Intricacies of the Prag Mahal in Bhuj, Gujarat

If a city has at least one building like the Prag Mahal, it automatically wins my heart. If the city of Bhuj has nothing else to offer but the Prag Mahal, I would have still considered it worth visiting. Apart from pure aesthetic pleasure, I’ve noticed that beautiful architecture has a very soothing effect on me, and it makes me wonder whether there is such a thing as architecture therapy 🙂 Dealing with stresses of day-to-day life, I often open my photography folders and go through the collection of the most prominent architectural gems I’ve visited around India, and the Prag Mahal in Bhuj is easily one of them.

The magnificent edifice defines the skyline of Bhuj and is seen from afar. As one of the major attractions of the city, the palace is visited by the Indian and foreign tourists alike, even though the tourist scene of Bhuj is far from being overwhelming.

History of the Prag Mahal

The construction was commissioned by the local Kutch ruler Rao Pragmalji II, and it’s after him the palace was named afterward. The astounding building was designed by Henry Saint Wilkins, a British Army officer who was also a gifted architect. Apart from the Parag Mahal in Bhuj, he designed the Frere Hall in Karachi, Pakistan, the Sassoon Hospital in Pune and the Government and the Public Works Secretariats in Mumbai.

Like many other 19th century palaces in India, the Prag Mahal in Bhuj was built according to the rules of extremely popular Gothic Revival architectural style, and many European artisans were involved in its construction. It took 12 years to build the imposing structure (1865-1875), using the Italian marble and Indian sandstone. As the Gothic Revival architecture suggests, the building features a subtle mixture of styles, but all of them are heavily dominated by European architectural traditions.

The palace was severely damaged during the Bhuj Earthquake in 2001, and in 2006 it was brutally robbed, with burglars taking away a lot of antiques and shamelessly vandalizing the place. Restoration works took place after Amitabh Bachchan, the Bollywood megastar, took a personal interest in repairing the Prag Mahal in Bhuj.

Recommended read: The Royal Cenotaphs (Chhatris) of Bhuj

The Prag Mahal in photos

the prag mahal in bhuj

Prag Mahal in Bhuj, the imposing facade

the prag mahal in bhuj, gujarat

The clock tower rises almost 14 meters in height

the prag mahal bhuj

the prag mahal in bhuj, interior

Elegant columns

the prag mahal in bhuj interior

Climbing the magnificent staircase

the prag mahal in bhuj, durbar hall

The Durbar hall

prag mahal in bhuj, durbar hall

Intricate stonework

A charming visitor 🙂

The Prag Mahal in Bhuj has served as a shooting location for the Bollywood movie Lagaan. I haven’t seen it but I might have a look for the Prag Mahal’s sake

the prag mahal in bhuj tower

It’s time to climb the tower!

The winding narrow staircase is not for fainthearted 🙂

view from the prag mahal in bhuj

The city of Bhuj from atop the tower

The quaint roof

The reminder of the Bhuj Earthquake in 2001

In front of the Prag Mahal, there is a magnificent building of Rani ki Vas. Judging from its state, it will inevitably fall to pieces, which is a real pity, because these are the most amazing jharokhas I have ever seen

prag mahal bhuj

prag mahal, bhuj

Isn’t it picture perfect?


Travel tips 

~ The Prag Mahal in  Bhuj is open for visitors from 9 am to 12 am, and then from 3 pm to 6 pm.

~  The ticket price is Rs 20,  and the photography charges are Rs 50.

~ It will take you around one hour to explore the place. Make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes, especially if you’re going to climb the clock tower.

~ Apart from Rani ki Vas, there is also the Aina Mahal (The palace of mirrors) in the same compound. It’s recommended to visit all these sights in one go.

~ The Prag Mahal on the map:

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Visiting the Prag Mahal in Bhuj

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14 thoughts on “Intricacies of the Prag Mahal in Bhuj, Gujarat

  1. Loved this post Antonina of the Prag Mahal in Bhuj. The entire story and the feel of the grand place came alive in your pictures and narrative :). And a very detailed guide you have given for anyone wishing to visit it in the future. Keep up the great work that you are doing in highlighting the historical places in this great country of ours 🙂

  2. Missed out on visiting the Prag Mahal and the other sites you mentioned when we visited the Rann of Kutch. Looks like an exclusive visit to Bhuj is needed. Did you enjoy the famous dabeli here?

    • Hi Sandeepa! Nice to “see” you after so long. Yes, Bhuj is often seen as a stopover on the way ot the Rann of Kutch, but the city has some interesting sights to offer and is definitely worth exploring. And no, unfortunately, I didn’t taste dalebi – didn’t research on food before making the trip 😉

  3. Very beautiful pictures and an intersting history. It’s a real treat for your eyes, no wonder it can be theraputic to visit. I enjoyed reading and looking through photos.

  4. Pingback: Why do I regret climbing the damaged tower of the Prag Mahal? -

  5. Thanks for another great post Antonia! I was in Bhuj last year but I missed this beautiful building- what an idiot! Next time. I definitely think you’re on to something about architectural therapy. A magnificent building can make your heart soar and even cry with sheer appreciation of its beauty (I was weepy when I saw the Taj Mahal for the first time!). And of course India has magnificent buildings, in all different styles, in abundance!

  6. Pingback: One day in Bhuj, Gujarat - a quick guide to things to do -

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