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Bhuj

Bhuj, the capital of the former native state of Kutch is now the head quarter of the Kutch district. It is a fascinating old walled city with labyrinthine alleyways, old palaces with intricately carved wooden pavilions, and striking, brightly decorated Hindu temples.
Bhuj is an ancient city where traces of old civilizations have been found in archaeological excavations. It is located in the Rann or desert of Kutch close to the shore line of Gujarat. The diverse topography ranging from arid desert to sea beaches dismays a visitor. Today Bhuj is famous for its handicrafts peculiar to the region. Its a treasure trove of beautiful hand made articles like clothes and shoes made with traditional embroidery. Enamel work on jewellery, lacquered wood and seashell toys are other attractive crafts.
Bhuj is associated with the old Indus valley civilization, Naga cheiftans Chavda Dynasty , Solanki and Jadeja Rajput clans. Dholavira village near Bhuj still has traces of Indus Valley civilization. The Jadeja Rajputs were considered in high esteem by the Mughals due to their naval expertise.The Kutch region has old ties with civilizations from Zanzibar, Greece and Middle Eastern countries. These were trade ties through the sea route.The current city of Bhuj was founded by Maharao Hamir in 1510 AD. It was declared the state capital by another ruler Rao Khengarji in 1549 AD. It sustained as a princely state during the British rule in India and later became a part of independent India. The temples, palaces and old lanes in the city have kept its cultural wealth intact.
Bhuj is a place surrounded by Gujarati villages offering a galore of traditional fiesta to the traveller. These villages are famous for their exceptional style of weaving, Ahir embroidery and block printing.
 Bhuj has the old Bhujia fort which is located on a 160 metre high hillock. Named after the snake Bhujang this fort gave the city its name. It was built by Rao Godji to fortify the city of Bhuj. Today under the army control, it can only be seen from outside. City is surrounded by a wall with 5 gates and towers. An earthquake of magnitude of 6.9 reduced Bhuj to rubbles in 2001.
Villages
Villages- Brimming with the heritage of art and craft are the villages around Bhuj. The village of Bhujjodi is famous for its weaving. Padhar and Dhaneti exel in traditional Ahir embroidery. Dhamanka is renowned for block printing. Anjar is famous for tie and dye, Ahir embroidery and Betel nut crackers. Lilpur has its own style of embroidery.
Aaina Mahal
It is an old palace lying in a courtyard in the old city. It was built by Maharao Lakhpatji. It is a beautiful place built in traditional Kutchi style. It has the Maharao Madansinhji Museum. This palace was made by a artist named Ram Sinh Malam who trained in Holland. He merged the Kutchi and European architectural styles in creating this palace. The highlight of Aaina Mahal is the Hall of Mirrors. Its walls are made of marble and intricate mirror work separated by gilded ornaments. Candle stands with venetian glass shades provide beautiful light adding upto the glory of this place. A Pleasure Pool with a raised platform is also present . Maharao composed poetry and promoted art and dance here.
Prag Mahal
Made by Raja Prag Mal in 1860’s, it was designed by Colonel Henry Saint Wilkins in an Italian Gothic style. It lies next to the Aaina Mahal and there is a 45 metre high Bell Tower with gives a mighty view of the city. There is a beautiful temple behind the palace which has some interesting stonework. A Durbar Hall is located inside the palace with its walls adorning portraits of the past Maharajas.
Kutch Museum
Founded by Maharao Khengarji in 1877 AD, this is the oldest museum of Gujarat. It is famous for having the largest collection of Kshatrapa inscriptions dating back to as old as the first century AD. Ancient Kutchi scripts and a collection on old local coins are interesting. The museum also showcases the Tribal arts like embroidery, paintings, metal work and sculptures.
Hamirsar Lake
This lake adds to the beauty of Bhuj. A stroll on its bank takes you to all the attractions of Bhuj. From Aaina Mahal to Swaminarayan temple all can be covered by taking a walk at the lakeside.
Sharad Baug Palace
A palace surrounded by beautiful gardens , Sharad Baug was the residence of the last Kutch king Madan Singh. After his death in 1991 this palace was converted in to a museum.
Ramkund Stepwell
This square shaped stepwell has 56 feet tall wall. This wall has sculptures of characters from Ramayana. Lord Rama, Sita, Laxman and Hanuman are sculpted on the wall of the well. Ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu are also carved here.
Royal Chattardis
These are the cenotaphs of the rulers of Kutch which were cremated here. Earthquake has affected this site but still many chattris are intact like that of Rao Lakhpatji, Desarji and Raydhanji. It lies in an open feild amidst peaceful surroundings away from the city.
Swami Narayan Temple
The temple is located at the place where Swami Narayan held his meetings when he visited Bhuj. It has wood carvings of Radha- Krishna, a typical of this sect.
Kera
22 km fro Bhuj lies Kera, site of an ancient Shiva temple. It was damaged during the earthquake but the inner sanctum still lies intact.
Shopping in Bhuj is an experience in itself. The markets are full of handicraft items. From jewellery to clothes and shoes, Bhuj has something to please each traveller. Rogan Art, glass bead work, block prints, leather articles and furniture like shelves, cupboards all charm the visitor with their traditional look.
Rann Festival- Revealing the cultural wealth of Kutch is the Rann Festival. This takes place in the shining full moon nights in December for three days. The art, craft, music and dance festival showcases the diverse traditional wealth of the region and leaves a traveller mesmerised. The locations are Bhuj,beach, lake and the Banni grasslands.
Uttarayan- This festival takes place on Makar Sankranti in January. The entire region sees the skies filled with beautiful and colourful traditional kites. The families gathered on rooftops share Gujarati delicacies like Undhyu, Laddoo, Dhokla. Kite fliers try to bring down the kites of their competitors.
Navratri Festival- A festival of nine nights, this marks the worship of Shakti or Goddess Durga around Dusshera. People gather for nine nights in open spaces, dressed in their finery to dance the night away together.
Nearby places Train stations Airports
AHMEDABAD 345 Km 05H 56m
Rudra Mata 2 Km 00H 04m
Bhuj
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Season Min. Temp. Max. Temp.
Summer 25 °C 45 °C
Winter 10 °C 25 °C
Extreme climate & temperature ranges from 20 C in winter to 450 C in summer. Rainfall is very less while average annual rainfall - 14 inches. The three main seasons are: (i) Summer, from February to June, (ii) Monsoon season, from July to September, (iii) Winter, from October to January.
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