City : Bhuj
Location : Eastern India
Language : Gujarati and Hindi
Best Time to Visit : October to March
Know About Bhuj
Bhuj is situated in the Kutch district of Gujarat. It is the administrative city of Kutch and therefore occupies an important place. If you are traveling to Bhuj by road then it is around 396 km from Ahmedabad. Bhuj is an interesting place due to the fact that it was once the capital of the Princely state of Kutch. This makes Bhuj one of the popular places in India, from travel and tourism point of view. It is dotted by a number of affluent princely buildings of the yore which are truly a feast for the eyes.
A local ruler Maharao Hamir founded the city of Bhuj in 1510. In 1549 Rao Khengarji I, another local ruler, made Bhuj his capital. It remained an independent princely state during the rule of the British in India and became a part of India, when it gained independence in 1947.
Bhuj is located in the westernmost part of the state of Gujarat, in the western region of India. It is around 300 km from Ahmedabad, the state capital. It is near the Gulf of Kutch, a part of the Arabian Sea. Low hills overlook the city of Bhuj. Though Bhuj is near the coast, yet its climate is hot. It is because of its proximity to the Great Rann of Kutch to its north and the Small Rann to its west, which are vast, sandy, and dry salt flats. Bhuj experiences hot summers (April-June) and mild winters (October-February). It is lashed by southwestern monsoons in the months of June-August.
As summers in Bhuj tend to be harsh and rains can be torrential, the best time to visit Bhuj is during winters.
Aaina Mahal is one of the most exquisite monuments in Bhuj, located in the fort complex along with the Parag Mahal. The Palace is a sheer work of art and a must watch for all. The architecture of the Mahal is greatly influenced by the European style. Aaina Mahal was converted from a dream to reality by the master architect Ramsinh Malam. He undertook training in Holland to make Aaina Mahal an architectural marvel it is today. The palace is a two storied building with Darbar Hall, hall of mirrors, and suites for royal family. It stands adorned with mirror work, tile work and fountains.
Prag Mahal was designed by the famous architect Colonel Henry Saint Wilkins. It took 10 years to build the monument, at an astounding cost of rupees 20 lakh. The palace serves as a fine example of Italian Gothic style, combined with some European style elements.
The Kutch Museum
The Kutch Museum was earlier known as Fergusson Museum. It was built by Maharao Khengarji III in 1877 AD. The museum is constructed in Italian style and located on the banks of the Hamirsar Lake. It is one of the famous museums in the entire state and has a rich collection of Kshatrapa inscriptions, various archeological objects, fine collection of arms and specimens of various crafts of the Kutch region.
Other Places of Interest
Other places of interest at Bhuj are Cenotaphs of Kutch rulers, Snake Temple at Bhujiyo Hill Fort, Swami Narayan Temple, Vegetable Market, Hatkeshwar Temple and Alfred High School.
Fairs And Festivals
Bhuj is known for its Rann Utsav (festival), which is held every year in February/March. Also known as the Desert Festival, it usually coincides with the Hindu festival of Shivratri. The main attractions of this festival are demonstration of traditional handicrafts, cultural events and tours in and around the city.
How to Reach
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.
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.
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.
Shared taxis and hired cars can be taken by the tourists to visit Mandvi, Gandhidham and the villages around Bhuj. Tourists can use auto-rickshaws to move around the city. One can also hire scooters and bicycles for the same purpose.