Known as the Jaisalmer of Gujarat, Bhuj is the most important city in the Kutch region of Gujarat. The city was ravaged in the earthquake of 2001 which left a huge area destroyed and in shambles. Bhuj was the capital of the former princely state of Kutch.
The city gets its name from the Bhujiyo Dungar hillock that overlooks the city about 3 km from the city centre. The city is spread around the fortified hill that has the Bhujiya Fort atop the Bhujiyo Dungar hill.
The city is a maze of alleys. Fine examples of Gujarati architecture can be found in the form of houses and temples. The city of Bhuj is a paradise for tourists who are interested in purchasing handicrafts especially embroidered textiles.
The major attractions in Bhuj are the Aina Mahal, bell tower in Prag Mahal, Kshtrapa inscriptions in the Kutch museum, which is believed to be the oldest museum in the region, see the characters of Ramayana inscribed on the wall near the steps at Ramkund and visit the Hamirsar Lake for the cenotaphs among many others excursions and day trips to nearby wildlife preserves.
Bhuj was established by Rao Hamirji in 1510 and it went on to become the state capital in 1549 during the reign of Rao Khengarji.
Bhuj is a connection between many eras and ages ranging from remnants of the Indus Valley Civilization found in Dholavira (just over 200 km north east of Bhuj) to regions mentioned in the Hindu epic, Mahabharata and even in records during Alexander the Great’s march into India.
There are tombs, palaces and numerous historic buildings found in Bhuj and the nearby regions from the reign of Naga chieftains, Gujarat Sultans, Jadeja Rajputs and from British Raj.
Traditional handmade things are very popular and easily available in most markets along with enamel work on gold and silver jewelry, metal bells, lacquered wood and seashell toys.
Bandhani textiles, batik textiles and silk embroidery on leather are specialties of the region.
WHERE TO STAY
There are many budget hotels in Bhuj that are scattered throughout the city along with many guesthouses and few mid-range hotels. There are no luxury accommodation options in Bhuj but the mid-range hotels offer good service.
WHERE TO EAT
Most eateries in Bhuj serve vegetarian dishes but there are a few hotels that serve non-vegetarian dishes located on the outskirts of the city.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The best time to visit Bhuj is during the months of October to March. Winter season is best for exploring Bhuj.
WHAT TO SEE
Kutch Museum: Kutch Museum is the oldest museum in Gujarat. The museum was founded in 1877 and has Kshatrap inscriptions that date back to 1st century AD along with samples of extinct Kutchi script.
Swaminarayan Temple: The temple is an architectural masterpiece and is built with marble. The breathtaking temple is located near the Hamirsar Lake.
Prag Mahal: Maharao Pragmalji constructed the palace which is a fine example of Gothic style. The palace is the erstwhile seat of power of the rulers of Kutch. The palace can be visited from 10 am onwards.
Aaina Mahal: The ‘Palace of Mirrors’ is in the premises of the Prag Mahal and now has been restored after the earthquake in 2001. There are handicrafts from various parts of Kutch that are exhibited in the palace.
Hamirsar Lake: The Lake near the heart of the city is a nice place to enjoy a quiet time.
Chhatardi: Chhatardis are cenotaphs of rulers and have been featured in many Bollywood movies. There is a garden and the place around the cenotaphs is a good picnic spot.
NEAR TO BHUJ
Kutch: It is the largest district of India which mainly comprises of Rann of Kutch, world’s largest salt desert. The Rann of Kutch covers an area of about 16,000 sq km. Kutch is about 72 km from Bhuj.
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Bhuj is as given below. The best time to visit Bhuj is also specified.