This is your quick and handy guide of all things awesome in Vadodara, formerly called Baroda. This happens to be Yang's hometown. A lot has changed since his last visit to his homeland. We made sure to find out the local secrets about all special things that are an absolute must do or must see in this city Read on...
1. Food Haven
The food in Vadodara cannot go without a special mention. We are sure all of Gujarat is an epic food haven, but we can vouch for Vadodara having experienced some mouth watering treats throughout our visit. Listed below are some legendary local favorites to excite your taste buds!
- Raju Omelett (Karelibaug)- Every local will swear by this 'hole in the wall' joint. The concept is simple, but the comfort food you find here will keep you coming back. Raju serves up a long list of egg dishes in his small diner- hot, fresh, greasy, and yum! Seating is limited, but the joys of standing with the locals eating this finger-licking food is amazing:)
Oh...don't forget to stop by the store beside Raju Omelett to meet this lovely watchman with the most AMAZING 'Stache! Yang had to get a picture with him. The man was excited to be in our shot (although he doesn't look it in the picture..lol)! For all your Movember 'stache growing peeps- this has got to be inspirational!
- Manmohan Samosas (Kothi Char Rasta)
Another small joint that serves the best local samosas!
- Mahakali Sev Usal (Polo ground)
Yang's father visits this place at least once a week quite religiously. Sev Usal is a sweet and tangy local specialty and Mahakali serves up the local best! So I'm going to be quite jealous if you eat here before I do. With a short four day visit, the only way I could have stuffed more food into my system would have been to attach an auxiliary stomach to eat all that home-cooked food and local treats! I had to compromise on this one this time around, but surely have it on my list for our next visit!
- Vishal Samosa Sandwich (Jetalpur Rd.)
Special local street food- Yummy vegetarian sandwiches- a must have.
- Gokul Kathiyavadi Hotel (Gorwa)
We were lucky to taste this enticing variety of food in Vadodara. We landed up in a fun restaurant with a very rustic feel to it. Surrounded by thatched roof stations with tables and khat seating (i.e., basic bed frames common in villages), this place made for a fun family dining experience. Loved the food and the ambience. Gokul has yum thalis options too (mixed food platter with several food choices).
- Shreenath Cold Cocoa
We were stuffed beyond mention after two heavy meals during the day, but we were told that we could not leave the city without having some late night dessert cold cocoa. So this joint is famous for serving ice cream and 'cold cocoa' which is a milkshake like cool drink that is lightly flavored and very refreshing. Highly recommended to satiate your sweet tooth!
Head to Baroda city central and/or Alkapuri market to shop to your heart's delight. Two family favorite stores include:
- Friendship Bazaar (Alkapuri)- For women's clothing. Good quality with trendy selection
- Magnet Fashion (Alkapuri)- For men's clothing. Psst...they customize outfits too. All of Yang's wedding clothes were custom-tailored from here:)
3. Things to do
Hop on a train and take a short ride to nearby villages. My father-in-law was so excited to take us to his ancestral village and we had the best experience ever! Check out our blog on our trip to Vadhvana village.
Located about 40 km from the city of Vadodara, the village of Vadhvana is dear to my in-laws as this is their native hometown. A convenient 1-1.5 hour train ride from Vadodara city, the village is pretty easily accessible.Vadhvana village is actually a well know wetland with the land nurturing Vadhvana Lake and it's popular bird-watching spots for nature enthusiasts.
Truly a local marvel in Vadodara. You will be nothing short of dumbstruck to see the majestic grandeur of Laxmi Vilas Palace. Constructed in 1890 by Charles Mant, a British architect, for Maharaja Sayajirao III, this grand structure is about four times the size of the Buckingham Palace in England. Maharaja Sayajirao III was a true visionary and a pioneer in many ways. The ornate details and magnificence of the palace definitely speak to that effect! Don't forget to check out our detailed account of our palace visit HERE.