Bhuj is an extremely beautiful, lively and picturesque city on the oasis of saline and arid Kutch. U have known by now that Bhuj became our base camp, Else check below link… 🙂 as it was located in the heart of Kutch District well connecting to rest of the region…
On our 4th and final day we planned to roam around and explore the city, thou exhilarating long rides in the desert lands made us long for more. We started our day with some amazing breakfast made by our friend cum couch – thanks for trying your hands in cooking for us… 😛 We really enjoyed it…!!! In a walk around Bhuj, we visited the Hall of Mirrors at Aina Mahal; climbed the bell tower of Prag Mahal; trekked all way up the Bhujia Hill to reach Bhujia Fort; saw Harimsar Lake and wandered the local markets.
Harimsar Lake built 450 years ago on 28 acres of land was initally built by Rao Khengarji I. As a Kutch capital it had significant and complex presence of many kings and conquerors… This man made water body lies in the heart of Bhuj town. Summers being extreme hot this lake was built to fulfil the domestic needs of Bhuj. It was also used as recreational place during ancient times. View of Prag Mahal, Aina Mahal, and Kutch Museum can be easily sought from here.
Bhujiya hill provided the panoramic sight of the beautiful city. Bhujia Fort which also lies here engulfed the hill. This place was once lived in and used to for administrative maintenance of the city. We could identify the far sighted Prag Mahal and Hamirsar Lake from the hill.
Bhuj city was destructed and demolished in 2001 earthquake… But the Darbar hall in Prag Mahal looked extremely astounding after restoration. The chandeliers with inscribed work on Belgium glass, colorful doors, antique furniture gave a classy look. The clock tower built with 5 floors, 150 feet high, 100 kg pendulum and 700 feet ringing bells dominates the skyline of Bhuj. This clock worked based on weighing system and is the second clock tower in India. India’s first neo-Gothic structure marked by a massive clock tower was built by Rao Shri Khengarji in 1548. This palace in the 19th century palace in Darbargadh area was the seating place for famous Kutch Darbar in pre-independence era.
Aina Mahal is next to Prag Mahal. This place as the name suggests is a palace built from mirrors, glass work and china tiles. The layout, design and decorations of Aina Mahal were highly influenced by a royal dream that had eventually been converted into reality by an extremely deft craftsman Ramsinh Malam who designed it in a mixed Indo-European style and set about creating the materials for the palace locally. Built under the reign of Lakhpatji who had a great passion for music, art, architecture, and literature.
Picked this lovely block printed Tie n Dye Skirt from Bhuj 🙂 😛
Apart from these forts and palaces, Bhuj is known for Kutch handicrafts, Bhandani works or tie and dyed, embroidered fabrics, mirror embedded stitching and wood crafts, metal work, pottery, Kutch weaving and silver smiting… Our visit to the shopping fair in ‘Kutch festival’ on the White Rann – Read – was not enough to satisfy our shopping spree, so we hopped those markets in Bhuj too 😛 🙂 🙂
All foood stuffs from Khakhra’s, Fafra’s, and the Gujarati Thalis. Though mostly veggies we still savoured every bite of food we had… From Bike riding in the less populated part to meeting most talkative ones, from climbing forts to walking in salt bed, the colourful handicrafts, & those amazingly big horn headed buffalo… Yeeuuuu…! This trip was an added adventure ticked in our travel diary!