Vadodara

Vadodara, a town in Gujarat in India, also known as Baroda, is named for the vad (banyan) trees that flourish in the area.

A statue of Shiva watches over Sursagar Lake

Understand

The language spoken by people in Vadodara varies, but almost everyone speaks Gujarati and Hindi. Marathi community is also on a large scale in the city. Most young people speak passable English, and in certain areas you will meet people that are fluent in English. Alkapuri is heavily frequented by NRI's (non-resident Indians) and has western restaurants (Pizza Hut, McDonald's, Subway, CCD, Barista, Barbeque Nation etc.), stores (Adidas, Nike, Metro, etc.), etc. This area is frequented by highly affluent individuals and you can generally find English-speaking people on a large scale.

Recently the city has been attracting many International IT Companies to invest in the area to set up operational hubs, including L&T, Collabera, and TCS. Many people from IT centers in India like Bangalore prefer working here because of the simple life, but with all resources like schools, water and electricity.

Get in

The arrival hall at Vadodara Airport

By plane

You can get into Vadodara on a domestic flight, and it is reasonably connected to the rest of the country by domestic airlines like Air India, Indigo and Jet Airways. The nearest international airport is about 100 km away in Ahmedabad to which is served by Air India, Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines.

By train

  Vadodara Junction Railway Station. - This is the busiest Railway Station in Gujarat. It is situated on the Mumbai - Delhi Western Railway Main Line. Even high speed trains on Delhi-Mumbai route, like Shatabdi and Rajdhan, make a stop at Vadodara Junction. Humble Mail/Express Trains will bring you to Vadodara from any small village and towns nearby and even in Gujarat.

This railway station has 7 platforms. Exits from platform no. 1 to 5 and 7 will lead you to Sayajigunj, and exit from platform 6 will lead you to Alkapuri.

By car

The National Highway no.8 passes through Baroda. It is connected by excellent roads. There is an express highway to Ahmedabad, and highway travel is fairly speedy by road, at least to other places in the western part of the country. Its going to be a 6 Lane road soon.

By bus

Vadodara's distinctive bus station, opened in 2014

The   main bus station,  +91 265 276 0060. The main bus station is at Maharaja Sayajirao University. Non-air conditioned buses arrive from here which connect Vadodara with all the parts of Gujarat and the major cities of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.

Intercity buses from Ahmedabad take 2 hours on the expressway and cost ₹150 per person and up (as of January 2015). When looking up fares and schedules on bus ticketing sites, keep in mind that you may need to use the city's alternate name of Baroda to find information about buses to Vadodara.

By boat

Vadodara can be accessed by traveling on the river Mahi in a boat from Savli.

Get around

Local transport consists mainly of City Buses and three-wheelers called auto-rickshaws which are very cheap and easily available. Always insist on meter usage and the rate payable is 10 times the amount shown plus 1. (for example, if it shows 2.80, the fare is ₹28+₹1 = ₹29 for a 4-5km journey). The fare is meter reading plus 5. An extra ₹5 is charged if there are 4 passengers.

The VITCOS City Buses take you to all parts of the city and the VITCOS Bus Stand is right opposite to the Railway Station. The buses are very comfortable and cheap. It costs ₹1/- per 1.2 km.

See

Laxmi Vilas Palace

The Old City

Do

There are quite a few sights worth taking a look at such as the Lakshmi Vilas Palace and the old zoo. If you're headed here plan a trip that lasts not more than three days because then you'll run out of things to do. And because of the fact that it is cosmopolitan, infrastructurally decent and well connected by rail, road and air, this is a good place to have as your 'hub' and make day trips to other places.

Inox Movie Theater

Events

Religious festivals

People performing Garba as part of Navratri celebrations in Vadodara

Learn

Kala Bhavan, a former palace which currently houses the Faculty of Technology and Engineering of Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda

If you wish to undertake studies in the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (MSU) you must apply at any India Embassy or Consulate in your country for a student visa. Keep in mind that international student fees are high. Your best bet for reducing costs is to apply for scholarship issued by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).

Work

Vadodara has companies like L&T, Xylem water solutions, IOCL, ABB, GSFC, ONGC, IPCL (now Reliance), Bombardier, General Motors, Kemrock, Alembic and Jyoti. Many other petrochemical companies like GACL and pharma companies like Sun Pharma, Alembic and Sarabhai are also well known. It is also considered a good location for IT companies, and a new biotech park is coming to the city. Quickstart Global has set up its operations as well, providing employment to more than 800 people in Vadodara.

Buy

Mangal Market

Camel leather and related arts of embedding pure gold and stone colors, on camel leather and hide vessels are well known here.

Eat

There are plenty of eateries in and around the city and getting good food is not a problem.

Khandvi is a popular Gurajati snack

Mid-range

Don't forget to try the famous 'Gujarati Thali' (Kathiyawadi):

Splurge

Drink

Tomb of Qutb-ud-Din Muhammad Khan, the tutor of two of Mughal Emperor Akbar Khan's sons

Vadodara is a nice place to be but lacks a nightlife altogether because of a blanket ban on alcohol throughout Gujarat. Foreign nationals can procure alcohol after getting a permit, but this procedure is not without its headaches.

You will need your passport plus a photocopy of your passport data page and your visa. You must ask your hotel to stamp this photocopy and write a simple statement to say that "xxx is residing at this hotel, room xxx. The fee for the permit is ₹100. The permit is valid for one month, during which time each person is allowed to buy a limited quantity - 10 units at a time (one unit is 10 large bottles of beer, or 3 bottles of wine or 1 bottle of spirits), no more than twice in six days. This should satisfy all but the heaviest of drinkers. You can use the permit at any location that sells alcohol.

The wine shop at the Hotel Kaviraj (the hotel is currently being refurbished but the wine shop is open on the side of the building) is open from 12:00 to 20:00 and can always issue a permit.

Sleep

Sayajirao Palace Gate

Budget

Choose any of the hotels available besides the railway station (Sayaji Gunj area), but be aware that they sometimes refuse foreign tourists because of the paperwork needed for the booking.

Mid-range

Splurge

Connect

Mail

Vadodara has 3 main post offices:

Phone and Internet

Most hotels in Baroda do offer free Wi-Fi. You'll be able to check email or use Skype at McDonald's Family Restaurants too. Internet Cafe are few. At   HB's Cyber Cafe (in Sayajigunj,). connection speeds are good

Stay safe

Vadodara is generally a safe city, and is heavily secured by the local cops (who may be in yellow-ochre, black, white or informal dress but in yellow-ochre socks). In the relatively unlikely event that you have any trouble, you can call 108 (emergency number).

Cope

Tourists and especially non-resident Indians can expect to pay significantly more than locals, so don't be surprised if you experience this.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, January 19, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.