the prag mahal in bhuj interior
Gujarat

One day in Bhuj, Gujarat – a quick guide to things to do

Thinking about spending one day in Bhuj? Rest assured, you won’t regret it! 

As I’ve mentioned in one of my previous posts, the town of Bhuj in  Gujarat is often used as a stopover to the Great Rann of Kutch. However, I’ve found the town extremely rewarding in terms of experiences and the number of architectural marvels – and let’s face it, exploring different forms of beautiful Indian architecture is the main purpose of my travels. Besides, as a Mumbai dweller, I found it rather interesting to observe life in a smaller town in  India – the population of Bhuj is merely 200 thousand people. So for me spending one day in Bhuj was definitely worth it. 

One thing to keep in mind is that Bhuj was nearly destroyed in the devastating earthquake in 2001. However,  I would have never guessed the town was nearly flattened less than two decades ago – everything is more or less back to normal – the houses have been rebuilt, the shops and restaurants are open, invitingly. People were busy with their daily lives, and my presence hardly sparked any curiosity in locals, which is always a good sign – it means the region gets its due where tourism is concerned, even if it’s mostly for the Great Rann of Kutch. The only traces of the horrendious  earthquake can be noticed in the historical sights – the cracks in the walls of the Prag Mahal and ruins of Royal Chhatris speak louder than words. 

Things to do if you have only one day in Bhuj:

So here are some of the things to do in Bhuj if you happen to be  in the town:

Visit the Chhatris (Royal memorials) of Bhuj

If you have only one day in Bhuj, I would recommend starting to explore the city from this spot – it’s a bit to one side from the city, and lots of people tend to overlook it. We arrived to the city early in the morning and slowly walked to the Chhatris enjoying the first rays of the sun, but you can also take a rickshaw and reach there in no time  – the distances within the town are not so large. The royal cenotaphs were built in the end of the 18th century for the rulers of the local dynasty. The intricate structures are astonishingly beautiful in its diversity of forms. To read about them in more detail, check out the article I’ve written some  time back : 

The Royal Cenotaphs (Chhatris) of Bhuj

And here are a few pictures to give you the idea od what these memories are like: 

chhatris of bhuj
Climbing the stairs of the Royal Chhatris (Cenotaphs) in Bhuj

chhatris of bhuj chhatris of bhuj chhatris of bhuj chhatris of bhuj

Do some birdwatching at the Hamirsar Lake 

If you are lucky. I wasn’t. The lake was almost completely dried out, with a tiny patch of water somewhere in the center and deep cracks in its bottom. They say lots of kids of migratory birds like to stop at this lake, but I hardly saw any. Out rickshaw driver said it’s because children at school sing “that English song rain, rain, go away”. How do you like this wonderful explanation? 🙂 

Hamirsar lake in  bhuj
The sorry state of Hamirsar lake

Explore the Kutch Museum 

The Kutch Museum can be found right across the road from the Hamirsar Lake, and it’s the oldest museum in the state of Gujarat. Its exhibits represent the rich culture of the region, from embroidered textiles to ancient stone tablets, musical instruments, arts and crafts, sculpture, weaponry, and metalwork. 

Kutch museum in Bhuj
The Kutch museum

Admire the beauty of the Prag Mahal 

If the town of Bhuj had nothing else but the Prag Mahal, it would have been worth visiting anyway. Designed by the talented architect Henry Saint Wilkins for the local ruler Rao Pragmalji II, this 19th-century palace is nothing short of astounding. But keep in mind that I’m a devoted architecture enthusiast, so my opinions are biased sometimes. Or at least a bit exaggerated. But in the case of the Prah Mahal, I really found the structure extremely charming, and in my opinion, it’s strongly recommended visiting it if you happen to spend one day in Bhuj. I’ve already written a separate article about Prag Mahal, check it out here is you’re curious – Intricacies of the Prag Mahal in Bhuj, Gujarat

And here are a few photos: 

prag mahal bhuj

the prag mahal in bhuj interior
Climbing the magnificent staircase

Step into the world of glass and mirrors of Aina Mahal 

Aina  Mahal is located next to the Prag Mahal, and it has very little to offer in terms of architectural excellence. However, the collection of exhibits in the palace is rather intriguing. My experience  in Aina Mahal is summed up in this Instagram post: 

View this post on Instagram

Next to the beautiful Prag Mahal in Bhuj, there is an 18th century structure known as Palace of Mirrors (Aina Mahal). Unfortunately, its exterior was severely damaged during 2001 earthquake, but even in this state it has a lot to offer to someone who loves interesting architectural forms – its jharokhas (overhanging enclosed balconies) are absolutely amazing. . . As for the interiors, it’s like an old curiosity shop full of fascinating old findings. As the name suggests, the owner was obviously fascinated with mirrors and glass items, and one can find these in abundance in Aina Mahal. Apart from that, there is also an interesting collection of chiming clocks, ceramics, costumes, furniture, toys, paintings and a palanquin. Blue Delftware tiles on the floor add to the charm (swipe to see).

A post shared by Antonina (@indiapalette) on

Pay a visit to Swaminarayan Temple

The original Swaminarayan Temple was completely destroyed in the earthquake in 2001, but the devotees collected enough donations in order to rebuild the monument from scratch. The marble structure is very intricate, and it made me think that modern technologies allow every building to look as beautiful, but for some reason, we extend our powers only to places of worship. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The new Swaminarayan Temple, was built only recently (in 2010) to replace the old one that was destroyed in the earthquake. Sprawled across a whopping 5 acres, this massive temple in marble and gold is definitely a sight to behold. Even if you aren’t here to pray among the thousands of devotees (who flock from all over the world), stay awhile, studying the beautiful pillars, and enjoying a bit of respite away from the hot Kutch sun in its cool marble cocoon. Standing on the marble staircase in the midday sun, I was stumped at how cool the floor felt under the soles of my bare feet. . . . . . . . . #bhuj #gujarat #gujarattourism #gujarat_tourism #gujarat_diaries #india #theglobewanderer #travelblogger #wanderlust #travelgram #travel #exploringtheglobe #mytravelgram #worlderlust #travelpics #bestplacestogo #travelblog #incredibleindia #traveldiaries #travelphotography #welltravelled #instatravel #travelingram #traveladdict #indiapalette #mytravelgram #instapassport #wanderlust

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Enjoy the perfect geometry of the Ramkund Stepwell 

The Ramkund Stepwell is located  in  one  of the most tranquil and secluded places  in  the city. Visit it  to admire  it’s perfect geometry and sort out your thoughts and impressions. To see photos of the stepwell and read about it in more detail, click the image below:

So these were some of the things to do if you have only one day in Bhuj. Do you find them inspiring enough? Would you visit? 

For a place to stay in Bhuj, by the way, check out the form below:

Booking.com

 

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One day in Bhuj things to do

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