An inconspicuous gateway lies along the main road in a quiet part of Vadodara city. A simple sign in Hindi, has ‘Madhav Bagh’ inscribed in the marble panel of the gate post.
I step onto the short driveway, oblivious of what treasure lies at the other end. Trees flank my path as I make my way through the branches that arch in welcome over my head and then I gasp with surprise as the red and white mansion suddenly looms large amongst the dense green foliage, like a light at the end of a tunnel.
I stand there spellbound for a while, trying to take in the glorious view of the majestic sight that lies before me.
I have entered the environs of the Madhav Bagh – Royal Heritage Stay and I feel a sense of great delight and excitement at the history that lies in wait for me within its bright exterior.
Madhav Bagh is a luxury stay in the heart of vibrant Vadodara in Gujarat, India. Its stunning architecture and decor, coupled with the warmth and hospitality of the hosts Shivrajsinh Gaekwad, his wife Indrayanidevi Gaekwad, make it a homestay with a difference. It offers the discerning visitor a rare chance to experience old world charm subtly infused with modern comforts.
About Madhav Bagh – Royal Heritage Stay –
Built in 1896, around 123 years ago, this was the home of Madhavrao Gaekwad, who was the cousin of Maharaja Sayyaji Rao Gaekwad III of the Gaekwad dynasty of the Marathas, who ruled Baroda from 1875 to 1939.
6 generations have since occupied this residence which is currently the home of Shivrajsinh Gaekwad, his wife Indrayanidevi and their college going daughter Riddhi and son Divyanshu.
A portion of the ground floor has been renovated and converted into a heritage stay. The family occupies the first floor.
An overview of the home stay -
Originally sprawling over 35 acres of land, the present premises have been whittled down over the years to 2 acres, within which the quarter acre built up structure stands.
An antique cast iron fountain painted white, gurgles in welcome at the entrance.
The main attraction of the fountain is the serendipitous reflection that the mansion renders in its water.
The architecture of the mansion is Indo Saracenic, as was the norm in those regions at that time and the facade is an effortless sweep of styles from left to right, that encompass Hindu temples, Rajput jharokas, European churches and Islamic minarets.
A vast garden encompasses the mansion and is a riot of flowers and trees.
The Home –
The house is built in traditional Hindu style with a central sunken courtyard that is connected to the entrance via a little passage.
With a tiny marble fountain at the center, this square is surrounded by the new refurbished rooms on 3 sides and the old section on the fourth.
What can I say about the rooms? From the Kohl lined eyes of the Raja Ravi Varma painting prints in the bedroom to the Kohler fittings in the bath, the rooms are a Kaleidoscope or should I say Kohl’eidoscope of a Kohl’lection of the antique and the modern, (much like the old and new sides of the home itself), creating a seamless melange of comfort, luxury and aesthetics.
Heirloom furniture, restored artefacts, ancient dressing tables, old wooden beds, colorful wooden clad high ceilings, arches, colored glass ventilators, stencilled art, framed Ravi Varma prints, a flat screen TV, a non alcoholic mini bar and other such objects, create an exciting and vivid tapestry that one can never tire of luxuriating within.
There are 4 designer rooms, each one distinct from the other. These gems of rooms are aptly named after precious stones, in accordance with their color scheme. Thus they have the Ruby, Turquoise, Sapphire and Coral.
Dining options –
The charm of a home stay is that one can get to savor the local and traditional home made delicacies of their hosts. The cuisine at Madhav Bagh ranges from typical Maharashtrian to generic Indian and Continental.
Things to do –
The residence does not provide any games or equipment by way of activity but the one can pass time within the property by reading books from the mini library, spending time in the garden just relaxing or chasing birds and butterflies like I did ???? or just gazing at the fountain both outside and in the courtyard.
However, for those who want to go sightseeing, Vadodara and its surroundings (in a 100 km radius) has a host of options ranging from child friendly activities, to adventurous treks, to religious sites, to monuments and museums and even the recently unveiled Statue of Unity.
The hosts at Madhav Bagh are excellent at planning itineraries and are well connected to the best of guides and historians. They can curate an excellent package based on one’s preferences.
Best time to visit –
Vadodara has harsh summers from April to July where temperatures touch even 48 deg c. July to end September is the rainy season, less hot than summer but stiflingly humid nevertheless. November to February is considered the best season to visit, with October and March on the fringe of pleasant weather.
Getting there –
Madhav Bagh is in the heart of Vadodara which is an important city in Gujarat. Hence it is well connected by all modes of transport like air, road and rail.
Booking and contact –
You can contact them directly or through various portals like booking.com, Make my trip, etc
This post was originally published on Currylines
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