Vadodara Knowledge Guide
The city used to be called Chandanavati after its ruler Raja Chandan of the Dor tribe of Rajputs. The capital was also known as Virakshetra or Viravati (Land of Warriors). Later on, it was known as Vadpatraka or Vadodará, which according to tradition is a corrupt form of the Sanskrit word vatodar meaning in the belly of the Banyan tree. It is now almost impossible to ascertain when the various changes in the name were made; but early English travellers and merchants mention the town as Brodera, and it is from this that the name Baroda is derived. In 1974, the official name of the city was changed to Vadodara. In 1907, a small village and township in Michigan, United States, were named after Baroda.
It is believed that early man lived on the banks of the Mahi River, which formed the floodplain during that age. The movements of these hunter-gatherers, living on the banks of the river, grubbing the roots and killing animals with crude stone tools made out of the cobbles and pebbles available on the river bank, were necessarily controlled by the availability of convenient raw materials for their tools. There is evidence of the existence of early man in the Mahi River valley at a number of sites within 10 to 20 kilometres (6.2 to 12.4 mi) to the northeast of Vadodara. However, no evidence of the existence of these people have been found in and around the present-day Vadodara City. This may be because of the absence of gravels and cobbles on the banks of the Vishwamitri rivulet.
Baroda State was a former Indian State. Vadodara's more recent history began when the Maratha general Pilaji Gaekwad conquered Songadh from the Mughals in 1726. Before the Gaekwads captured Baroda, it was ruled by the Babi Nawabs, who were the officers of the Mughal rulers. Most notably, from 1705–1716, Sardar Senapati Khanderao Dabhade led the Maratha Empire forces in Baroda. Except for a short period, Baroda continued to be in the reign of the Gaekwads from 1734 to 1948. Initially detailed to collect revenue on behalf of the Peshwa in Gujarat, Pilaji Gaekwad remained there to carve out a kingdom for himself. Damajirao, who was son and successor of Pilaji Gaekwad, defeated the Mughal armies and conquered Baroda in 1734. His successors consolidated their power over large tracts of Gujarat, becoming easily the most powerful rulers in the region. After the Maratha defeat in the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761, control of the empire by the Peshwas weakened as it became a loose confederacy, and the Gaekwad Maharajas ruled the kingdom until it acceded to Independent Republic of India in 1949. In 1802, the British intervened to defend a Maharaja that had recently inherited the throne from rival claimants, and Vadodara concluded a subsidiary alliance with the British that recognised the Kingdom as a Princely state and allowed the Maharajas of Baroda internal political sovereignty in return for recognising British 'Paramountcy', a form of suzerainty in which the control of the state's foreign affairs was completely surrendered.The golden period in the Maratha rule of Vadodara started with the accession of Maharaja Sayajirao III in 1875. Near Maharaja Sayaji Gaekwad University there is a well known garden which was built by Maharaja Sayaji Rao Gaekwad himself in 1879 A.D. This garden is known as Sayaji Baug known for visitors centre.This place is situated on river Vishwamitri.
Religions and festivals
Diwali, Uttarayana, Holi, Eid, Gudi Padwa, Ganesh Chaturthi, Navaratri (Garba), Maha Shivaratri are celebrated with great joy.Apart from this, Ganesh Chaturthi and Uttarayan are also celebrated with great zeal. During Ganesh Chaturthi, there are many Ganesh pandals (stalls) arranged at the streets of the city. These are kept for seven days or ten days before the idol of Ganesha is immersed in various water bodies in the city and majority of them are immersed at Sursagar Lake. People also have these idols placed at their home for short periods. Uttarayan is a festival of kites, music and "tilgud" in the city. Before the festival starts, the markets are lined up with vendors selling kites, threads, balloons, and firecrackers as well as various local cuisines. At night the sky is illuminated by crackers, kandils and fire balloons. The Marathi women here also perform "Haldi Kumku".The most followed religion in the city is Hinduism, practiced by 85% of the population. The second most followed religion is Islam, followed by 11% of the population. All other religious groups make up the remaining 4% of the population.
Art and architecture
Vadodara has a vibrant history related to Art and Architecture. Since the era of Royal Gaekwad family, it has been a hub of Arts and Literature. Hence, it has been bestowed the title of "Kala Nagari (Art City)". Maharaja Sayajirao University offers innumerable arts courses within the campus.