One of the two museums in the Sayaji Baug is the famous Vadodara Museum and Picture Gallery, built in 1894, one of the various buildings peppering the city that was commissioned by Sayajirao and designed by Mant and Chisholm (see following section on palaces). Sayajirao traveled widely and commissioned various dealers and scholars to find objects to build a wide-ranging collection with everything from Mughal miniatures, to sculptures, textiles and objects from Japan, Tibet, Nepal, and Egypt and coins from all over the world to exhibits of the Indian musical instruments. There are also exhibits on Earth Sciences, Natural History and Zoology. One of the highlights is the 22m long blue-whale skeleton found in 1972 at the mouth of the River Mahi, most likely washed up in a storm. The Ethnography section has exhibits about tribes from Gujarat: the Rabaris, Gamits, Bhils, Chaudhuris and Wagharis. The museum library has nearly 23,000 books and periodicals on a range of subjects, some of them extremely rare.
The Picture Gallery displays paintings by European masters, mostly from Sayajirao's private collection. There are also two wings on modern paintings.
This is a great place to learn from before traveling to other destinations, with displays such as sculptures removed from sites at Roda and Shamlaji in Eastern Gujarat, architectural fragments and pottery from Champaner, pieces from the carved ceiling in Sheikh Farid's tomb in Patan, glazed ceramics from Ahmedabad, and the unique patola saris from Patan, and a collection of bronze images of Jain tirthankars found at nearby Akota.
The museum is open from 10:30am-5pm. Entry for Indians: Rs. 10/-, for Foreigners: Rs. 200/-.
How to get there
By road: Vadodara, 112 km from Ahmedabad and 420 km from Mumbai, is located on National Highway 8. There are various state transport (ST) buses and private luxury coaches from all over Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, and Rajasthan. Ahmedabad-Vadodara intercity buses take 2 hours and run every 15 minutes. There are also several private bus companies on or near Station Road. Tickets vary according to the type of bus, but the average rate is Rs 100/- to Ahmedabad and Rs 200/- to Mumbai. You can also rent a car with a driver to explore the city and its surroundings at the Express Hotel. Rates range from Rs. 650/- without air-conditioning to Rs. 2200/- for luxury vehicles, for 8 hrs or 80 km per day.
By rail: Vadodara, a major railway junction is located on the Western Railway, which connects Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad.
By air: Vadodara is connected by various domestic airlines to Ahmedabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Daman, and Pune.