The Princely state of Baroda was ruled
from 1721 to 1949 by the Gaekwads of Maratha Confederacy. The genesis of ‘Gaekwad’ can be traced from ‘gaikwar’, meaning cowherd. Archaeological findings have been unearthed from an area in Baroda, earlier called Ankottaka in the 5th
and 6th century which was a popular center of Jainism. It was located on the banks of Vishvamitri. At the time of state re-organization after independence, Baroda became a part of the Union of India on
1st May 1949.
Term ‘Baroda’ or native name ‘Vadodara’ traces roots in Sanskrit which can be understood by dividing it into Vat means Banyan tree and Oodara means stomach. In some references, Vatodara is also defined as ‘heart of Banyan tree’. Guajarati poet, Premanand Bhatt mentioned other names of Baroda such as Virakshetra or Virawati, which means land of warriors. Early English travelers and merchants mentioned Brodera from which Baroda name was derived. It was stretched over large territory, across present day Gujarat. It was divided into four prants- Kadi, Baroda, Navsari and Amreli. Also coastal areas such as Okhamadal and Kodinar were a part of the Baroda princely state.