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Vadodara, also known as Baroda, is the third-largest city in the Indian state of Gujarat. It serves as the administrative headquarters of the Vadodara district and is situated on the banks of the Vishwamitri River, 141 kilometres from the state capital of Gandhinagar.


The early man is believed to have lived on the banks of the Mahi River which formed the flood plains in that region. There are evidences of the existence of early man and the existence of early settlements in the Mahi river valley at a number of sites within 10 to 20 km to the north-east of Vadodara.
Archaeological findings of human settlements on the right bank of the river Vishwamitri on a group of dunes resting on the alluvium of the river have been dated to 1000 B.C and also ascertain the existence of the Stone Age.

Around the beginning of the Christian era, a small township developed at the same spot as the above mentioned settlement on the right bank of the river. It came to be known as Ankotakka (present day Akota), the mound on which this settlement was established came to be known as Dhantekri. The entire settlement was developed by clearing grazing land and thick forests that covered an area of ½ to ¾ km².

There exist several ideas about Vadodara or Baroda and reasons for it being called so. Let us take a journey back in time to savor these ideas which contribute to Baroda’s enchanting history.
Baroda is situated on the banks of river Vishwamitri, the name being derived from the great saint Rishi Vishwamitra.

In the 9th century, it is known to have been a little town called Ankottaka which was a famous center for Jainism located on the banks of the river Vishwamitri in the 5th and 6th century AD. Archaeological findings date Baroda back to this time and even today some of the signature Akota bronze images are found in the Baroda museum.

The city is also known to have had the name Chandanavati named after its ruler, A Rajput king Raja Chandan.Two other intriguing names that Baroda is believed to have possessed at different points in time are Virakshetra (A Land of warriors) and Vatodar (in the heart of the Banyan tree). Legend says that the region in and around Baroda (Vat meaning Banyan tree and Aodh meaning tent/canopy) was home to large groves of Banyan tress that formed a canopy kind of layer.

The Name Baroda was changed to Vadodara in 1974 but early historical literature suggest that the English travelers and merchants referred to this town as Brodera! 

The early trade settlers made an entry into the land in 812 AD. The imperial Baroda province was mainly ruled by Hindu kings till the year 1297. The Gupta Empire was taken over by the Chalukya Dynasty after intense rivalry culminated in a series of fierce battles. When this resplendent region was taken over by the Solanki Rajputs, the 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 easily overthrown by the Mughal emperors.

It was during this time that the Maratha Gaekwad’s made an entry into this sovereign rule and eventually marked their reputable region of rule. It became the capital of the Maratha Gaekwads.
The glorious history of the Gaekwad’s began when Maratha general Pilaji Gaekwad conquered Songadh from the Mughals in 1726. Mughal rule came to an end in 1732, when Pilaji Rao Gaekwad intensified the Maratha campaigns in Southern Gujarat and carved out a kingdom for his lineage. Damajirao, son and successor of Pilaji Gaekwad, defeated the Mughal armies and conquered Baroda in 1734. The Gaekwad successors slowly but surely intensified the degree of their hold over large tracts of Gujarat, becoming the most powerful rulers in the region. The Gaekwad Maharajas ruled the kingdom until Indian independence in 1947.

The golden period in the Maratha rule of Baroda started with the enigmatic rule of Maharaja Sayajirao III in 1875. It was an era of great progress and constructive achievements in all fields. Maharaja Sayajirao III, who ruled from 1875 to 1939, contributed overwhelmingly to revive and reform Baroda with initiatives such as establishing compulsory primary education, a library system, a university, and model textile and tile factories, the great museums, art, architecture with a desire to fulfill his dream of making Baroda an educational, industrial and commercial center.  Therefore, the city is also referred to as Sayaji Nagari (Sayaji's City).

When India gained independence in 1947, the state of Baroda was merged into the Bombay State . The state was then further divided into the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra in 1960 and it was then that Baroda officially became a part of Gujarat.