India has a rich history with many maharajas, maharanis and palaces to boast about. They may not be ruling as they did before but royalty is royalty and when it comes to their attires, most weddings and designer ensembles are inspired by them. Some of the existing maharanis are still given the utmost importance in modern times. One such maharani is Radhika Raje, the queen of Baroda, Gujarat who is married to Maharaja Simarjit Singh Rao Gaekwad. She has also been declared as the most beautiful woman of the Indian Kingdom Dynasty by Forbes magazine besides being featured as the “Modern Maharani” in the Millionaireasia magazine.

The daughter of Maharajkumar Dr. Ranjitsinhji of Wankaner, Radhika Raje got married to the maharaja in 2002. Born in royalty and married to a royal, the maharani’s family tree is immersed in history. She has a Masters degree in Indian History and before she married the Maharaja, she worked as a journalist for leading magazines and dailies.

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Right now, the Maharani looks after the digitalisation of the assets of the palace. According to sources, she is a connoisseur of traditional fashion too. She likes to keep it minimal yet elegant. 

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Image courtesy: YouAndI

The Gaekwads: The Lakshmi Vilas Palace

The royal family stays in the grand Lakshmi Vilas Palace which is located in the middle of now Vadodara, Gujarat. It boasts of the Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture which was built by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III in 1890.  It took around 12 years to complete its construction. The architect of the palace was Major Charles Mant, who hung himself before the palace could be completed. He had thought the palace would collapse based on his calculations. However, the Lakshmi Vilas Palace is now 142 years old.

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Four times bigger than London’s Buckingham Palace, the Lakshmi Vilas Palace is spread across 500 acres with 176 rooms. It is said to be amongst the largest palaces built to date.  

Constructed using different materials brought in from different places, the palace is a treat to the eyes. Its marble was brought in from Rajasthan and Italy, the red sandstone came from Agra and the blue trap stone are from Pune. The clock tower is 300 feet in height. However, the bell has never been used. 

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The lavish palace is said to have a number of stained glasses that could be more than any palace in the world. It also has the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum.

Whenever the king is in residence, a red light is switched on and this is a practice that has been followed since Day 1 until today. 

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Maharaja Simarjit Singh Gaekwad

He is the current head of the Hindu Maratha dynasty Gaekwad. Interestingly, he was a former first-class cricketer and is now a cricket administrator. He also has a cricket academy in the Moti Bagh Stadium. Maharaja Simarjit Singh Gaekwad also plays golf at the 10-hole golf course in the Lakshmi Vilas Palace compound.

The palace is open to tourists for Rs 150 as entry fee and to visit the museum, tourists have to pay an additional amount of Rs 60.

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