Vadodara (વડોદરા), formerly known as Baroda, is the third largest and most populated city in the Indian State of Gujarat, after Ahmedabad and Surat. During the days of the British Raj, Baroda state was a Maratha Princely state ruled by the royal Gaekwad dynasty, entitled to 21 Gun Salute's, and was one of the largest and richest Indian Princely states. 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 (whose name is derived from the great saint Rishi Vishwamitra). 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. 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 Wadodará, which according to tradition is a corrupt form of the Sanskrit word Vatodar means '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.

Vadodara is one of four cities in the state with a population of over 1 million. It is also known as the Sayaji Nagari (Sayaji's City after its famous Maratha ruler, Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III) or Sanskari Nagari (The City of Culture, a reference to its status as the Cultural Capital of Gujarat). Vadodara or Baroda, formerly the capital city of the Gaekwar State, is situated on the banks of the Vishwamitri, a river whose name derived from the great saint Rishi Vishwamitra. It is located southeast of Ahmedabad, 139 km from state capital, Gandhinagar. It is the administrative headquarters of Vadodara District. Both the railway line and national highway connecting Delhi and Mumbai, passes through Vadodara.

Vadodara is home to almost 1.6 million people (as of 2005), the beautiful Lakshmi Vilas Palace and the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (M.S.U.) which is the largest university in Gujarat. Its famous for the Science, Fine Arts, Performing Arts, Technology, Management, Psychology, Social Work, Law and Medicine streams. It has a high literacy rate by Indian standards of 78% (2001). Major industries include petrochemicals, engineering, pharmaceuticals, plastics and Forex. Famous companies such as ABB, Reliance Industries, Schneider Electric, Larsen and Toubro, Collabera, DuPont, Bombardier, ERDA, General Motors, IPCL, ONGC, Sun Pharmaceuticals, GSFC, Alembic, Apollo Tyres, CEAT Limited, Suzlon, Kemrock, GACL, JCT Electronics and Eclipsys all have a strong presence in this city, also it has presence of IT multi-national companies.

Read more about Vadodara:  History, Geography, Climate, Industry and Commerce, Civic Administration, Transport, Demographics, Culture, Education, Sports, Media, Places of Interest

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