The Royal Laxmi Vilas Palace is in Vadodara, a city in the state of Gujarat in India. Vadodara city has a royal background. The Gaekwad family has ruled over Vadodara in the past. Though now the government rules, the palace still exists and the royal family still resides in the palace.
We entered through the wide gates on one bright sunny Sunday morning. We had to stop the car to buy tickets inside the gate. The tickets costed Rs. 150 person. As we started the car, a peacock majestically walked across the path. We stopped the car and stared at the beautiful bird.
The premises were peaceful; only the pleasant sounds of koelsand chattery squirrels interrupting the quiet. Bees played around the dense trees and squirrels scampered around the huge, sturdy tree trunks.
There was a huge golf course in front of the palace where we saw some golfers playing.
The first glimpse of the palace left me gaping. I have been visiting Vadodara since childhood but this was one part of Vadodara (or Baroda) that was totally new to me. I almost felt like a tourist there.
We made out way towards the palace office. The courteous Marathi speaking staff politely asked us to wait as the recorded commentary machines were not available. While my friend got talking to him about the palace, I continued getting wooed by the beautiful palace walls. I went into a clicking frenzy clicking the various arches and carvings. Given the fact that my camera was new, my excitement level was sky high.
The designs showed hints of Mughal and Rajasthani architecture. Delicate designs of flowers, leaves and other motifs adorned the pillars, arches, ceiling and walls. Statues and structures from other parts of the world (ie, from Italy, Greece, China and Egypt) were a part of the decorations. I was impressed to see that so many years back, too, the King bought stuff from out of India to decorate his palace.
We were given an IPod look-alike thing that was nothing but a recorded commentary of the palace tour. We put it on and we were welcomed by a pleasant male voice. The commentary was timed well. It directed us to the various gates and doors. It explained the history behind the various paintings, decorations and statues.
The work inside the palace was extremely neat and intricate. Marble statues from Italy and other expensive stones have been used to dress up the various rooms. We saw their lounge room, the artillery room, the throne room, the compound, the room where the King mounted on his elephant and the grand Darbar room. We weren’t allowed to click inside the rooms.
The palace is embellished with splendid stain glass windows.
Royalty oozed out of every corner of the palace. I got lost in the grandeur of the monument. I wondered how the corridors looked like when the King walked down; how must the Queen have made sure all the rooms were in order and as per their liking; how the Princess would have chatted with her girl friends in the compound; how the guns and knives would have been polished in the arms area everyday; how the elephants would have been bathed and fed everyday; what clothes the Queen and Princesses would have worn.
You can buy handicrafts from the small souvenir shop.
I thought about the charming palace for many more days. And I thanked my friend for recommending it to me!