Vadodara has always been known for it’s rich history and culture. The cherry on top is the magnificent Laxmi Vilas palace situated right at the heart of the city.
Here are a few facts about the architectural marvel:
1) It is reputed to have been the largest private dwelling built till date and four times the size of Buckingham Palace.
2) The palace houses 170 rooms and was built just for two people, the Maharaja and the Maharani.
3) The construction of the palace was initiated in 1878 and it took 12 years for its completion.
4) It was designed in Indo-Saracenic style by the architect Major Charles Mant and later after his death it was completed by Robert Fellowes Chisholm. Major Charles Mant being a perfectionist, came to a conclusion that his calculations were wrong and hung himself assuming the palace would not last long. However the palace stands strong even after 125 years.
5) The front façade of the palace is designed in an eclectic architectural style blending Moghul, Jain, Rajput, Marathi, Gujarati as well as Gothic and Venetian designs harmoniously.
6) A good blend of both local and foreign materials and workmanship was used in the construction of the palace. Red sand stone from Agra, blue trapstone from Poona and marbles of Rajasthan and Italy were used while twelve workmen from Venice laid the beautiful mosaic floor of the Durbar Hall of the palace.
7) It is considered as one of the most expensive palaces built during the time of its completion with total cost of approximate £180,000.
8) The palace has a 300 ft tower which was meant to be a clock tower but the idea was not implemented since the constant ticking would be a disturbance for the residents. Instead, a lamp was installed that would light up bright red to indicate the king was in residence. This practice is followed even today and additionally, a saffron flag is hosted on the main entrance gate of the palace to signal to the people of Baroda that the king is in residence.
9) The gardens of Laxmi Vilas Palace were designed by renowned botanist Sir William Goldring who designed the famous Kew Botanical Gardens in London.
10) Laxmi Vilas Palace has the maximum number of stained glass ever used in a palace.