Archive for June, 2010
I was in Baroda recently, I just couldnt help but notice how similar this city is to our very own Mysuru ! with so many connections it could just surprise you !!
Sayaji Rao Road, the main thoroughfare in Mysore is named after the Maharaja of Baroda, Sayaji Rao Gaekwad, The legendary Maharaja is said to have been adopted by the Royal family. The story goes that as a young boy he was asked by the queen as to why he was called to the Palace and the boy grandly announced with confidence , ‘I have come here to rule !!’ Mighty impressed he was appointed the heir apparent. He did a greatly reformed the kingdom of Baroda. When Dr BR Ambedkar did not have the money to study further, It was this Maharaja who sponsored his education in Britain of this brilliant student from the backward classes of the society which was unthinkable back then, Who would later on go on to write our constitution ! In a smiliar fashion it was the Mahraja of Mysore, Chamarajendra Wodeyer who would partly sponsor the trip of Swami Vivekananda to America to attend the first international religion parliament in Chicago in 1893, where he gave his famous speech on Hindu Religion which is still remembered to this day ! Infact one the main thoroughfares in Baroda was named after Chamarajendra Wodeyar which is now popularly known as Palace Road ! Chamarajendra Wodeyar was an adopted Maharaja too !! And as per one of the stories on the origins of the Wodeyar Dynasty, The very first King Yaduraya is said to have come from Dwarka in Gujarat.
Ramchandra Guha, the famous historian says, Most Maharajas of India were useless expect for two of them, Maharaja Sayaji Rao Gaekwad of Baroda and Majaraja Krishna Raja Wodeyar IV of Mysore for their great contribution to their respective Kingdoms !
Raja Ravi Verma
The famous Fateh Singh Museum of Baroda boasts of good collections of painting of Raja Ravi Verma’s painting, And it sure is a very good collection indeed. It was this famous painter who introduced water colours to India and some of his great works adorn the walls here and his studio was set up right next to the Museum, which is now in shambles. But this Museum is surely one of the best kept ones in India with a great collection of painting and sculptures from across the globe. The Jagan Mohan Art Gallery in Mysore too has some priceless collection of Raja Ravi Verma and the other place which has a significant Raja Ravi Verma collection is the Sree Chitra Art Gallery in Trivandrum. They say time stops when one begins to admire Raja Ravi Verma’s paintings. This gifted artist with the strokes of his paint brushes created magic more than a 100 years back and even today it looks as if its brand new ! One needs to see it to believe it and be sure you’ll be drawn in.
Ustad Faiyaz Khan, the court musician of the Baroda Kingdom was an exponent in Hindustani classical music. In 1908, a grand competition was arranged in Mysore where he sang so splendidly that he eventually won the top spot for which the Maharaja of Mysore awarded him the title “Aftab-e-Mousiqui.” meaning the ‘the sun of music’. Veene Sheshanna,the famous veene mastter in the Royal Court of Mysore when on a visit to Boroda, It is said that the Gayakwad Maharaja was so pleased with his recital that he took a procession of Veene Sheshanna in a palanquin in the city of Baroda.
In the heart of Baroda you have a bustling and colourful marketplace called the Khande Rao Market, In an old stately building selling fresh flowers, colour and vegetables, Built by Maharja Sayaji Rao in 1906 to commemorate the silver jubliee celebration of his rule and gifted it to the Baroda Muncipality. Its resemblance to our very own and vibrant century old Devaraja is striking.
You even find quite a few clock towers in Baroda just like how you find them in Mysore, Generously erected in the city by the Royalty back then for the benefit of their subjects. You find a very promineint one very close to the Baroda city Railway Station.
The stately Laxmi Vilas Palace sits pretty in the heart of the City. Intricately carved this majestic structure has more than 3000 beautiful stained glass windows, The highest used in any structure all imported from Belgium. The architect of the Laxmi Vilas Palace was a Englishman named Major Charles Mant who committed suicide in the 1890s for fear he had got his calculations wrong and that the palace would fall down !! How said because it still stands strong even today !! Unfortunately this Palace is very poorly maintained which is still the private property of the Royal family of Baroda ! Infact the central Arch of the Amba Vilas Palace in Mysore is modeled after the Laxmi Vilas Palace !
You also have a Oriental Library in Boroda which was inspired from the Oriental Research Library in Mysore which in Mysore is housed a grand structure which was built in 1887, to commemorate the jubilee year of Queen Victoria reign.
The century old central library is Baroda is sure not a place to be missed with some great collection of rare books,the entire flooring is made of Belgium glass and when you walk on it in the first and second floors, it sure makes you jittery The central Library of Mysore might not be housed in similar setting but set up in the Chamarajendra Technical Institute building, once up on a time it sure was a treasure for book lovers !
Baroda is house to the famous Maharaja Sayaji Rao University,Initially started off as Baroda collage and later on acquired the status of a University ! The Mysore University set up in 1916 was the first among the Princely States in India, For which Krishna Raja Wodeyar IV sent study teams to great universities around the world to come up with what is the best model for Mysore. Both are housed in beautiful Heritage Buildings !
One could go on with more such familiar sites in Boroda like the imposing Nyay Mandir, the Law Courts, The old city and its town planning, The beautiful man made lakes. Sprawing gardens, Crickets grounds and lush green golf courses so much like how it is in Mysore ! Infact a popular sweet in Baroda is called Maisur,which is also made from gram flour !
Like they say, in the Tale of town cities there are so many many stories that are common ! and it all stands out pretty for us to notice and compare. And as this lady from Baroda now settled in Bangalore put it, Yes Baroda and Mysore are so similar, its just that Mysore is a little more classier. Couldn’t agree with her more !