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The grandest private residence in India

Four times the size of Buckingham Palace, the Laxmi Vilas Palace in Vadodara is the home of the Gaikwads, the erstwhile ruling family of Baroda State, before the state became part of independent republic of India, in 1948. The family continues to live there, but a large section and parts of the grounds have been … Continue reading

A brief taste of Vadodara

I’d known this city as Baroda for 4 decades, and then in my middle years, when my  hairline started receding and my waistline starting expanding I had to relearn its name. Vadodara, I was told, not Baroda any more. So be it, I said. I stayed in a very nice little hotel, opposite the railway … Continue reading

Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park

About an hour-and-a-half from Vadodara is this really wonderful Park covering nearly 10,000 acres. The Wikipedia page on the Park has this to say: “The heritage site is studded with forts with bastions starting from the hills of Pavagadh, and extending into the city of Champaner. The park’s landscape includes archaeological, historic and living cultural … Continue reading

The Memorial to Rana Pratap

The history books of my school days told us a story which has been hard-burned into my brain – the story of how Rana Pratap was saved from the battlefield by his loyal horse, Chetak, and brought to safety – a flight for which Chetak sacrificed his own life. Rana Pratap and Chetak occupy such … Continue reading

In and around Ahmedabad – part 4

A couple of hours north of Ahmedabad will take you to Unjha – reputedly the largest market for jeera (cumin) and isabgol (psyllium) in India. I don’t know about the latter, but you can smell the jeera from about 4 kilometres before you hit the town. My reason for visiting Unjha had nothing to do … Continue reading

In and around Ahmedabad – part 3

About an hour’s drive out of Ahmedabad, in two different directions, takes you to two quite different bird sanctuaries. The one in Nal Sarovar is very well known, and is definitely worth a visit. If you’re interested in photographing birds, you must be better equipped than the puny tiny little camera that I carried. I … Continue reading

In and around Ahmedabad – part 2

A few miles outside the city lies an oasis called Vintage Village. Its website promotes it as “a one stop restaurant for a Traditional Gujarati thali for your fine dining pleasure and a functional place for your total events.” Hang all that, though the food is not bad at all. The whole point of my … Continue reading

In and around Ahmedabad – part 1

Wikipedia says that the area around Ahmedabad has been inhabited since the 11th century, when it was known as Ashaval (or Ashapalli). The Solanki ruler of what is now Patan defeated the Bhil king of Ashaval, and established a city called Karnavati on the banks of the river Sabarmati. Sultan Ahmed Shah in 1411 A.D. … Continue reading

The Adalaj step well

If you take the S G Highway from Ahmedabad to Gandhinagar, you’ll get to Adalaj a few kilometres from Gandhinagar. Take a right from the highway at the Adalaj signal, follow the road signs, and in a few minutes you will enter the beautiful and perhaps the best known step well in India, the Adalaj … Continue reading

Sarkhej Roza in Ahmedabad

The most important road connecting Ahmedabad with Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat, is called S G (Sarkhej Gandhinagar) Highway. Drive to the Sarkhej end, ask some of the local people to guide you and you enter what has been called the “Acropolis of Ahmedabad“, due to Le Corbusier’s famous comparison of this mosque’s design to … Continue reading

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