Sikandar Shah�s Tomb, Halol

Located on the outskirts of Vadodara is the historical site of Sikandar Shah’s Tomb. Sikander Shah was the ruler of Champaner and was assassinated in 1526 AD. He was later buried at Halol beside two of his brothers. The mausoleum where his tomb lies was built by Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat. With simple fluted domes, the tomb is made in sandstone and is considered a masterpiece of architectural craftsmanship. The single-storeyed mausoleum has seven domes - two central and five smaller. It has been built on an elevated plinth in the Ahmedabad style of architecture. The interior is adorned with intricate floral patterns and geometric designs, especially on the pillars. The small, fluted capolas (a rounded dome) still stand here even though the central domes have crumbled. A chamber at the mausoleum also houses the graves of Bahadur Shah’s two brothers - Nasir and Latif, who also died in the same year.

Sikandar Shah�s Tomb, Halol

Makarpura Palace

Built in an Italian style of architecture, Makarpura Palace is a gorgeous structure that once served as the summer home of the Gaekwad royal family. It was commissioned by Maharaja Khendarao Gaekwad II and its construction was completed in 1870. It is said that the Maharaja spent a lot of time here on his hunting trips. The palace is a three-storey structure that is divided into two parts and has more than 100 ornate brick rooms, along with frame-arch balconies and wooden staircases. The highlight of the palace is its Japanese-style 130-acre garden. Designed by William Goldring, the architect of the royal botanical gardens, the garden at the palace was named Kew and had a swimming pool and a lake with swans. There were ivory fountains as well that were activated to welcome the king every time he came to visit the palace.

Makarpura Palace

Champaner

The ancient city of Champaner, around 50 km from Vadodara, is best known for the Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. To get a peek into history, walk around this splendid site that is a well-preserved Islamic pre-Mughal city. From archaeological and cultural sites to a hill fortress and the remains of a capital city of Gujarat in the 16th century, there are plenty of historical gems in the area. Champaner has a number of mosques, including the famous and magnificent Jama Masjid, Sahar Ki Masjid, Gumbai Ki Masjid, Kevasa Masjid and Nagina Masjid, most of which were made in the 15th century. The stunning fortress of Champaner is another must-visit site, which has earned a reputation for its blend of Hindu-Muslim architecture. There are also plenty of well-preserved Hindu and Jain temples that are a sight to behold.

A great city of antiquity, Champaner once stood tall and proud. Re-discovered centuries later, it makes for an extremely fascinating visit for the history buffs. It was once the capital city of Gujarat. Champaner was ruled over by several dynasties including Chauhan Rajputs, Marathas, Mughals and more till it saw decay.

Champaner

Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum

Established in 1961, Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum is located in the grounds of Lakshmi Vilas Palace. It has been built inside what was Motibaug School, constructed for Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III in 1875. Constructed in the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, the museum houses a collection of the Gaekwad royal family’s personal belongings. It also has exhibits of royal paintings and art treasures. Apart from a collection of portraits by renowned artist Raja Ravi Varma, including portraits of the royal family, the museum also houses works of Raphael, Rembrandt, Murillo and Titian. A fully operational toy train, which Prince Ranjitsinh Gaekwad had received on his fifth birthday, finds a place of pride in the museum. Another interesting gallery exhibition is that of headgear- vibrant headgear from the collection of Maharaja Ranjitsinh Gaekwad is on display at the museum. Moreover, you can find exclusive marble collections from countries like Europe, Japan and China. One artist who has been particularly honoured by the museum is Italian artist Fellicci. While here, one can view Fellicci’s works adorning not only the walls but also the well-manicured landscape of the Sayaji Garden or Kamati Baug.

Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum

Statue of Unity

It’s huge, almost gigantic! That is the first reaction most people have as they speed down the winding road leading to the towering Statue of Unity (SoU). A long bridge connects the mainland to the Sadhu Bet Island, on which the statue stands. Silhouetted against the surrounding Vindhya and Satpura mountain ranges, the colossal statue almost seems to pierce the skyline.

The legacy of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India’s Iron Man, lives on in the form of this massive statue dominating the Narmada river basin. He towers over the landscape, as if, keeping an eye over the land he helped become independent. Standing at a height of 182 m, the Statue of Unity, is the tallest in the world. It depicts Sardar Patel in a walking pose, clad in his characteristic simple attire. About 100 times the height of a five-and-a-half-ft-tall person, one can see the statue from as far away as 8 km. The SoU was inaugurated on October 31, 2018, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to commemorate Patel’s 143rd birth anniversary.

Statue of Unity

Champaner Pavagadh Archaeological Park

The UNESCO World Heritage site of Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park is marked by bastions and forts that begin from the Pavagadh Hills and extend into Champaner city. To get a peek into history, walk around this splendid site that is a well-preserved Islamic pre-Mughal city. With a large number of Hindu and Jain temples as well as mosques, most of which were constructed during the time of the Gujarat Sultanate, the city has a lot to boast. From step wells, cemeteries, granaries and fortification walls, it is clearly evident that a well-planned town once existed here. At the base of the hill was located the principal township, which included the royal palace (Hissar-i-Khas) and the Jama Masjid that was strategically planned in the centre with arterial roads reaching the nine gates of the city. Mosques were constructed near most of these gates at an elevation so that they were easily visible from a distance.

Champaner Pavagadh Archaeological Park

Lakshmi Vilas Palace

A gorgeous structure built in the Indo-Saracenic architectural style, Lakshmi Vilas Palace was constructed in 1890 by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III, the ruler of Baroda (1875-1939). The palace is spread over a vast area of 500 acre and houses many architectural riches. The ornate Durbar Hall is perhaps the most attractive and acts as a venue for occasional cultural events and music concerts. It is adorned with Belgian stained glass windows, a Venetian mosaic floor and walls with intricate mosaic decorations. Outside the Durbar Hall is an Italian courtyard with pretty water fountains. Also housed inside the palace are remarkable collections of old armoury, bronze, marble and terracotta sculptures. The lawns and gardens of the palace are also noteworthy and were landscaped and directed by William Goldring, who was also responsible for the royal botanical gardens.

Other attractions inside the palace are Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum and Moti Baug Palace. It is said that Major Charles Mant was the architect of this magnificent palace.

Lakshmi Vilas Palace