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Gujrat - Bhuj

The old, walled city of Bhuj is the most important town in Kutchh and also the district headquarters. Bhuj is distinguished by its brightly decorated Hindu temples, beautiful palaces and intricately carved wooden pavilions. It is a paradise for handicraft lovers. The houses here are decorated both from inside as well as outside with linear reliefs made from mud and mirrors. Bhuj is famous for embroidery. The oldest museum of Gujarat is situated in Bhuj. Be it the bandhni (tie and dye) and batik textiles, or the intricate silk embroidery done on leather, each artifact is a labour of love for the craftspersons. The colorful thread embroidery on cloth is done by different castes and communities in their own distinct way. The region was also known for the enamel work done on gold and silver jewellery, lacquered wood, seashell toys and metal bells.

How to reach


By Air Flights are available from Mumbai and Ahmedabad .

By Train
New Bhuj Railway Station is 1 km north of Bhuj. Direct trains ply on the metre gauge line from Ahmedabad and on the broad gauge line for Mumbai.

By Road
State transport, luxury coaches, auto-rickshaws and taxis are available to all centres in Gujarat.

Places of Interest in Bhuj

Aina Mahal , Katchh Museum , Bharatiya Sanskruti Darshan , Prag Mahal (New Palace) , Swaminarayan temple , Cenotaph Complex , Kakkad Bhit Yaksha

Places of Interest around Bhuj

Puraneshwar, Kera , Chinkara Sanctuary , Mandvi , Anjar , Wild Ass Sanctuary , Koteshwar

Aina Mahal (Old Palace)

This is a beautiful museum, built in the 18th century as the palace of Maharao Lakhpatji. It has a Hall of Mirrors with white marble walls covered with mirrors and gilded ornaments; the floor is lined with tiles with a platform above it surrounded by a series of fountains. The room also has a chandelier of Venetian glass. It lies in the old part of the city, in a small, fortified courtyard and houses some very rare idols.

Katchh Museum
The oldest museum in Gujarat, it was established in 1877 originally known as the Fergusson Museum, after its founder, Sir James Fergusson, a governor of Mumbai under the British Raj. The exhibits on display are gold and silver ornaments, Kshatrapa inscriptions, textiles, weapons, archaeological finds, stuffed animals and musical instruments. Besides these, it is equipped with a picture gallery and sections for anthropology and shipping.

Bharatiya Sanskruti Darshan
Here is an interesting, private collection of artifacts and textiles. There are also constructions of typical village habitats.

Prag Mahal (New Palace)
Constructed in 1979, the Prag Mahal is a magnificent building made of ornate Italian marble and sandstone. Its Corinthian pillars and Jali work depicting European flora and fauna are worth observing

Swaminarayan temple
It is a very colourful and richly decorated temple, situated next to the Aina Mahal.

Cenotaph Complex
A popular site is the cenotaphs complex at Chattaradi. These are built of red stones. Of all the tombs here the largest and the finest is the one of Rao Lakha built in 1770 AD. It's polygonal in shape with balconies and an intricately carved roof. Other impressive cenotaphs are the ones of Rao Rayadhan, Rao Desai and Rao Pragmal.

Kakkad Bhit Yaksha
A few kilometers from Puraneshwar, it's located along the highway on a hillock with 72 idols of yakshas or jakhs. The jakhs were people of Greek or Iranian origin believed to have reached the coast of Gujarat as the result of a shipwreck. The memorial at Kakkad Bhit is created in honour of their many acts of sacrifice and bravery of the local people, against the oppression of the then ruler Punara. A big fair is held here every year.

Places of Interest around Bhuj

Puraneshwar

Puraneshwar is about 35 kms from Bhuj. It is a 9th/10th century temple raised on a high plinth and has some fine sculpture on display. Near the temple is a place called Vadimedi, a palace dating back to the Solanki era.

Kera
Kera is famous mainly due to the 10th century Shiva Temple. The present day ruins are indicative of how beautiful this temple must have been centuries ago. It was damaged in the earthquake of 1819 AD. In the same area is also a Muslim shrine of Ghulam Ali Shah. The annual Urs held here attracts devotees from all faiths. Pilgrims walking on burning coals is the principal feature of the Urs.

Chinkara Sanctuary
A few kilometres away from the Narayan Sarovar is the Chinkara Sanctuary. It is about 210 kms. from Bhuj. This sanctuary is the home of the Chinkara or the Indian Gazelle.

Other animals found in this sanctuary are blue bull, spotted deer, wild boar and a rich variety of smaller wildlife.

Mandvi (About 75 kms from Bhuj)
Mandvi, founded in 1581 A.D. is an ancient seaport. It is well known for its production of handicraft items particularly its relief, filigree and enamel work and its virtually unspoilt sea beaches. The Rukmavati bridge is the longest stone bridge, built in 1883 A.D. and the Vijay Vilas palace are the major tourist spots in this destination. Situated across the Mandvi Beach, the Vijay Vilas Palace was once the summer resort of the Maharaos of Kutch. The sandstone structure is surrounded by many fountains and gardens and has a unique design to ward off the fierce desert sun. Mandvi is situated about 75 kms. from Bhuj.

Anjar
Anjar is mainly known for the samadhi (tomb) of Jesal Toral, and the bungalow of James Mcmurdo, which is a veritable museum of Kachchhi Art. Places worth visiting are the Ajaypal Temple, the Holy Shrine of Pinjora Pir. Anjar is also famous for its block printing work, nutcrackers, scissors and penknives.

Koteshwar
Koteshwar is at a short distance from Narayan Sarovar & 215 Kms. from Bhuj. It is an ancient place of pilgrimage. The existing temple is situated on a high plinth over looking the sea. It is an excellent breathtaking sunset point.

