation it is written Lukshmi Vilas Palace / Lukshmi Velas Palace. (© www.HistoryOfVadodara.in)

• The Palace is built in an Indo-Saracenic Style originally designed by Major Charles Mant (1840 – 1881) & after his death by Robert Fellowes Chisholm (1840 – 1915).

• When Maharaja is at Lukshmi Villas Palace, the Outer Main Gate (Rajmahal Gate) is marked up with a Bhagwo Flag during Day. At Night, the Palace’s Tower is lighted with a small Red Light. This tells whether Maharaja is at Palace or not. Still today it is indicated.

• The Garden outside Lukshmi Villas Palace is called Sunken Garden, The grounds were landscaped by William Goldring, a specialist from Kew Gardens. (or so called London Garden of the Kew team) !

• The Statues of Bull, Deer etc were Part of Makarpura Palace (Now Air Force), but then they were Shifted to Lukshmi Villas Palace.

• There is 385+ year old Banyan Tree, known as ‘The Great Old Banyan Tree’ at GSFC !

• Parade Grounds together with most-of Officer’s bungalows situated on left side of Makarpura road were known as Cavalry Lines! (© www.HistoryOfVadodara.in)

• The area near currently Polo Club’s back gate was a furniture factory, which was opened by Mr. Kharadi, a young carpenter, who was trained in Europe! House decoration articles were prepared here and offered for sale to public!

• At age of 33, Maharaja Fatehsinghrao Gaekwad of Baroda, became the 1st Youngest President of ‪‎BCCI‬ from Years 1963-1966 !

• The old TB hospital at Gotri and the Shopping Complex (Padmavati Shopping Centre) opp Nyay Mandir has been named after the Grand Gaekwar Sir Pratapsinh Rao Gaekwar’s mother Yuvarani Padmavati Raje, who passed away in 1920.

• Makarpura Palace was built as a Hunting Resort. Maharaja Khanderao Gaekwad spent a lot of time hunting in a huge deer park near Dhaniavi area in Makarpura which was popularly known as Shikarkhana.

• There is a Weapon of Guru Gobind Singh in Vadodara (Baroda)’s Lukshmi Vilas Palace’s Shastra Ghar. The Weapons Name is Panch Kala.

• There is also a Sword (Talavaar) named NavaDurga in Shastra Ghar, which has engraved the 9 incarnations of Goddess Durga. Durga represents the Victory of Good over Evil, as this Sword was destined to do.

• Vadodara (Baroda) had/has Sewage Pipes with an Arrow indicating on it…!
These Pipes are Very Old & Still can be Found in City Streets like Khanderao Market, Kalabhavan, PoloClub & many more places in City.

Nazarbaug Palace was also known as The Treasury as it contained many Jewewllery Items such as diamond necklace which carried both the the “Star of the South Diamond” & Precious Stones and Seed Pearls, made to Cover the Tomb of Muḥammad.

• Vadodara is known for Cricket. More than 15 Recognized Indian Cricketers have played their childhood matches at Moti Baug. While Moti Baug is claimed to be one of the oldest cricket grounds of Asia.

• Earlier Sursagar Talav (Lake) was Known as Chandan Talav. It is believed that its Name came as Earlier the Ruler’s King Name was Raja Chandan of Dor Tribe of Rajputs.

• Sursagar Lake was developed from originally called Chandan Talav in 1757, by Sureshwar Desai who were keeper of land records & tax collection. This is how Sursagar got it’s name !
Later Maharaja Malharrao Gaekwad made ‘pucca’ embankments. In the 1890, remains of an ancient temple were found from its bed.
There are gates under pond to maintain water level, which are connected to Vishwamitri River.

• There are as many as 73 Gardens in Vadodara (Baroda). The Oldest and Biggest is Sayaji Baug (Kamati Baug) which is 132 Years Old.

Nyay Mandir was actually built as Market, but after seeing the building, Maharaja Sayajirao used it as Nyay Mandir (Court). (© www.HistoryOfVadodara.in)

• 108+ Years ago, Khanderao Market was called Well-Planned Market in whole India because of 4 big Gates with One big Circle & 4 small Circles for Entry & Exits. At that time, Ready-made Garments, Provision Stores, Pots etc things were aslo being sold. (Read More on DivyaBhaskar)

• Ustad Moula Bux founded the Academy of Indian Music under his Patronage. This Academy later became the Music College and is now the Faculty of Performing Arts of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Vadodara .

