Laxmi Vilas Palace, Baroda
Laxmi Villas Palace is the Official residence of the Maharaja Of Baroda.The royal family still resides in this magnificent palace built in 1889.
It is reputed to have been the largest private dwelling built till date and four times the size of Buckingham Palace. At the time of construction it boasted the most modern amenities such as elevators and the interior is reminiscent of a large European country house. It remains the residence of the Royal Family, who continue to be held in high esteem by the residents of Baroda.
Named after the wife of Maharaja Sayaji Rao III, Laxmi vilas Palace combines the architecture of 4 religions – Hinduism, Sikh, Christianity and Islam – as you can see on the front façade itself! The clock tower of the ‘church’ is visible from long and far across Baroda. The tower, though, built for a clock, didn’t end up having it as the architect thought that the tick-tock of the clock will be very irritating for the royal family living in the palace. It has a red light which is lit up when the royal family is in the residence letting the people of Baroda know that the king is in town!
It is an extravagant building of the Indo-Saracenic school, was built by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III in 1890 at a cost of GBP180,000. Major Charles Mant was the architect.
Paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, who was specially commissioned by the then Maharaja of Baroda. The collection includes portraits of the Royal family in addition to the paintings based on Hindu mythology for which Raja Ravi Varma was famous.
The Palace “compound” covers over 700 acres (2.8 km2) and houses a number of buildings, particularly the Moti Baug Palace and the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum building. Packs of langoors & peacocks can also be spotted around the palace compound.
The Royal Mark
Its ornate Darbar Hall, which is sometimes the venue of music concerts and other cultural events, has a Venetian mosaic floor, Belgium stained glass windows and walls with intricate mosaic decorations