A new veterinary hospital opens in Bengaluru; it is managed by a descendant from the royal family of Baroda
There’s a new veterinary hospital in town owned by a member of the royal family of Baroda, Pratapsinh Gaekwad, who tells CE how he’s followed the footsteps of his uncle, the last king of Baroda
It’s no doubt that Bengaluru is known for being a pet-loving city. But in time of need, you may not find many veterinary hospitals that are open 24/7. That’s why Pratapsinh Gaekwad, a member of the royal family of Baroda, started Crown Vet in Koramangala in February 2022. While Gaekwad has always been part of a manufacturing business, it’s the first time he’s looking into a client service business.
Crown Vet started in 2016 in Mumbai and is now open in Delhi, Bengaluru and the latest is in Hyderabad. He’s always been companionable towards animals. Perhaps this is something he learnt from his uncle Maharaja Fatehsinhrao Gaekwad, the last recognised king of Baroda. Recalling the time with his uncle, Gaekwad says, “My father’s brother, the maharaja whom I fondly called Mothe Kaka, did not have any children, so he was really close to me (and my sister). He was a true animal lover and in fact, he’s a world-famous wildlife conservationist. He would return from different parts of the country, sometimes bringing back animals with him.”
Waiting for his uncle’s adventurous trips was one of Gaekwad’s favourite activities. “Mothe Kaka always had stories to share from his rescue trips – where he went, how his rescue missions went, the people he met and so on. Sometimes he’d even bring back alligators from his journeys. In fact, his office in Mumbai had turtles being bred and at some point, we also had a zoo,” he recalls.
Probably that’s why investing in the veterinary space came naturally to him. “As a family, we’ve been in the manufacturing field and also real estate. But starting a veterinary space was new to us and had its own challenges. The first one we opened in Mumbai was a 4,500 sq ft facility and we soon learnt that it was just too much space. We were more careful in understanding what space works for which area, how many doctors we’d need, the training they’d required and worked together to make the new few hospitals have the right facilities,” he explains.
Growing up, summer vacations were spent in Indumati Mahal, which is currently used as the administrative office in Baroda to manage the properties and activities in Baroda and Gujarat. But he never thought of himself as “royal” during his growing years. “I grew up like everyone else,” he says.
Now, living in Mumbai, with his wife, two-year-old daughter and three-month-old son, Gaekwad has his hands full. “I was in Bengaluru during the launch of the hospital. I visit quite often to make sure that I stay connected with the doctors and to ensure that everything is running smoothly,” he says, adding that he hopes to open more veterinary clinics in the country.