• Maharaja Khande Rao Gaekwad  had gone down in history as the Greatest Collector of Jewels and Jewelry  in the 19th century, and some of the extraordinary pieces ascribed to his period of rule.

• In earlier Golden Days, Vadodara (Baroda) City was Limited besides the Four Gates and Mandvi at the Center and M.G. Road was Just a Street with People walking around.

• Vadodara (Baroda) has Worlds One of the Smallest Steam Locomotive Engine, situated in Maharaja Fatehsingh Museum.

• State Owned Gaekwars Baroda State Railway (GBSR) started in 1862 was First Narrow-Gauge in India.

• First Narrow Gauge Railway line from Dabhoi to Miyagam. Oxes were used to haul the Train. The Railway track has distiction of being First Narrow – Gauge line to be laid in British India & also being first to be owned by any Princely State of India. This is Largest Narrow-Gauge railway Network in the World.

• Vadodara also holds International Marathon every year. It became the first non-metro city of India to have held a Marathon of such a Large Scale and in a Great Success.

• Raoji Appaji were first Dewan of Baroda State !

• During rule of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III, Sir Raja T. Madhavrao were appointed as 1st Dewan. After him 13 more Dewans were appointed by Maharaja !

• When Gopalrao became Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III, they were illeterate, so their education began from 7 June 1875 till 28 December 1881.

Shri Keshavrao Pandit & Shri Vyankatesh Joshi (Bhau Master) taught Marathi while Shri Ratanram Master taught Gujarati respectively.

Sayajirao were taught all this in a room at top floor of Sarkarwada, for 5 hours a day !

• In Year 1876, Sayajirao’s schedule was:
– Rise at 6 AM
– Riding or doing other excercise till 8 AM
– Study for an hour
– Breakfast with Maharani
– Going School from Palace, with military escort
– Work from 10:30 AM to 5 PM, exempting a lunch’s hour break
– Exercise on ground near School ^
– Going back to Palace
– Prepare for next day’s lessons
– Evening meal
– Bed at 10 PM

(^Here Ground is currently Baroda Cricket Association‘s ground & the school is now Maharaja Fatehsinh Museum(© www.HistoryOfVadodara.in)

• Maharaja’s Children, when younger, went to school in a Mini Train running on a railway track that circled the Mango Orchards in the Lukshmi Villas Palace’s Compound, Vadodara (Baroda). The Engine (Flying Scotsman Train) then got refurbished & can be seen at Maharaja Fatehsingh Museum.

• Maharaja Sayajirao married Kumari Gajrabai Ghatge, later renamed as Maharani Chimnabai II.

Maharaja Pratapsinhrao Gaekwad of Baroda owned the finest stud farm in Europe after Aga Khan. This was situated in Kildare, Ireland and was known as Baroda Stud. It was then sold by the Baroda family in 1970s. In 2006, it was again sold for 30 Million Euros! (More Information Here)

Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad  III was the First Indian Ruler to Introduce Compulsory & Free Primary Education in State in 1906. And Baroda State was the One of the Best Administered states of British India.
Baroda was the first state to pass an Act for Compulsory Education of boys from age 7-12 and girls from age 7-10, in 1906.

• The Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III Supported and Witnessed the Successful Flying of an unmanned aircraft constructed by Dr.Talpade in 1895, which happened Eight (8) Years before the Wright Brothers took to the skies.

• Baroda State (Now Vadodara) was a ’21 Gun Salute’ Maratha princely state in present-day Gujarat, ruled by the Gaekwad dynasty from its formation in 1721 until 1949 when it acceded to the newly formed Union of India.

• At the time of Indian independence, only five rulers – The Nizam of Hyderabad, The Maharaja of Mysore, The Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir state, The Maharaja Gaekwad of Baroda and The Maharaja Scindia of Gwalior – were entitled to a 21-Gun Salute.

• Earlier, The Royal Family’s Ganpati (Ganeshji Idol) was used to be installed at Indumati Palace, located just opposite to Lukshmi Vilas Palace.

• The Maharaja Pratap Singh Gaekwad, during time of 1943’s were considered the Eighth (8th) Richest Man in the World & the Second (2nd) Richest Indian Prince.

• Maharaja Fatehsinghrao Gaekwad were a Cricketer & represented Baroda in Ranji Trophy between Years 1946 & 1958. He was an expert Cricket commentator in radio and was made an honorary life member by the MCC.

• Maharaja Fatehsinhrao Gaekwad were the President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) from 1963 to 1966, after serving as Vice-President from 1959 to 1960 and again in 1962-63. He was the manager of the Baroda Cricket Association (BCA) from 1960. Known in England as “Jackie Baroda”, he managed the Indian tour of England in 1959 and of Pakistan in 1978-79 and 1982-83.