Wild Ass Sanctuary
Gujarat is as famous for its large wild ass herds as it is for its lions. To protect these rare animals, a sanctuary covering an area of over 4,953 sq. kms was created to offer protection to more than 2,100 wild asses inhabiting this area.

Gandhidham
Situated at 60 Kms from Bhuj, Gandhidham was specially built for displaced persons after partition. Kandla is a major port, the only free trade zone of the country is very close by.

How to reach

By Air
Nearest Airport is Bhuj and Kandla. Various domestic flights connect Mumbai .

By Train
Nearest railway station is Gandhidham and Bhuj.

By Road
State transport buses and private luxury caches connects various centres of Gujarat. Gandhidham is 60 kms from Bhuj.

Places of Interest

The monument dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi and several other temples are worth visiting.

Khavada
Famous for its handicrafts and cattle rearing in Banni. Flamingo colony can be approached from Khavada by road and thereafter on camel back.

Bhadreshwar
It is a famous Jain pilgrimage centre. The architecture of the temple is such that the presiding deity is visible from the ground floor as well as the first floor. Other local monuments include a stepwell, morgue and a palace.

Purneshwar
It is about 35 kms from Bhuj. It is a 9th/10th century AD temple raised on a high plinth and has some fine sculpture on display.

Dholavira
Known for its large Indus settlement, Dholavira (discovered in 1967) lies in the northwest corner of Khadir, a large island surrounded by the Rann of Kutch. The first settlers arrived here from the Indus valley more than 5000 years ago. There are several bare Harappan houses and silent cenotaphs, which remain mute spectators to a once glorious past. The most interesting discovery of Dholavira is the large inscription, comprising of ten letters in the Indus script, each letter engraved on slices of crystalline material. Dholavira is situated about 445 kms. from Ahmedabad, via Mehsana/Radhanpur/Rapar.

Lakhpat
This ghost town is 151 kms. from Bhuj airport and boasts a beautiful landscape. Cenotaphs and memorial stones outside the town add a charm to it. Due to the harsh climatic conditions, most people have deserted the town. Surrounded by a protective wall, the town has a few old temples, gurudwaras and mosques. From the vantage point on the wall, one can get a breathtaking view of the sea and the Rann. It is today deserted, desolate, uninhabited, and invokes powerful nostalgia and soulful affection. Among the ruins stand the Gurudwara (holy shrine of the Sikh religion). The 200-year old, gigantic tomb of Ghosh Mohammed Kaba and many other places with ancient stories to tell.

Bharuch (Broach)
It is a very old town. Historical records tell of this town's existence nearly about 2000 years ago. It lies between Vadodara and Surat and is about an hour's journey from each town. It has a fort on the hilltop, which looks down at the Narmada River meandering below. At the base of the hill is the Jama Masjid. Upstream of Bharuch is the controversial Sardar Sarovar Dam.

Lallubhai Haveli
Built in 1791 A.D., by Lallubhai, an ex-Divan of the last Nawab of Broach, it is mainly a one-storied building with a small bungli (room) on the second floor. Lallubhai used to hold his court here. It has a front of carved wood, very richly designed. On the second floor there are arrangements for placing matchlock guns. According to local tradition, there are underground passages in the haveli.

Roman Catholic Church
This is an old church erected about 200 years ago and then rebuilt in 1861 AD.

Madresa Mosque
The Madresa Mosque is said to be the oldest mosque founded by Mohammad in 1038 AD. There are two inscriptions in Persian, engraved on wooden plates, dated 1609 AD.

The pillars of the mosque and the front door of black wood are decorated with beautiful engravings, some 200 to 300 years old. Adjoining it is a shrine of the famous saint, Maulana Ishaqu, a man of great learning, who died here in 1660 AD.

Diu
Across Ahmedpur Mandvi lies the island of Diu, a sensuous blend of sun, sand and deep blue sea. Diu is situated 125 kms. from Junagadh. It is one of the country's finest beaches. Diu is a quiet secluded island measuring less than 40 sq.km. Off the west coast of India, it is connected to the mainland of Gujarat by a causeway. The total length of the coastline of Diu does not exceed 21 km. The clean,cobbled streets,the pastel houses,the catholic churches and the old bastioned fort, the colorful fishwives in the elegant market square and the sleepy ,relaxed atmosphere-eyeryhting about Diu is pleasantly Mediterranean. It offers some marvelous beaches. The island is also dotted by three Portuguese churches one which has been converted into a museum housing some rare Portuguese artifacts. Another cynosure at Diu is the Fort of Diu, an imposing statement of power. This beautiful island in the Arabian Sea has the river Chasi running along its northern frontier. The climate is pleasant throughout the year. Nobody and nothing is in a hurry.

How to reach

By Air
Nearest airport is Junagadh, which is connected to Mumbai via Keshod, Porbandar and Rajkot.

By Train
It is well connected to Rajkot, Veraval and Ahmedabad.

By Road
Luxury and Semi luxury buses (private and state transport) are easily available. Cars of various types are also available on hire.

Places of Interest

Nagoa Beach Fortress of Panikot St. Paul's Church Jallandhar Shrine Gangeshwar Temple Navlakha Parshvanath Temple Jama Masjid Diu Museum

Fort of Diu
It was built over six years from 1535 A.D., following a defence alliance between Bahadur Shah, Sultan of Gujarat, and the Portuguese, when Humayun, the Mughal Emperor, attacked the former. The deep canals flanking the fort, the giant watch tower (now converted into a lighthouse), the gaol, the cannons, the vestiges of foregone battles (like mounds of iron shells from enemy cannons), the stone galleries, gigantic windows and the granite expanse will take you back to another valourous era. The mist that shrouds the fort throughout the year completes the picture of historic adventure, romance and intrigue.