A tour to Vadodara will be a very pleasant and welcoming change from the hard-core commercial ambience of Ahmedabad. Vadodara is a very charming city in Gujarat and takes pride in reflecting the elements of the legacy of Maharajah Sayaji Rao III who was a dynamic ruler and a great city planner. After him numerous rulers succeeded the throne and created landmarks in history in the form of palaces, lakes and parks which not only kept alive the glory of the royal past but also added attractive urban centers in the area. This melting pot of people from different cultures appeals tourists to its essential catholic feel, contemporary look and cosmopolitan culture. Truly speaking everything about Vadodara is very fascinating. However, it is just not the tourist attractions that pull the attention of the travelers but the intriguing history of Vadodara too that cast an indelible spell on the visitors.
The Vadodara history can be traced back to more than 2000 years. It was under the rule of Babi Nawabs before Gaekwars took over the charge. The Babi Nawabs were the officers of the Delhi rulers. However with the end of the Mughal rule in 1732, the Maratha activities were introduced in Southern Gujarat by the Pilaji Rao Gaekwar to head the town.
On flipping through the pages of the history of Vadodara you will also come to know that the city was under the reign of the Gaekwads from 1734 to 1948 for a period of short time. The most important period of Baroda or Vadodara is marked by the Maratha rule especially when Maharaja Sayaji- Rao III in 1875 ascended the throne to power.
The historical background of Vadodara reveals that it was during the rule of Maharaja Sayaji- Rao III that fantastic progress and constructive achievements in all fields were made. Eventually, it was added in the Bombay State in May 1948 and became part of the Gujarat State on 1st May 1960. Also, in the valuable records of the history of Vadodara it is found that once the city was called Chandanavati. This name was derived after its ruler namely Raja Chandan of Dor tribe of Rajputs who captured it from the Jains. This city was also called "Virakshetra" or "Virawati" which means a land of warriors. Other interesting fact that can be located in the Vadodara history is that Vadodara was also known as Vadpatraka or Wadodará which is a form of the Sanskrit word 'Vatodar' meaning 'in the heart of the banyan tree'.
In Vadodara history many changes have been implemented as per the name of the city is concerned so it is almost difficult to ascertain the exact time of the changes. However it is found that the present name Baroda is derived from the name Brodera coined by the early English travelers and merchants. Nevertheless, this name was again changed to Vadodara in 1974.