Palaces, Villas and Castles

Lakshmi Vilas Palace

The Laxmi Vilas Palace in Vadodara, Gujarat, is a monumental structure that exemplifies the grandeur of the Gaekwad dynasty, a prominent Maratha family that once ruled the Baroda State. Constructed in 1890 by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III, the palace is an outstanding example of Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture. Its construction cost was a staggering £180,000 at the time, which reflects its scale and opulence.

Reputed to be the largest private dwelling built to date, Laxmi Vilas Palace is four times the size of Buckingham Palace. Its vast interiors are reminiscent of a large European country house and were equipped with the most modern amenities of the era, including elevators. Today, it still serves as the residence of the Royal Family, who continue to be highly respected by the residents of Baroda.

The palace complex extends over 500 acres and encompasses a variety of buildings, including the LVP Banquets & Conventions, Moti Baug Palace, and the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum building. One of the architectural highlights is the Darbar Hall, which features the “Raja’s Throne,” and exemplifies the intricate craftsmanship and luxurious design typical of the era.

In the 1930s, Maharaja Pratapsinh added a golf course to the estate, designed for his European guests. This course was later renovated in the 1990s by Samarjitsinh Gaekwad, a former Ranji trophy cricket player and the Maharaja’s grandson, who then opened it to the public. This addition of a golf course illustrates the blending of traditional royal lifestyles with modern recreational practices.

Visiting Laxmi Vilas Palace offers a deep dive into India’s royal heritage and architectural splendor. The palace not only showcases the luxurious lifestyle of the Indian royalty but also serves as a cultural hub with its museum and public access facilities, including the historical golf course.

Learn more about the captivating history of the Laxmi Vilas Palace and other regal residences by visiting Secret World. For a detailed exploration of Vadodara’s royal architecture and the legacy of the Gaekwad dynasty, check out this comprehensive guide.

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