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Home >> Destination Guide India > Bhuj
 

DESTINATION GUIDE INDIA - BHUJ

ABOUT BHUJ CITY

The historic city of Bhuj derives its name from the Bhujiyo Dungar, a hill, overlooking the present day Bhuj town. Bhuj is a typical example of a desert town located between two geographical features- Bhujiyo Dungar on the east and Hamirsar Lake on the west. Bhuj was the capital of the former pricely State of Kutch till 1947 AD.

The Rajput rulers of Kutch came from Sindh or northern India in the late 15th century and settled at Bhuj. Rao Khengarji I chose the strategic location at the base of Bhujiyo Dungar and founded the city of Bhuj in 1548 AD.

The rulers of Kutch got exempted from paying tribute to the Mughal rulers in return for free passage to the Mecca pilgrims. The need for better security arose only after the decline of Mughal power at the center. In 1723 AD, Rao Godiji undertook the construction of massive fortification, with gates and bastions (11meter thick masonary wall), surrounding the whole town. The fort was equipped with 51guns to counter any attack from enemies.

The British took over the hill fort of Bhujiyo Dungar in 1819 AD and acted as peacemaker between the Kutch rulers and Bhayad Jagirdars. The treaty with the British resulted in peaceful period in the history of Kutch and the state became prosperous with surplus funds, enabling the rulers to undertake public and royal building projects.

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS  AND PLACES - BHUJ CITY

Aina Mahal (Old Palace)
Maharao Lakhpatji's old palace, built in traditional Kutchi style, is in a small fortified courtyard in the old part of the city. It's a beautifully presented museum and is one of the highlights of a visit to Bhuj. The entrance to the palace houses the tourist office, and this is also the site of the Maharao Madansinhji Museum, which has a varied collection of paintings, photos and embroideries. There's a 15m long scroll depicting the Royal Procession of Maharao Shri Pragmalji Bahadur (1838-75). Check out the expression on the last blue-turbaned figure in this epic painting he looks quite peeved at having to ignobly bring up the up the of the procession!

The real attraction here, though, is the Hall of Mirrors, created by the master artisan, Ram Singh Malam, under the patronage of his poet-ruler, Maharao Shri Lakhpatji around the middle of the 18th century.

Prag Mahal (New Palace)
Across the courtyard from the Aina Mahal is th
Prag Mahale new palace, an ornate Italianate marble and sandstone building which was constructed in the latter part of the l9th century. Parts of it are now used for government of it are but the vast and amazingly kitsch Durbar Hall and the clock tower are open to the public. High up on the walls of this unfurnished hall are portraits of past Maharaos, while down below is the usual mausoleum of big game driven to the verge of extinction by egotism and pompous pleasures.

Sharad Bagh Palace
The last maharao died in the UK in 1991 and his palace to the east of the lake has been turned into a small museum. Set in spacious and beautifully tended gardens, the palace itself, built in 1867, is of very modest proportions, with just a drawing room downstairs and bedroom upstairs (closed). The dining room is in a separate building and on display display here are a number of the maharao's personal possessions, including his video player. Also on display is his coffin, in which his body was brought back from the UK for cremation. The palace is open from 9 am to noon and 3 to 6 pm daily except Friday.

Kutch Museum
The Kutch Museum was originally known as the FergussKutch Museumon Museum after its founder, Sir James Fergusson, a governor of Mumbai under the Raj. Built in 1877, it's the oldest museum in Gujarat and has an excellent collection. The well maintained exhibits (labeled in English and Gujarati) include a picture gallery, an anthropological section, archaeological finds, textiles, weapons, musical instruments, a shipping section and, of course, stuffed beasts. The museum is open every day except Wednesday and the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month. 

Tunda Vandha
A unique Rabari village, it has about 125 exquisitely designed Kachchhi huts inhabited by about 400 Rabaris. Most of the male population is generally away from the village. The interiors of the huts present a pleasant spectacle of native art. A chat with the womenfolk will introduce visitors to this insulated and pristine culture, a world so different.

HOW TO REACH

Air :  Bhuj is connected by air with Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The Indian Airlines is on the New Station Road. Indian Airlines and Jet Airways have daily flights to Mumbai. Passenger aircrafts l and at the air force base 3 km north of the city limits.

By Train: Bhuj railway station is 1 km north of the city. A few trains pass through Bhuj and one has to go either to Palanpur (near Rajasthan border; 391 km) or to Gandhidham, which have good rail connections to important towns around this region.
 

By Road: One can also get state roadways buses as well as private buses. There is good bus service for Ahmedabad (7-hour trip) and to other towns in Gujarat and Rajasthan. There are regular buses for villages around Bhuj.

 
 
 

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