Laxmi Vilas Palace in Vadodara was built in 1890 as the private residence of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III, but stands today as one of the grandest structures in India. The palace is a magnificent hybrid of elements from Hindu, Mughal and Gothic architectural forms courtesy the use of domes, minarets and arches. The designer-architect, Robert Fellows Chisholm, took twelve years to build this grand structure.
Infact, the palace is believed to be nearly four times the size of Buckingham Palace, sprawled over an area of 700 acres. It’s considered to be one of largest palace ever built; housing a large number of buildings such as Moti Baug Palace, Makarpura Palace, Pratap Vilas Palace and Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum building.
This palace is the most impressive Raj-era palaces in India till date, boasting of well-maintained interiors including mosaics, chandeliers and artwork. Laxmi Vilas Palace has the most state-of-the-art amenities such as elevators that make it a modern palace with western sensibilities.
The Darbar Hall is one of the most majestic features of the palace with Venetian mosaic flooring and Belgian stained glass windows. It makes for a perfect location to conduct music concerts and cultural events. The palace compound also includes the beautiful Navlakhi Stepwell, and a small zoo, which used to be the resting ground for crocodiles. Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum exhibits paintings by Raja Ravi Verma, and was once the school of royal offsprings, is a building you mustn’t ignore if you’re touring the palace.
Many activities related to cricket usually takes place at the Moti Bagh Cricket Ground adjacent to Moti Baug Palace. Other important facilities inside the palace include a golf course, swimming pool, clubhouse, gym and the current office of Baroda Cricket Association. This massive art-deco palace is still the royal residence, however, remains open for tourists sightseeing as well.