Vadodara which used to be known as Baroda, is the third largest city in the Western Indian State of Gujarat, after Ahmedabad and Surat. It is the administrative headquarters of Vadodara District and is located on the banks of the Vishwamitri river, southeast of Ahmedabad, 139 kilometres (86 mi) from the state capital Gandhinagar. The railway line and NH 8 that connect Delhi and Mumbai pass through Vadodara.
As of 2011 Vadodara had a population of almost 2.2 million people. The city is the site of the Lakshmi Vilas Palace, the residence of the Maharaja of Baroda and the royal family; and his erstwhile Darbar. It is also the home of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (Vadodara), the largest university in Gujarat. An important industrial, cultural and educational hub of western India, the city houses several institutions of national and regional importance while its major industries include petrochemicals, engineering, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, plastics, IT and foreign exchange services amongst others.
The first recorded history of the city is that of the early trader settlers who settled in the region in 812 AD. The province was mainly Hindu-dominated with Hindu kings ruling until 1297. The Gupta Empire was the first power in the region in the early years of the Christian Era. After fierce battles, the region was taken over by the Chalukya Dynasty. Finally, the kingdom was annexed by the Solanki dynasty. By this time Muslim rule had spread across India, and the reins of power were then snatched by the Delhi Sultans. The city was ruled for a long time by these Sultans, until they were overthrown by the Mughals.
Chimnabai I was knowledgeable in Bharatanatyam and Carnatic music, and brought a troupe with her comprising two dancers, two nattuvanars (leaders of Bharatanatyam concerts) and two teachers (Khandwani 2002). Others followed later, including Nattuvanar Appaswamy and his dancer wife Kantimati, who had studied with Kannusamy and Vadively, two members of the Tanjore Quartet. After the death of Appaswamy in 1939, Kantimati and their son,Guru Shri Kubernath Tanjorkar,left Baroda to teach in Lucknow,and then worked in the film industry in South India until Sayajirao’s successor, Pratapsinhrao Gaekwad recalled the family to Baroda in 1949 to teach in the Music Department in the Kalavan Palace, later absorbed into the Maharaja Sayajirao University (Gaston 1996: 158–160).Later Guruvarya Shri Kubernath Tanjorkar established his own Institute namely Tanjore Dance Music & Art Research Centre at Baroda with his Son Guru Shri Ramesh Tanjorkar and Guru Smt.Leela R. Tanjorkar and their family. This established a tradition of Bharatanatyam dancers and teachers, who were members of a family considered an offshoot of the Tanjore Quartet bani (stylistic schools; Gaston 1996: 159), already established in Gujarat by the time Mrinalini set up her own academy.
Vadodara features a tropical savanna climate (Aw) under Köppen’s Climate classification. There are three main seasons: Summer, Monsoon and Winter. Aside from the monsoon season, the climate is dry. The weather is hot through the months of March to July – the average summer maximum is 40 °C (104 °F), and the average minimum is 23 °C (73 °F). From November to February, the average maximum temperature is 30 °C (86 °F), the average minimum is 15 °C (59 °F), and the climate is extremely dry. Cold northerly winds are responsible for a mild chill in January. The southwest monsoon brings a humid climate from mid-June to mid-September. The average rainfall is 93 cm (37 in), but infrequent heavy torrential rains cause the river to flood like the 2005 Gujarat flood or the 2008 Indian floods which were catastrophic.
The highest record temperature was 46.7 °C (116.1 °F) on 11 May 1960, while the lowest record temperature was −1.1 °C (30.0 °F) on 15 January 1935.
Vadodara Airport (IATA: BDQ) is located north-east of the city. Vadodara has air connectivity with Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Hyderabad. A new terminal at Vadodara airport is under construction which will be completed in 2016 by which Vadodara is set to have an International Airport by 2016.
Vadodara was part of the historic Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway (BBCI), which arrived in the city in January 1861. On 5 November 1951 the BBCI Railway was merged with the Saurashtra, Rajputana and Jaipur railways to create the Western Railway. Vadodara Railway Station now belongs to the Western Railway zone of Indian Railways and is a major junction on the Western Railway Main Line.
National Highway 8, connecting Delhi and Gandhinagar with Ahmedabad to Surat and Mumbai, passes through the city. Vadodara is also connected with Ahmedabad through Indian National Expressway 1, a 97 kilometres (60 mi) stretch of super highway with exits at Anand, Nadiad, S.P.Ring Road and finally Ahmedabad. In the near future, this expressway will be extended southwards from Vadodara all the way up to Mumbai. The necessary land acquisition work is in progress and the government has placed the project on a fast track priority.
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”.
Vadodara has a professional cricket team, the Baroda cricket team, as well as the oldest cricket ground in Asia, called Moti Baug. The team has won the Ranji Trophy six times. There is also a private cricket ground owned by Reliance Industries, which hosts ODIs. Some of the notable cricketer’s from Baroda are Atul Bedade, Nayan Mongia, Irfan Pathan, Yusuf Pathan, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Deepak Hooda,Ambati Rayudu. Football is also a famous sport played in the city. VMSS also launched one ind oor sports complex located at Sama & one outdoor sports complex located at Manjalpur. Besides this the VMC is also coming up with a new swimming complex in karelibuag area of the city. The city has Bal Bhavan an institution which provides professional training in sports like lawn tennis, table tennis, badminton with cultural activities.