It is believed that early man have lived on the banks of the Mahi River which formed the flood plains in that region. There are many evidences of the existence of early man and the existence of early settlements in the Mahi river valley at a number of sites within 10 to 20 km to the north-east of Baroda.
There has been also findings of human settlement on the right bank of river Vishwamitri on a group of dunes resting on the alluvium of the river which dates back to 1000 B.C.. It also ascertains the existence of the Stone Age Era.
Nearly beginning of the Christian Era, a small township developed at same spots as mentioned above; on the right bank of River Vishwamitri. Later, it was came to be known as Ankotakka (currently known as Akota). And the mound on which this settlement was established came to be known as Dhantekri. The entire settlement was developed by clearing grazing land and thick forests that covered an area of ½ to ¾ km².
There are many Reasons for why Baroda name came from! Let us take a Journey back in time to savor these ideas which contributed to Baroda’s enchanting History.
Baroda, situated on banks of River Vishwamitri, it is said that the Name was derived from Great Saint Vishwamitra.
During 9th Century, Presently Akota was known as Ankottaka which was a little town and was famous for Jainism located on banks of River Vishwamitri in 5th and 6th Century A.D.. Some of Signature Akota Bronze Images are still found in Baroda Museum. Architecture findings also date Baroda back to this time.
The City was also referred as Chandanavati, named after a Rajput King Raja Chandan. It is also believed that Baroda had two other Names at different time which were – Virakshetra (A Land of Warriors) and Vatodar (in the Heart of Banyan Trees). People also say that areas near Baroda (Vat meaning Banyan Tree and Aodh meaning Tent/Canopy) was a type of forest, which was home to big groves of Banyan Trees that formed a Canopy kind of layer.
A historical literature suggests that English Travelers and Merchants referred Baroda as Brodera! The Name ‘Baroda’ was then changed to ‘Vadodara’ in 1974
The early trade settlers made an entry in 812 A.D.. The imperial Baroda province was mainly ruled by Hindu Kings till the year 1297. Chalukya Dynasty took over the Gupta Empire by fierce battle after intense rivalry. After then, it was taken over by Solanki Rajputs, which spreaded Muslim rule across India and reins of Power were then snatched by Sultans of Delhi. The city was ruled for a long time by these Sultans, until they were easily overthrown by the Mughal emperors.
During this time, Maratha Gaekwad’s made an entry into this sovereign and marked their reputable region of Rule. Later it became the Capital of Maratha Gaekwads.
The Glorious History of the Gaekwad’s began when Maratha General Pilaji Rao Gaekwad conquered Songadh from the Mughals in year 1726. The Mughal rule came to an End in Year 1732, when Maratha General Pilaji Rao Gekwad intensified the Maratha campaigns in South Gujarat and carved out a Kingdom for his lineage. Son & Succesor of Pilaji Rao Gekwad – Damajirao, defeated the Mughal Armies and conquered Baroda State in Year 1734. Slowly, the Gekwad successors intensified the degree of their hold over more areas of Gujarat, which made them most Powerful Rulers in the region. The Geakwad’s ruled the Kingdom until Indian Independence in Year 1947.
In Year 1875, during the enigmatic rule of Maharaja Sayajirao III, it was considered as the Golden Period, as it was an Era of great progress and achievements in all fields. Ruled from year 1875 to 1939, they contributed overwhelmingly to revive and reform Vadodara (Baroda) with some best initiatives like…
– Establishing compulsory Primary Education
– Library system
– a University
– Model textile and tile Factories
– Great Museums
– Art and Architecture.
It was a desire to fulfill his Dream of Making Vadodara (Baroda) an Educational, Industrial & Commercial Center. The City is also referred as Sayaji Nagari (Sayaji’s City).
The Baroda State was merged into Bombay State, when India gained Independence in Year 1947. Later on 1st May 1960, Bombay Province was then further divided into Gujarat State & Maharashtra State, after which Baroda became a part of Gujarat Officially.