Vadodara formerly known as Baroda is the third-largest city in the Western Indian State of Gujarat, after Ahmedabad and Surat. The city is known for the Lakshmi Vilas Palace, the residence of Baroda State’s Maratha royal family, the Gaekwads. The palace is a grand luxurious marvel and is a must see on every itinerary. It is also the home of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, the largest university in Gujarat. An important industrial, cultural and educational hub of western India, the city houses several institutions of national and regional importance while its major industries include petrochemicals, engineering, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, plastics, IT and foreign exchange services.
Around 50 kms from Vadodara is a Hindu pilgrimage site of Pavagadh of much religious significance. Most of the Hindus in India have faith in goddess Mahakali, particularly from the western region covering the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan & Maharashtra. The famous and the oldest temple of Mahakali is situated here at Pavagadh. This temple is among the three main Shaktipeeths in Gujarat. It has been said in Hindu Shastras that after the famous Tandava dance of Lord Shiva, the various parts of the body of Sati fell at many places. These places are called Shaktipeeths. It is said that the left breast of the Sati had fallen here at Pavagadh. As the name suggests, the temple is located on a mountain, near to the Champaner town. Champaner town also is a site worth visiting for its archeological marvels. Champaner is today the site of the Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, which UNESCO designated a World Heritage Site in 2004.