Day 1: Day 2:
Before going to USA to participate in the Chicago Parliament of Religions, Swami Vivekananda had travelled all over India as a Parivrajaka for about three years, out of which perhaps the longest period was spent in Gujarat. After visiting Ahmedabad, Limbdi, Junagadh, Dwarka, Somnath, Jamnagar, Porbandar, Bhuj, Narayan Sarovar, Bhavnagar, Palitana, Nadiad and other places he finally came to Vadodara in April 1892 and stayed as a guest of Shri Manilal J., the Dewan of Vadodara who was then staying in Dilaram Bungalow. He was a man of piety and great character and was an intimate friend of Shri Haridas Viharidas Desai, Dewan of Junagadh who was very close to Swami Vivekananda. During his stay at Vadodara, Swami Vivekananda spent some time with Shri Manilal J., Dewan of Vadodara in discussing about the educational system of the state.
He also saw the library and the pictures by Ravi Varma in the Laxmivilas Palace and then left for Mumbai, probably on 26th April 1892 he wrote a letter to Diwanji Saheb, (Shri Haridas Viharidas Desai) , Curiously enough, there is no mention about Swamiji's meeting with Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad in the above letter. Swamiji had told Prince Martand Varma at Trivandrum that of all the ruling price he had met, he had been most impressed with the capacity, patriotism, energy and foresight of H.H. the Gaekwad of Baroda. Swamiji was also perhaps impressed with the Maharani of Baroda because he wrote on 17.02.1901 to Miss Macleod from Belur Math, "I hope you will go to Baroda and see the Maharani". However, the state records reveal the Maharaja was not in Baroda at that time, but had gone to a place called Lonavali.
In all probability, Swamiji met him while he was in Mahabalweshwar or Poona. After his return from the West, Swamiji wanted to visit Vadodara and meet the Maharaja but it did not materialize.It is a matter of great joy that the historic Dilaram Bungalow, sanctified by the stay of Swami Vivekananda in 1892 has been handed over by the Government of Gujarat to the Ramakrishna Mission on 30 years' lease at a token rent of Re.1/- for converting it into a benefiting Memorial of Swami Vivekananda. A new branch centre of Ramakrishna Mission has also been started there. At present there are more than 150 branches of Ramakrishna Math & Mission spread all over the world out of which three centres are in Gujarat, Rajkot, Limbdi and Porbandar. Now the fourth one has been started at Vadodara. Many educational, medical and welfare activities will be undertaken through this branch centre, keeping in view the message of Swami Vivekananda of worshipping the divine in human beings. Thus a long cherished dream of numerous devotees and friends has been fulfilled.