The Lakshmi Vilas Palace in Vadodara is now open for private ceremonies,wedding receptions and business seminars. The decision to inaugurate the new venture,Lakshmi Vilas Banquets,was made on Dussehra on Sunday. Insiders say that it is a step aimed at promoting the palace into a heritage hotel.
The palace is now ready to take bookings for the upcoming wedding season. A total of six palace halls are being readied for the new banquets.
According to palace insiders,two of the halls are in the Ladies Durbar Hall wing,which has recently been renovated.
It was the residence and office of the former Maharani of Vadodara,Maharani Padmavati Devi Sahib Gaekwad,the only daughter of the legendary Maharaja of Jodhpur,Maharaja Umaid Singh. The first floor of the wing was the office of Maharani Padmavati Devi,who married the former Maharaja Fatehsinhrao Gaekwad in 1949.
The wing housed by this Princess of Mewar,adjoining the old palace kitchen,will now be rented out for wedding receptions and private parties.
An insider says,The hoardings announcing the opening of the palace banquets will soon be common across the city as the present Maharaja,Samarjitsinh Gaekwad,has decided to take the venture forward in a big way. This is also the foundation to publicise the hospitality at Lakshmi Vilas and setting base for the heritage hotel that is to come up soon.
Insiders say that the palace is also trying to reach out to patrons via the Internet by creating a hospitality page on their official website in order to take bookings over email. The Laksmi Vilas Palace was constructed in 1890 by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad for 1.8 billion pounds. Samarjitsinh Gaekwad was unavailable for comment.