Vice President, Maharani Chimnabai Stree Udyogalaya
Trustee, Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum
Director, CDS Art Foundation
Fellow, Aspen Global Leadership Network
A Masters in medieval Indian history, Radhikaraje worked as a journalist with Indian Express, New Delhi prior to moving to Vadodara. Married into the royal Gaekwad family, she is now actively involved in running one of the largest private residences in the world along with family trusts such as the Maharani Chimnabai Stree Udyogalaya, imparting vocational training to lower income women and the Maharaja Fatehsingh Museum Trust, housing some of the most acclaimed works of Raja Ravi Varma amongst others. She is also patron of the Heritage Trust, an independent organisation instrumental in bringing the monumental complex of Champaner on the World Heritage Sites list and is actively involved in preventing the city’s heritage structures from being obliterated. Radhikaraje is currently also working on the documentation of the Lukshmi Vilas Palace and it’s priceless possessions.
Radhikaraje has been researching and archiving the rich history and culture of royal india and has presented her research on the famed Gaekwad jewels, royal culture, textiles and customs on prestigious international platforms such as Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Saffronart and Robb Report and India Today Conclave and the Jaipur Literary Festival.
She is also reviving the lost old weaving techniques of Chanderi and Baroda Shalu- an intrinsic aspect of royal Maratha sartorial traditions. Her revived textiles have been displayed in the most hallowed museum of India -National Museum, New Delhi and other international museums around the world.
Radhikaraje is director of CDS Art Foundation, Ahmedabad, where she works in aligning artisans with designers and bridging gaps with the end consumer. She has also been jury member on several global platforms including the International Crafts Awards.
To raise awareness and funds for her charities, Radhikaraje organises the Lukshmi Vilas Palace Heritage Garba, a nine day traditional dance festival. The event hosts a congregation of almost 40,000 people everyday and was even conferred the Best Garba of Vadodara award in 2019. It is also the only inclusive garba in the world, involving a large number of eunuchs and members of the LGBTQA as dancers and volunteers.
Through the Covid 19 pandemic, Radhikaraje alongside her sister has been able to reach out and aid over 700 artisanal families in Orissa. For this she has also been conferred the HDFC Bank Philanthropist award. She has also provided dry rations to over 200 transgenders as well as 400 needy families in Vadodara through her charitable Trusts. Along with initiating UPSC and GPSC coaching for urban poor girls she has initiated the Pink line project where women are trained as drivers for school and domestic transportation to reduce instance of sexual and physical violence. She also does skill building for transgenders.
Radhikaraje through the Maharani Chimnabai Stree Udyogalaya Trust organises a uniquely curated and hugely successful artisanal fair called Urja, giving our neglected craftsperson a safe and dignified outlet to interact with the urbane and sell their blocked stock.
She has been instrumental in bringing collaborations with foundations and designers to Baroda such as Santati- Then. Now. Next, a one of a kind jamdani textile experiment where India’s most well recognised artist Raja Ravi Varma’s works have been woven on khadi.
In addition she hosted along with her his Maharaja Samarjitsinh Gaekwad the Consours De Elegance International vintage car exposition in the Lukshmi Vilas Palace estate.
In memory of her father in law, Late Maharaja Ranjitsinh Gaekwad, an artist, musician and patron, Radhikaraje has initiated the Maharaja Ranjitsinh Gaekwad Festival of Arts, a two day celebration of Indian culture that brings to the city the finest caliber of Hindustan classical vocal and instrumental music along with a fine display of art.
Radhikaraje has also been conferred the prestigious Aspen Global Leadership Fellowship. She has also been recognised as one of ‘India’s Top 50 Women in Indian Luxury’ by LuxeBook and been bestowed the Social Entrepreneurship, Heritage Revivalist, etc awards amongst others by several prestigious bodies and publications.
She continues her love for writing by regularly contributing to leading dailies and magazines.
Radhikaraje is an avid traveler, visiting over 50 countries for wildlife, history and wine! She is perhaps one of the only Indian women to take the polar dip in Antarctica!