Lakshmi Vilas Palace is an amazing building of the Indo-Saracenic school which was constructed by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III in 1890. Major Charles Mant was the designer.
Made in the nineteenth century this is the largest building of that era and is actually four times the size of Buckingham Palace. During construction, it had all the modern facilities such as elevators and the internal is evocative of a huge European country house. It remains the dwelling of the Royal Family, who continues to be held in high regard by the inhabitants of Baroda.
It has a beautifully decorated Darbar Hall, which is occasionally the venue of music shows and other intellectual events. The hall also has a Venetian medley floor, a Belgium stained glass windows, and walls with convoluted mosaic decorations. an Italianate courtyard of water fountains is present outside the Darbar hall. The palace has a great collection of old armory and monuments in bronze, marble, and terracotta by Fellici. William Goldring, a specialist from Kew Gardens landscaped the garden. The palace is open to the public and an audio tour is present.
The compound of the palace is of 700 acres and has a number of buildings mainly the Moti Baug Palace and the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum building. Adjoining to the Motibaug Palace and the Museum is the Moti Bagh Cricket Ground, the workplace of the Baroda Cricket Association, and a rare interior teak floored tennis court and badminton court. It also comprises of two clay tennis courts plus a deserted fives court.
The building of Museum was constructed for the school of Maharaja's children, Now, this Museum has the display of artwork of the members of the royal family. Among it, the best is the wonderful paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, who was specially commissioned by the then Maharaja of Baroda. The collection has sketches of the Royal family in addition to the paintings which are present of the Hindu mythology.
To take the children to Lakshmi Vilas Palace back from school, a mini railway line was constructed. The train engine was recently renovated by Ranjitsinh Gaekwad who was the present Maharaja and this is available at the entrance to the Museum. A small zoo is also available wherein the pond you can spot crocodiles.
In the 1930s Maharaja Pratap Singh made a golf course for his European guests. In the 1990s Pratap Singh's grandson Samarjit Singh who was the Ranji trophy cricket player modernized the course and made it open to the public. The Motibaug Palace is now the clubhouse which has a swimming pool designed by the famous designer Karan Grover. You can even spot Langoors and Peacocks around the palace. The present management of the club uses the old British spelling Lakshmi Vilas Palace in spite of the better known Lakshmi Vilas Palace.