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The Lakshmi Vilas Palace, one of the rarest and most elegant landmarks in the country, is a must-see for anybody visiting the erstwhile princely state of Vadodara in Gujarat. Built by the ruling Gaekwad family of yore, a prominent Maratha line of rulers who had control over Baroda state, the main architect of this lavishly designed palace is reportedly major Charles Mant. The imposing Lakshmi Vilas Palace is nestled at JN Marg in Moti Baug, Vadodara, right in the heart of the city and was styled with influences from the Indo-Saracenic revival architecture.
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Vadodara Lakshmi Vilas Palace valuation
It was built in 1890 by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III for a whopping Rs 27,00,000 or 1,80,000 pounds, a huge sum at that time. The Moti Bagh Cricket Ground is situated adjacent to the museum here, along with the offices of the well-known Baroda Cricket Association. The complex also has the iconic stepwell that dates to 1405 AD and is known as Navlakhi Vav. While it is almost impossible to accurately depict the value of such an imposing and gargantuan landmark of the country, estimates state that property prices in this area may be anywhere between Rs 7,000 and Rs 8,000 per sq ft. Taking that into account, it should be mentioned that the palace complex spans a whopping 700 acres, which works out to be a massive 3,04,92,000 sq ft. Taking Rs 8,000 per sq ft as the prevailing market rate, the final valuation, at an approximation, would be at least Rs 2,43,93,60,00,000. To state this in words, the Lakshmi Vilas Palace will be worth a mind-boggling Rs twenty four thousand three hundred and ninety three crores and sixty lakhs. Considering the heritage value and history of the structure, this can easily go up to a huge Rs 25,000 crores even!
(Royal entrance gate of The Lakshmi Vilas Palace. Source: Shutterstock)
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Lakshmi Vilas Palace: Architecture and construction
Built as the private residence for Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III in 1890, Laxmi Vilas Palace is one of India’s biggest architectural marvels. It makes use of the Indo-Saracenic architectural style, fusing elements marvelously from Mughal, Hindu and Gothic design styles, along with generously using minarets, domes and arches alike. Built in 1890, the main architect was reportedly Charles Mant while being supported by Robert Fellows Chisholm. 12 years were required for building this imposing structure covering 700 acres and almost four times the size of Buckingham Palace in the UK. It is one of the biggest palaces ever constructed, accommodating numerous buildings including the Makarpura Palace, Moti Baug Palace, Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum and Pratap Vilas Palace among others.
While the exteriors sport an awe-inspiring design, the interiors of the palace are decked out with superb chandeliers, mosaics and precious artworks galore. The palace was integrated with contemporary amenities like elevators when they came into being. Its Darbar Hall, used for concerts and other cultural gatherings, is one of its key features with special Venetian mosaic flooring and windows sporting Belgian stained glass.
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Lakshmi Vilas Palace: Facts
- Did you know that it is reportedly the biggest private dwelling constructed till date?
- It is four times the size of Buckingham Palace.
- At the time of construction itself it had elevators, a rarity at that time.
- The interiors resemble a massive country house in Europe.
- It still houses the members of the erstwhile royal family of Baroda.
- The palace compound contains several buildings including the Moti Bagh Palace, Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum building and the luxury LVP Banquets and Conventions.
(Interior of the Lakshmi Vilas Palace. Source: Shutterstock)
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- A golf course was built for European guests in the 1930s by Maharaja Pratapsinh. Samarjitsinh, his grandson, who was an ex-Ranji Trophy player, opened it to the public, after renovation.
- Several Bollywood movies have been shot here including the 1982 film Prem Rog, Dil Hi Toh Hai in 1993, Sardaar Gabbar Singh in 2016 and Grand Masti in 2013, among others.
- The Navlakhi stepwell dates back to 1405 AD and is a key attraction within the palace compound.
- There is a small zoo where you can spot crocodiles, as well.
- The Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum has several rare Raja Ravi Verma paintings and a miniature train line, as well. The building was once used as a school for the royal children and this train line linked the school and palace for an easier commute.
- The Moti Bagh Cricket Ground comes with a swimming pool, club house, gymnasium and golf course adjacent to the palace.
Where is Lakshmi Vilas Palace situated?
Lakshmi Vilas Palace is located at JN Marg, Moti Baug, Vadodara.
Who is the main architect of the palace?
Major Charles Mant is believed to be the main architect of the palace.
What is the total area covered by the Lakshmi Vilas Palace?
The Lakshmi Vilas Palace covers approximately 700 acres.