[ecis2016.org] The palace, which is reportedly the biggest private dwelling constructed till date and is four times the size of Buckingham Palace, could be worth well over Rs 24,000 crores
The Laxmi Vilas Palace, one of the rarest and most elegant landmarks in the country, is a must-see for anybody visiting the erstwhile princely state of Vadodara in Gujarat. Built by the ruling Gaekwad family of yore, a prominent Maratha line of rulers who had control over Baroda state, the main architect of this lavishly designed palace is reportedly major Charles Mant. The imposing Laxmi Vilas Palace (or Lakshmi Vilas Palace) is nestled at JN Marg in Moti Baug, Vadodara, right in the heart of the city and was styled with influences from the Indo-Saracenic revival architecture. Apart from the convenient location of Laxmi Vilas Palace Vadodara, aside, it has always been famed for its awe-inspiring architecture, interiors and sheer opulence as illustrated through exterior and inside tours alike.
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Vadodara Laxmi Vilas Palace valuation
The Laxmi Vilas Palace in Vadodara was built in 1890 by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III for a whopping Rs 27,00,000 or 1,80,000 pounds, a huge sum at that time. The Moti Bagh Cricket Ground is situated adjacent to the museum here making it a coveted address, along with the offices of the well-known Baroda Cricket Association. The complex also has the iconic stepwell that dates to 1405 AD and is known as Navlakhi Vav. While it is almost impossible to accurately depict the value of such an imposing and gargantuan landmark of the country, estimates state that property prices in this area may be anywhere between Rs 7,000 and Rs 8,000 per sq ft. Taking that into account, it should be mentioned that the palace complex spans a whopping 700 acres, which works out to be a massive 3,04,92,000 sq ft. Taking Rs 8,000 per sq ft as the prevailing market rate, the final valuation, at an approximation, would be at least Rs 2,43,93,60,00,000. To state this in words, the Laxmi Vilas Palace will be worth a mind-boggling Rs twenty four thousand three hundred and ninety three crores and sixty lakhs. Considering the heritage value and history of the structure, this can easily go up to a huge Rs 25,000 crores even!
(Royal entrance gate of The Laxmi Vilas Palace. Source: Shutterstock)
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Laxmi Vilas Palace: Architecture and construction
Built as the private residence for Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III in 1890, Laxmi Vilas Palace is one of India’s biggest architectural marvels. It makes use of the Indo-Saracenic architectural style, fusing elements marvelously from Mughal, Hindu and Gothic design styles, along with generously using minarets, domes and arches alike. Built in 1890, the main architect was reportedly Charles Mant while being supported by Robert Fellows Chisholm. 12 years were required for building this imposing structure covering 700 acres and almost four times the size of Buckingham Palace in the UK. It is one of the biggest palaces ever constructed, accommodating numerous buildings including the Makarpura Palace, Moti Baug Palace, Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum and Pratap Vilas Palace among others.
While the exteriors sport an awe-inspiring design, the interiors of the palace are decked out with superb chandeliers, mosaics and precious artworks galore. The palace was integrated with contemporary amenities like elevators when they came into being. Its Darbar Hall, used for concerts and other cultural gatherings, is one of its key features with special Venetian mosaic flooring and windows sporting Belgian stained glass. These can be seen in the awe-inspiring Laxmi Vilas Palace images.
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Facts about Laxmi Vilas Palace
- Did you know that it is reportedly the biggest private dwelling constructed till date?
- It is four times the size of Buckingham Palace.
- At the time of construction itself it had elevators, a rarity at that time.
- The interiors resemble a massive country house in Europe.
- It still houses the members of the erstwhile royal family of Baroda.
- The palace compound contains several buildings including the Moti Bagh Palace, Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum building and the luxury LVP Banquets and Conventions.
(Interior of the Laxmi Vilas Palace. Source: Shutterstock)
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- A golf course was built for European guests in the 1930s by Maharaja Pratapsinh. Samarjitsinh, his grandson, who was an ex-Ranji Trophy player, opened it to the public, after renovation.
- Several Bollywood movies have been shot here including the 1982 film Prem Rog, Dil Hi Toh Hai in 1993, Sardaar Gabbar Singh in 2016 and Grand Masti in 2013, among others.
- The Navlakhi stepwell dates back to 1405 AD and is a key attraction within the palace compound.
- There is a small zoo where you can spot crocodiles, as well.
- The Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum has several rare Raja Ravi Verma paintings and a miniature train line, as well. The building was once used as a school for the royal children and this train line linked the school and palace for an easier commute.
- The Moti Bagh Cricket Ground comes with a swimming pool, club house, gymnasium and golf course adjacent to the palace.
Timings to visit Laxmi Vilas Palace
- You can visit the palace between 09.30 a.m. to 05.00 p.m., on all days of the week, except Monday.
- It is recommended that you visit between 10:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. as there is not much rush. The palace is also closed on public holidays.
When should you visit Laxmi Vilas Palace?
The best time to visit the Laxmi Vilas Palace Vadodara is between October and December.
