Art school in Baroda

BARODA ART

 

This lovely old building surrounded by trees and other luxuriant vegetation stands on the campus of the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Sayajirao University of Baroda (Vadodara).

Here is an excerpt about this place from my book “Travels through Gujarat, Daman, and Diu”:

In 1935 to celebrate the diamond anniversary of his reign, Maharajah Sayajirao III Gaekwad set aside huge funds, both the state’s and his own, to create a university in Baroda. The Faculty of Fine arts, set in park-like grounds with many trees, is a part of this. The campus contains several buildings. The most attractive of these is an almost octagonal building surrounded by deep verandas with wooden balustrades at both ground floor and first floor levels. This building, which contains some studios, was constructed in the 1930s. Other buildings on the campus are newer, having been built after the Fine Arts Faculty was founded in 1951.

One of the joys of art schools in India, and that in Baroda is no exception, is watching students creating artworks in the open air, and seeing their completed creations exhibited outside. Many of the works on display demonstrate the great technical skills and lively imaginations of their creators. We saw many youngsters sitting in the shade of the trees, at work in their sketchbooks. There were plenty of great sculptures in the gardens of the Baroda art school, but no one was working on them outside. Maybe, it was too warm.

 

Travels through Gujarat, Daman, and Diu” by Adam Yamey

is available from Amazon, Bookdepository.com, Lulu.com, and on Kindle

 

 

The maharajah’s garage

I am not sure that we would have discovered the collection of cars assembled by the maharajahs of Gondal had we not had a detailed guidebook to Gujarat. Maybe we might have learned about it by chance but being in possession of a guidebook made certain that we were aware of it.

book 3

Detailed guidebooks of Gujarat, written in English, are few and far between. During the planning and our actual trip, we made use of two books.

book 1

Philip Ward’s “Gujarat Daman Diu – A Travel Guide” was published in 1994. Like his excellent guidebook to Albania, Ward presents Gujarat and its associated former Portuguese colonies in the form of a detailed, informative travelogue. It is a book that is both designed to be read in an armchair and to be used ‘on the road’. However, it was written before the earthquake of 2001 and its practical information is out of date. Nevertheless, it is a useful book for those who are planning to explore Gujarat.

book 2

The “India Guide Gujarat” by Anjali Desai was published in 2007. This colourful production includes many maps, which help with orientation but lack detail and were occasionally inaccurate. It is a thorough guidebook with entries on most of the places that are worth visiting in Gujarat. We made much use of the Kindle version of this publication during most of our trip until we reached Baroda, where we managed to obtain a paperback version, which is far easier to use than the electronic edition. Even though it is a few years out of date, anyone planning to visit Gujarat should carry a copy of it.

book 6

During our two month odyssey through Gujarat, Daman, and Diu, we saw many of the things recommended by Desai, but also attractions that she does not mention either because they have been built since her book was published or because of our exploratory instincts. One place, which gets a two line mention in Ward and three lines in Desai, is the collection of vintage cars at Gondal.

book 7

The collection is in the grounds of one of the palaces built by a Maharajah of Gondal to house his guests but is now used as a hotel. In my recently published book about Gujarat, I wrote:

“The grounds of this palace contain a collection of vintage cars, which I was permitted to see after paying an immodest fee (by Indian standards). More than thirty cars are stored in a series of garages surrounding a courtyard. They range in age from a pre-1910 model to some built in 1997. They include vehicles ranging from racing cars to small vans. Many of them were made in the USA, but others were British, German, and French. All of them are in immaculate condition, and, I was informed, each one is still in perfect working order. In Bombay, we saw some of these cars taking part in a vintage car rally held in February 2018. All the cars are owned by the family of the Maharajahs of Gondal. Photographs on the walls of the garages record the former royal family’s involvement with motor racing.”

book 5

We visited Gondal because of reading about it in Desai’s book. She mentions the palaces as being worthy of a visit, but our curiosity led us to discover more, which is not included in her book. One of these places, which I describe in detail in my publication is a large Victorian Gothic school, which was founded by a forward-thinking maharajah. We were fortunate to meet its headmaster, who provided us with fascinating insights into the school system of Gujarat. If it were not for Desai’s book, we would not have stopped in Gondal. If we had been less adventurous, we would not have visited the venerable school.

book 4

I regard the listings in guidebooks as nuclei around which the fruits of our curiosity can crystallise. My travelogue about Gujarat, Daman, and Diu describes a journey initially based on recommendations from guidebooks. It shares with the reader the myriad of experiences and discoveries, many of which have not yet been described in guidebooks, that we enjoyed in a part of India less-visited by foreigners and Indians alike.  

 

ADAM YAMEY’s BOOK ABOUT

TRAVELS THROUGH GUJARAT, DAMAN, AND DIU

IS AVAILABLE

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