|Lakshmi Vilas Palace,Vadodara The Indian Express|
Lakshmi Vilas Palace,Vadodara, Gujarat, India is a beautiful palace known for its grandeur and beauty. It is located in a fairly quiet area with minimum traffic noice. The din is not very much there. Built in the Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture, it is an extravagant building that will give you a lasting impression after your visit to this place. It was built by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III in 1890 at a cost of GBP180,000.00 a big sum in those days and its architect was Charles Mant, an English man.
Built on a vast land comprising 500 acres, it is believed to be the largest private residence and four times the size of Buckingham Palace, London. There is a golf course within the compound created by Maharajah Pratapsingh in 1930 to entertain European guests. The complex includes many other lavishly built buildings such as the LVP Banquets & Conventions, Moti Baug Palace and the Maharajah Fateh Singh Museum building and
Darbar Hall featuring the Raja's Throne. It was built with modern facilities like elevators, highly embellished interior, etc., on par with any European royal residence. It is still being used by the royal Maratha family members of Gaekwad, who are being held in great esteem by the people of this city and others.
|Lakshmi Vilas Palace,Vadodaratourismguideindia.com|
A poignant story that may touch your hear is tha the architect Charles Mant committed suicide six years after completing this palace project, Reason: He was under the impression, that he did not build a solid foundation for this mega project. On the contrary Lakshmi Vilas Palace has a solid and durable foundation. The palace is adorned with innumerable impressive statues. The grand stairway connecting the upper levels is just majestic. Inaccessible to the public are the private quarters of the royal family members.
There are many rooms like armament room, elephant room, Gaddi room, etc. In between the Gaddi room and Elephant room lies a fine courtyard with palm trees. There is a tall clock tower that stands roughly 300 feet (30 stories tall). The clock never worked. Nor was it repaired.The most talked about place in this palace is the Durbar Hall. The grand Durbar Hall is an amazing one and it has a vast space with a Venetian mosaic flooring and Belgian stained glass paintings that allow sunlight to filter in. In this grand hall, it is mentioned, that once as many as 34 Darbars were held , each with its own protocol and set of rules that ought to be followed.
The credit must go to the unfortunate Englishman who fmisundestood his talents and ended his life. This grand edifice, despite the march of time and the onslaught of different weather conditions and urban pollution, still retains its splendour and pomp. The aura can never be lost, so is the ingenuity of Charles Mant. No doubt, Lakshmi Vilas Palace compares with the best in the world.