Vadodara is believed to be a city where you would prefer to stay after your retirement from work; leading a quiet and de-stressed life. Compare it with Ahmedabad and Surat and I would prefer Vadodara any day. The royal heritage of the city has added to its charm and the mixed culture that it so wonderfully represents is its hallmark. Vadodara is the hub of education and art and thousands of students from different parts of the country come and study in its University every year, which offers a wide variety of courses on a very nominal fees. It has everything that makes a city complete...heritage, architecture, culture, vibrancy etc.
What I like in Vadodara is also that it is quite unique and distinct from the other small towns in the country. It is not drab and dull. It is quite happening, especially during Uttarayan and Navratri which I bet are not celebrated the way they are in Vadodara, in any other part of Gujarat. The city leads a very relaxed and smooth life wherby there is no sense of urgency and pace. Things progress in their own manner. Another good thing about the city is that distances are quite reachable and so you save a lot on travelling time, unlike metro towns where half of your day can be consumed in just reaching your destination.
Of course there are disadvantages from the perspective of modern life-style like lack of industry and job opportunities and that it is not the city which you would want to make your home-town if you want progress. But still I would bet on it anyday...as the city where I have spent my childhood, gained my education and where I am also about to begin a new chapter in my life...it has been witness to my life...I love Vadodara/Baroda. :)