Vadodara, formerly Baroda, is the third most-populated city in the Indian state of Gujarat after Ahmedabad and Surat. It is one of four cities in the state with a population of over 1 million, the other being Rajkot and the two cities listed above, although it has a massive population of over 3 million. During the days of the British Raj, Baroda state was a Maratha Princely state ruled by the royal Gaekwad dynasty, entitled to 21 Gun Salute's, and was one of the largest and richest Indian Princely states. Vadodara or Baroda, formerly the capital city of the Gaekwar State, is situated on the banks of the Vishwamitri, a river whose name derived from the great saint Rishi Vishwamitra. It is also known as the Sayaji Nagari (Sayaji's City after its famous ruler, Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III) or Sanskari Nagari (The City of Culture, a reference to its status as the Cultural Capital of Gujarat). It is located southeast of Ahmedabad. It is the administrative headquarters of Vadodara District.
Vadodara is home to almost 1.6 million people. (as of 2005), the beautiful Lakshmi Vilas Palace and the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (M.S.U.) which is famous for various departments, including the Fine Arts, Performing Arts, Technology, Management, Psychology, Social Work and Medicine streams. It has a high literacy rate by Indian standards of 78% (2001). Major industries include petrochemicals, engineering, pharmaceuticals,plastics and Forex.Famous companies such as Reliance Industries, Larsen and Toubro, IPCL, ONGC, Sun Pharmaceuticals and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation all have a strong presence in this city.