Fees for visiting Laxmi Vilas Palace Gujarat
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At the gate, the mandatory entry fee cost is INR 200 per person. The entry price includes a superb audio tour as well as a complimentary drink and snack.
You will have to pay the following fees in addition to the mandatory fee:
- Adults are charged Rs 40 per person.
- Children have to pay Rs 40 per person.
- Rs 150 per person for foreign nationals
- Rs 400 for a group of 20 students.
How to get to the Laxmi Vilas Palace?
There are different modes of travel to get to Laxmi Vilas Palace Vadodara, as mentioned below:
As the NH8 goes through Baroda, it is well connected by road. If you are traveling to Vadodara in a private vehicle, you can take National Highway No. 8 (NH 8) via the city of Vadodara. There are air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned buses, as well as other economical public transportation options.
Taking the Train
The city is located on the busy Mumbai-Delhi Western Railway Mainline. At Vadodara Junction station, high–speed trains such as the Shatabdi Express, Rajdhani Express, and other Superfast trains stop. If you want to travel by train, you can check the train schedule and purchase tickets at your leisure.
Vadodara (BDQ) is connected to major Indian cities by domestic flights. It has extensive connections to the majority of India’s main cities. Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Bangalore, and other cities are among them. As a result, you should book your plane tickets accordingly.
There are many different places to visit nearby Laxmi Vilas Palace, such as:
- Gaekwad Baroda Golf Club
- Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum
- Sayaji Baug
- Sursagar Lake
- Nyay Mandir
- Baroda Museum And Picture Gallery
- Kirti Mandir
- EME Temple
- Inorbit Mall Vadodara
You can also entertain yourself with various kinds of activities and fun spots nearby the Laxmi Vilas Palace:
- There is a swimming pool on the deck, which is one of the most popular tourist attractions. It’s fit for families since it features a Jacuzzi and a baby pool too.
- There is also an Ayurvedic massage center near the pool that offers a variety of therapeutic massages and treatments.
- Puppet shows have long been a part of the Rajasthani culture, and they are performed at the palace every evening.
- Table tennis, a pool table, and a carrom board are available in the entertainment facilities.
- In addition, a children’s play area is located near the swimming pool, allowing parents to relax while keeping an eye on their children.
- A sightseeing tour can also be arranged by making a reservation at the on-site travel desk.
- On request, a cultural program, as well as a DJ, can be arranged.
Pro tips while visiting Laxmi Vilas Palace
These are the best tips you can follow when visiting Laxmi Vilas Palace:
- When walking on the open grounds of the Palace, wear a hat or a cap to avoid tanning.
- Avoid getting too close to the pond since it houses crocodiles.
- While viewing the museum grounds, do not cause a commotion.
- Inside the palace, photography is prohibited, so don’t try to make vlogs or reels.
Laxmi Vilas Palace updates
There is frequent news about Laxmi Vilas Palace, for a variety of reasons. In March 2020, Laxmi Vilas Palace was in the news for its amazing vintage car show as part of the Incredible India Rally that was organised by 21 Gun Salute Heritage and Culture Trust, in collaboration with the Gujarat government and the government of India. Vintage cars like the Bentley Mark 6, Jaguars, Rolls Royce models and others, were flagged off by Samarjitsinh Gaekwad from the palace.
Even cricketing icon Steve Waugh visited the Laxmi Vilas Palace in January 2020. Waugh even bowled to the scion of the royal family, Samarjitsinh Gaekwad in the first floor corridor. Gaekwad also bowled to Waugh, a pleasant and unforgettable experience brought about, after the latter heard stories of how Gaekwad used to play cricket in the corridors in the monsoon. Steve Waugh was writing a book on cricket and visited India for photographing and documenting the cricket culture in the country, according to Gaekwad. Gaekwad also added that Vadodara could be aptly called as a nursery for cricket. Waugh also took a trip down memory lane, reminiscing about how he played a match at the Motibaug Ground and how Gaekwad’s uncle, Fatehsinrao Gaekwad hosted the Australian team afterwards. Waugh also paid a visit to the Motibaug Ground and interacted with young cricketing aspirants.
Where is Laxmi Vilas Palace situated?
Laxmi Vilas Palace is located at JN Marg, Moti Baug, Vadodara.
Who is the main architect of Laxmi Vilas Palace?
Major Charles Mant is believed to be the main architect of the palace.
What is the total area covered by the Laxmi Vilas Palace?
The Laxmi Vilas Palace covers approximately 700 acres.
Is Laxmi Vilas Palace bigger than Buckingham Palace?
Yes, Laxmi Vilas Palace is four times larger than the Buckingham Palace.
Who owns the Laxmi Vilas Palace?
The royal Gaekwad family owns the Laxmi Vilas Palace. The family once ruled the State of Baroda.
How many rooms does Laxmi Vilas Palace have?
Laxmi Vilas Palace has a mind-boggling 170 rooms and was initially built for only two people, i.e., the maharaja and maharani of the ruling family.
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