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Vadodara, for­merly known as Bar­oda, is the third largest and most pop­u­lated city in the In­dian State of Gu­jarat, with a pop­u­la­tion of over 1 mil­lion af­ter Ah­mad­abad and Su­rat. Sit­u­ated on the banks of the Vish­wamitri, a river whose name is de­rived from the great saint Rishi Vish­wami­tra, the city is lo­cated south­east of Ahmed­abad, 139 km from the state cap­i­tal, Gand­hi­na­gar. The name Vadodara is de­rived from the old Banyan trees found largely in the city. Re­cently, Vadodara has been se­lected to be de­vel­oped as a ‘Smart City’ by the Cen­tral Gov­ern­ment. The city was once called ‘Chan­dana­vati’ af­ter its ruler Raja Chan­dan of Dor tribe of Ra­jputs, who wrested it from the Jains. The cap­i­tal had also an­other name ‘Vi­rak­shetra’ or ‘Vi­rawati’ (a land of war­riors). Later on, it was known as ‘Vad­pa­traka’ or ‘Vadodara’, which ac­cord­ing to tra­di­tion is a cor­rupt form of the San­skrit word ‘Va­to­dar’ mean­ing, ‘in the heart of the banyan tree’. It is now al­most im­pos­si­ble to as­cer­tain when the var­i­ous changes in the name were made; but early English trav­ellers and mer­chants men­tion the town as ‘Brodera’, and it is from this that the name ‘Bar­oda’ is de­rived. Again in 1974 the name changed to ‘Vadodara’. His­tor­i­cal and ar­chae­o­log­i­cal find­ings date this place back to the 9th cen­tury when it was a small town called Ankot­taka (present Akota) lo­cated on the right bank of the river Vish­vamitri. Ankot­taka was a fa­mous cen­tre of Jain­ism in the 5th and 6th cen­tury AD. Some of the Akota bronze im­ages can be seen in the Vadodara Mu­seum.

Dur­ing the days of the Bri­tish Raj, Bar­oda state was a Maratha Princely state ruled by the Royal Gaik­wad Dy­nasty, en­ti­tled to 21 Gun Salutes, and was one of the largest and rich­est In­dian Princely States. Since the era of Royal Gaek­wad fam­ily, Vadodara has been a hub of Arts, Lit­er­a­ture and Ar­chi­tec­ture, hence it has been be­stowed the ti­tle of ‘Kala Na­gari’. It is also known as the ‘Sayaji Na­gari’ or ‘Sayaji’s

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