Bhuj is a desert city with a very long history of kings. It is one of the most interesting and unique cities. Because of its history of kings and empires, you can find many ancient places in and around the city. In 2001, a lot of Bhuj’s heritage was damaged, but nonetheless, there are many places to keep your interest in Bhuj. Many of the places to see are associated with Mahabharat and Alexander the Great’s march into India. The dynamic history of the area is shown through unique ethnic cultures.
Here is the list of some of the best things you should not miss while visiting Bhuj:
1. White Kutch Desert
The white desert, also known as Rann of Kutch, is located in Dhodra Village, which is 92 km (57.1 mi) away from Bhuj. It is one of the largest seasonal saline wetland areas. The salty desert is 15 meters (49.2 ft) above sea level and the view of this area will take your breath away, especially during sunset and sunrise. You can find many Asiatic wild ass species in this area. During the monsoon season, the desert is submerged under water, which makes it a breeding ground for many flamingoes.
In the months of December and January, a renowned festival called Kutch Mahotsav is celebrated for a period of forty days. The festival attracts tourist from all over India and colorfully dressed dancers present Bhuj’s culture in the most beautiful way.
2. Shree Swaminarayan Temple
Shree Swaminarayan Temple was built by Bhagwan Swaminarayan in 1824. The temple was destroyed by an earthquake in 2001, but was rebuilt in 2010. You can find many interesting carvings on the temple pillars and ceilings. I was amazed to see how cool the floor felt under the soles of my feet. The temple has been dedicated to Nar Narayan and Swaminarayan. The idol of Nar Narayan Dev that is placed in the temple was established by Swaminarayan. The complete white structure of this temple will surely give a cooling sensation to your eyes.
Shree Swaminarayan Temple
Website: Shree Swaminarayan Temple
3. Aina Mahal
Aina Mahal was built during the rule of Lakhpatji in the middle of the 18th century. It is named the Aina Mahal because it has a mirrored hall. Visitors to Bhuj should certainly visit this beautiful palace, which has been turned into a museum. Lakhpatji was very much passionate about art, literature, music, and architecture, which is also shown in Aina Mahal. Ramsinh Malam converted the royal dream into a reality in the form of this mahal. The Aina Mahal is located in the northeast corner of Hamirsar Lake.
Website: Aina Mahak
4. Prag Mahal
The Prag Mahal is located next to the Aina Mahal and it was built in the 19th century. The Prag Mahal is tall and stately, with its Gothic style windows that act to attract visitors’ eyes. The whole palace was constructed in red sandstones. The interesting carvings done on walls and amazing art is the best attraction of this palace, and inside there are some yellow pictures, walls of trophies, and deer and lions mounted on the walls.
Website: Prag Mahal
5. Bhujia Fort
Bhujia Fort is not a popular place in Bhuj, but when I heard travelers talking about Bhujia Fort as India’s answer to the Great Wall of China, I could not stop myself from visiting this wonderful place. It is built on a top of a hill and protects the Kutch District from many invasions and is still used by the Indian Army today.
Website: Bhujia Fort
6. Hiralaxmi Memorial Craft Park
The Hiralaxmi Memorial Craft Park is a large crafts village that aims to protect ancient craft techniques and share them with the world. You can find skilled artisans in this village who create tie-dye, embroidery, weaving, block printings, and more. Even if crafts and arts are not your cup of tea, just sitting and watching the excellent artists will be a wonderful experience.
Hiralaxmi Memorial Craft Park
Website: Hiralaxmi Memorial Craft Park
7. Mata no Madh Temple
Situated 138 km (85.7 mi) away from the city of Bhuj, Mata no Madh Temple is a historic temple which is dedicated to Jadeja deities. During the earthquake of 1819 AD, the original 1,200 year old temple was destroyed. After that, Sunderji Saudagar constructed a new temple with more wonderful carvings and other artistic details. Gujaratis main festival, Navratri is celebrated here with great pomp and joy.
Mata no Madh
Website: Mata no Madh
8. Kalo Dungar (Black Hill)
Kalo Dungar is the highest point in Kutch at an elevation of 462 m (1,515 ft). From here, the horizon vanishes into the great desert. This is the only place in Kutch from where a panoramic view of Kutch can be seen. The hill is also famous for a 400-year-old temple to Dattatreya — the three headed incarnation of Lord Brahma. It is said that when Dattatreya walked on the Earth, he stopped at the Black Hill and found a band of jackals. Being a lord, he offered him his body to eat and as they ate, his body continually started regenerated. The only way to reach Kalo Dungar is to take a bus from Khavda on weekend evenings and return early in the morning. In the evening, you can enjoy beautiful sunrises here.
Website: Kalo Dungar
9. Narayan Sarovar Chinkara Sanctuary
The large Narayan Sarovar Chinkara Sanctuary is one of the distinct wildlife sanctuaries in Kutch. This sanctuary mostly includes desert thorn forests, scrub forests, dry savannah-type vegetation, and seasonal wetlands. You can find different 184 species of birds and 252 species of plants, like gorad, kerdo, and babul, in this sanctuary. This is the home to many mammals such as chinkara, wildcats, desert foxes, and wild boar.
Narayan Sarovar Chinkara Sanctuary
Website: Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary
Enjoy your travels in this small, adventurous city
This small city has many hotels and motels that will definitely fit your budget. Whether you are a vegetarian or meat-eater, you can find restaurants catering to your needs. You should not miss a ride on a tuk-tuk (auto rickshaws) if you are in Bhuj, because it is interesting, convenient, and cheaper in comparison to other vehicles. The best season to visit Bhuj is February, November, and December. Catch the beautiful sunset and keep exploring Bhuj, a place with rich history, ancient temples, tall hills, and a sense of serenity.
Get Trip101 in your inbox