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Vadodara: India is no stranger to palaces. Whether in the north – Rajasthan in particular – or in the south, we can never tire of marvelling at the beautiful architectural remnants of the royal past. Even so, the Lukshmi Vilas Palace in this cultural and educational capital of Gujarat stands out.
It has the distinction of having the largest number of stained glass paintings, and some of the Gothic-inspired statues leave you wondering if you are in an Indian palace at all! A fine example of Indo-Saracenic architecture, the 125-year-old Lukshmi Vilas Palace has all the ingredients to make it a must-visit on a visitor’s itinerary.
Claimed to be the biggest “private dwelling” of its kind, the Luskhmi Vilas Palace was built by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad in 1890. Major Charles Mant, who was the chief architect, kept in mind that the palace must have the traditional touch – and so the three distinct quarters for the ruler, the ladies, and the public. But, given the erstwhile royal family’s increasing western lifestyle and large number of European visitors, it also has stately dining rooms, billiard rooms and the like.
The entire palace is not open to visitors as parts of it are still occupied by the erstwhile royal family. The entry is from the rear of the palace for visitors, who are bound to be mesmerised by the well-maintained architectural marvel right from the start. A small courtyard, lush with big plants, leads to front porch from where starts the tour. […]