Vadodara (Gujarati: , Marathi: बडोदा), formerly Baroda (બરોડા), is the third most-populated city in the Indian state of Gujarat after Ahmedabad and Surat. It is one of four cities in the state with a population of over 1 million, the other being Rajkot and the two cities listed above. It is also known as the Sayaji Nagari (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 Ahmedabad. It is the administrative headquarters of Vadodara District.
Vadodara is home to almost 1.6 million people. (as of 2005), the beautiful Lakshmi Vilas Palace and the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (M.S.U.) which is famous for various 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.
Two thousand years back, there was a small town known as "Ankottak" (present day Akota) 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 Vadodará, 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.
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.
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 know 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 sq. km. This is indicative of the presence of thick forests during those times. Due to its location on the ancient trade route between Gujarat and Malwa, this small township flourished in to a commercial entre. There was a supposed commercial relation between this township and Rome.
The township of Ankotakka developed during the rule of the Guptas and the Vallabhis. 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.
The City of Vadodara apty described by a medieval Jain writer as a Tilak on the Brove of Lata was a nodal center of the coastal plain of Gujarat. It was strategically situated at a junction of the main highways linking Gujarat with Rajputana and the Punjab in the north, Malwa and the Ganga 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 Ahmedabad, Delhi & Mumbai. 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 form the traditional stories, our 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. Vadodara's more recent history began when the Maratha general Pilaji Gaekwad (or Gaikwar) conquered Songadh 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.
The greatest period in the Maratha rule of Vadodara 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 modernize Vadodara, 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 Gujarat and Maharastra in 1960, with Vadodara becoming a part of Gujarat.
In recent times, Vadodara was affected by the devastating January 26, 2001 earthquake 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.
Vadodara is located at in western India at an elevation of 39 metres (123 feet). It is the 18th largest city of the India with an area of 148.95 km² and a population of 1.6 Millions according to 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 Mahi & Narmada Rivers. 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 Palace, Mandvi area and Nyay Mandir. 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 University, the Vadodara Railway Station, modern buildings, well-planned residential areas, shopping malls, multiplexes and new business districts centred around R. C. Dutt Road, Alkapuri and more recently, the Old Padra Road and Gotri.
In 1962, Vadodara witnessed a sudden spurt in industrial activity with the establishment of Gujarat Refinery 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 Ankleshwar 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 Refinery 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 Gujarat State Fertilisers & Chemicals (GSFC), Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Limited (IPCL, now owned by Reliance Industries Limited) and Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals Limited (GACL) have come up in the vicinity of Gujarat Refinery 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.
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 City Officials|
|Municipal Commissioner||MK Das|
|Police Commissioner||RP Priyadershi|
Vadodara is administered by the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) . Some of the regions surrounding the city are administered by the Vadodara Urban Development Authority (VUDA). 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 Municipal Corporation and the Vadodara Urban Development Authority. 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 Municipal Corporation elections, the BJP won 74 seats, 6 seats went to the Congress.
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 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 University 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 Museum 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 Vadodara 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 University, the jewel in the Baroda crown, so to speak. MSU is the only university in Gujarat 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. There are other premier institutes also located in city including Sigma Institute of Management Studies, Technology & Engineering, Babaria Institute of Technology and Parul Institute of Engineering and Technology. Baroda has many public and private schools, imparting quality education.
The recent decision of CII to develop Vadodara as 'KNOWLEDGE CITY'. has been well received by the Barodians all over the world
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 Baug (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 ODIs. Prominent cricket players 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.