• The Golden Jubilee of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad’s Accession was celebrated with fanfare on the 3rd of January in 1936 in a huge stadium built especially for this occasion and was capable of seating fifty thousand people.

• In 1887 AD  Gujarat’s first College level science education branch started in Vadodara (Baroda) as Baroda College during rule of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad.

The Maharaja Sayajirao University (earlier Baroda College) (M.S.U.)’s Art Faculty’s Dome (Gumbaz) is the Second Largest Dome in Asia. (© www.HistoryOfVadodara.in)

• First 4 colleges opened in Gujarat:
1 Ahmedabad in 1861.
2 Vadodara in 1879.
3 Bhavnagar in 1885.
4 Junagadh in 1901. And All were Arts colleges.

• 112 Years ago College Fee of Baroda College (now MSU) was Rs 5 per month!

• Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda is the Largest University in Gujarat .

• In 1890 Sayajirao Gaekwad founded Kalabhavan at Baroda under Tribhuvandas Gajjar to teach Art Architecture, Civil and Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Tech.

• In 1890 AD Law, Civil Engineering & Agriculture Diploma courses started in Vadodara College of Baroda state.

• In 1886, Gujarat’s first music education institute opened at Vadodara. It taught vocal & instrumental music. Baroda state encouraged musicians.

• In 1886, First newspaper in Vadodara – Baroda : “Baroda Vatsal” started by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad and edited by Shri Damodar Yande of Bombay.
Later in 1892, Shri Damodar Yande began another news paper, “Shri Sayaji Vijay” in English, Marathi and Gujarati. Maharaja Sayajirao also established a publishing house.

• In 16th Century, Gujarat’s Sultan Muzaffar 2 renamed, re-planned & renovated Vadodara and Named it Daulatabad. But the Name was forgotten by People !

• As of Five Gates (Mandvi Gate, Lehripura Gate, Champaner Gate, Pani Gate and Gendi Gate) there were 3 more Gates – Goyagate, Hathiyawad Gate and Bawamanpura Gate. Now these 3 gates either dont exist or are not known where they are.

• Maharani of Baroda Shanta Devi, first wife of Maharaja Pratapsinh Gaekwad narrowly escaped death in Canterbury, England during the World War 2 in 1940 in the Battle of Britain. She was shopping at a fur store when an enemy plane dropped a bomb killing the staff present at the store but luckily she was safe!

• On 12th May 1888, the Eldest son of Maharani Chimnabai II, Jaisinhrao was born in Ooty.
Queen Victoria also sent a ‘congratulations’ message.

• In February 1888, Maharaja of Mysore visited Baroda. There is a Road Named after Our Maharaja “Sayyaji Rao Road” in Mysore. It was because of Friendship of Maharaja of Baroda and Maharaja of Mysore.

Then Sayajirao also named a road after Maharaja of Mysore’s called “Chamaraja Road” or “Chamarajendra Road”. It is the Road from Lukshmi Vilas Palace’s Main Gate to Kirti Stambh.
But the Name has now gone Extinct. (A Must Read Article on Times Of India)

• Before Gandhi Nagar Gruh, Nyay Mandir (now court) was only option available for dramas, conference, lectures, stage shows etc.
Shri Deepak (Wankaner) Open Air Theater at end of Madan Zampa Road was used for purpose sometimes.

• During Year 1950-60’s there were only 9 Cinema Houses:
– Sadhna Talkies
– Pratap Talkies
– Alankar Talkies (now Alankar Tower)
– Prince
– Kala Mandir (oppsite to Pratap Talkies)
– Sharda Talkies (now Singapore AC Market near Jubilee Baug)
– Sagar (now RajHans Talkies)
– Mohan (Now Navrang Cinema)
– Maharani Shantadevi Talkies (now Vraj-Siddhi Tower near Khanderao Market)
– Arun Talkies or Krishna Talkies (Now FarasKhana, near to Khanderao Market, backside of Panjara Pole).

Interesting Links

• The Maharaja who made a pact with the Fuhrer – Link

• When Tilak planned India’s Independence with Sayajirao – Link

• Gujarat’s Oldest Church in Gujarat – Link

• 280 years ago, Baroda had its own Navy – Link

Source: The Times of India

• Diamond & Gold Custom – Made Bracelet Watch – Link (© www.HistoryOfVadodara.in)

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