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Gaekwads share the spoils

On October 24, two branches of Baroda's erstwhile royal family came to an agreement on sharing Rs 20,000 crore worth of heritage. The author points out what went in whose kitty

Rutam Vora 

The sprawling Lakshmi Vilas Palace in Vadodara

To many it may have been an eyebrow-raising division of properties, but to the of Baroda, it's an exercise that has brought a "much-relieved feeling" after a 25-year-long family dispute. The disagreement was between Gaekwad, the son of the Baroda's last royal, the late Gaekwad, and his uncle Sangramsinh Gaekwad, the brother of Insiders say the main bone of contention was the Indumati Palace, located right opposite the splendorous Lakshmi Vilas Palace.

The Indumati Palace once had Ranjitsinh's private office as well the offices of the Rayon Company, owned by Sangramsinh. Because it was once used for pujas, particularly the Ganesh festival every year, family sources say that Indumati Palace had a sentimental value for the entire Gaekwad clan. Sayajirao Gaekwad and his successors built various landmark properties in and around Vadodara, including temples, palaces, colleges, courts, civic offices, et cetera. Besides, the also had properties in various parts of the country, including several in Mumbai. The total worth of these properties have been estimated to be worth Rs 20,000 crore. These have now been distributed between the two families.

Key properties given to Samarjitsinh's family

  • LAKSHMI VILAS PALACE, VADODARA

Location: Rajmahal Road, Vadodara
Built in: 1890s
Built by: Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III
Estimated cost of construction then: £180,000
Architect: Major Charles Mant

Speciality: Considered to be the largest private residence built in history and is four times the size of Buckingham Palace. The palace was a unique example in the classical era to have some most modern amenities like elevators, interiors and large halls and rooms. The Palace has a 'compound' with an area of 700 acres (55 acres of these have gone to Sangramsinh), having orchards, gardens, a golf course, museum and other classical structures like Moti Baug Palace. Presently being used by Ranjitsinh's family as residence.

Key properties given to Sangramsinh's family

  • INDUMATI PALACE

Location: Vadodara

Speciality: The palace was the key bone of contention between the two camps. The palace, which was used for worship and puja, was occupied by the late Gaekwad, who had an office on its first floor. The palace's ground floor themed into the office of Rayon company, which is owned by Ranjitsinh's brother Sangramsinh Gaekwad. This caused a tug of war over the property.

* NAZARBAUGH PALACE

Location: Vadodara
Built in: 1871
Built by: Malhar Rao Gaekwad

Speciality: The used this white-stucco palace for ceremonial events and celebrations.Currently, it is not in use.

Temple trusts run by the erstwhile royal family

  • THE KHANDERAO TEMPLE
  • THE SIDDHANATH MAHADEV TEMPLE
  • KALABHUVAN AND EXHIBITION GROUND

Location: Vadodara
Built in: 1890
Built by: Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III

Speciality: The palatial building was a temporary residence of the Maharaja of while his palace was under construction. It is located opposite Lakshmi Vilas Palace. Later, the Maharaja donated the palace for the setting up of an engineering school, the Kalabhuvan Technical Institute.

First Published: Fri, November 01 2013. 21:47 IST
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