|Bhuj was founded in 1548 AD by Rao Khengarji I, starting a dynasty of jadeja rulers that ruled over Kachchh for 400 years. And so, the old walled city of Bhuj is the most important town in the area. The place lies at the heart of Kutch and is linked by many roads to the rest of the peninsula. The cenotaphs, erected at the royal cremation ground as memorials to the former rulers and the CHHATRI of Rao Lakhpatji who died in 1761, are fine specimen of Kachchhi architecture. Tourists should have a look at the interior, which has a stone tablet in memory of the ruler and 15 of his consorts. The exterior walls bear sculptures of deities, hunting scenes, animals and couples in local Costumes. Also in Bhuj are the Aina Mahal or Glass Palace which was built in the 18th century, the Kutch Museum, which is Gujarat’s oldest, and the Bharatiya Sanskruti Darshan complex is renowned for its Ram Leela Frescoes and other timeless objects d'art. The rural bazaars of Bhuj sell its exquisite handicrafts, where icons of old customs and traditions are still alive in handicrafts, embroidered fabrics, leatherware, carved and lacquered furniture and metal ware, especially, old silver ware.
Bhuj offers various sightseeing options which includes Aina Mahal which now serves as a museum, was built during the rule of Rao Lakhpatji. It now stands as a repository of the culture and history of Kachchh. Also visit Pragmal Palace which is opposite to Aina Mahal. Also visit Kachchh Museum, the oldest Museum in Gujarat established in 1877. Visit Ethnology Museum which is having unique collection of books and paintings. Visit Kakkadbhit Yaksha situated on a small hillock with 72 idols of Yaksha or Jakhs, who are believed to have come from Iran.
Bhuj offers various excursions including Mata no Madh, which is famous for a temple dedicated to the deity of Jadejas. Also visit Kalo Dungar the low hills and hillocks lend the beauty and mystique to the rann, which has lured the adventurers through ages. Visit Banni and Khavda villages where people make ornaments, clothes and utensils. Tunda Vandha is a unique Rabari village in this village most of the male population is generally away from the village. Also visit Anjar which is famous for the shrine of Jesal and Toral, the folklore duo wherein the tough outlaw Jesal was chastised by Toral, a Kachchhi woman; is also a centre of fairs.
The Aina Mahal, which now serves as a museum, was built during the rule of Rao Lakhpatji. It now stands as a repository of the culture and history of Kachchh. As referred above, the building bears the influence of its architect Ramsang Malam who was exposed to European style during his long sojourn to Holland.
The palace opposite Aina Mahal, was built in 1797. Its tower and Corinthian pillars display strong British influence through its floral patterns.
The oldest Museum in Gujarat was established in 1877. It is unique in having the largest collection of Kshatrapa inscriptions, for its gold and silver ornaments, textiles, armoury and other exhibits.
This place is recommended for its rich collection of books and paintings of prominent Kachchhis. On the outskirts of the town is the Bhujia hill fort, which is still in good condition and has at its top the Temple of Bhujang Naag or serpent, the guardian deity of the city. To the west of the town is Hamirsagar Lake, visited by holidaymakers.
A few kilometers from Punareshwar, Kakkadbhit Yaksha is located along the highway. It is situated on a small hillock with 72 idols of Yaksha or Jakhs, who are believed to have come from Iran. In the opinion of the scholars they were the first batch of Parsi migrants who reached Jakhau due to a shipwreck. The memorial at Kakkadbhit is created in honour of their many acts of sacrifice and bravery on behalf of the local people, against the tyrannical rule of the then ruler Punarvo.
Excursions for Bhuj
Popularly known for the shrine of Jesal and Toral, the folklore duo wherein the tough outlaw Jesal was chastised by Toral, a Kachchhi woman; is also a centre of fairs. Also the bungalow of James Macmurdo contains remarkable examples of the art of Kutch. The visitors who want to carry home the Kachchhi souvenirs should visit Anjar for its famous block-printing works, nutcrackers, scissors and penknives.
Banni / Khavda
The last village on the border is a Desertland of infinite dimensions, and in its midst, quaint little villages suspended in Time. Here you will come across master craft people\' expositioning their traditional art, turning our master pieces everyday. Their ornaments, clothes, utensils, everything they use - will make you feel as if you have stepped into lifestyle museum leaving you spellbound.
Kalo Dungar (Dhinodhar)
The Black Hills of Kachchh are a common geographic feature of the district. The low hills and hillocks lend the beauty and mystique to the rann, which has lured the adventurers through ages. Kalo dungar is the tallest hillock in Kachchh with a shrine dedicated to Lord Dattatreya on the top. A fair is held here on the Janmashtami day every year. Visit to the top of the hill also affords magnificent view of the Rann.
Mata no Madh
Further west of Kakkadbhit is a temple dedicated to the deity of Jadejas, the erstwhile rulers of Kutch. The original temple, which was demolished in the earthquake of 1819, was believed to be 1200 years old. Sunderji Saudagar built a new temple in its place with unique architectural expositions of dimensions and space. The main structure rises to the height of 52 feet. Navratri is also celebrated here.
A unique Rabari village, it has about 125 exquisitely designed Kachchhi huts inhabited by about 400 Rabaris. Most of the male population is generally away from the village. The interiors of the huts present a pleasant spectacle of native art. A chat with the womenfolk will introduce visitors to this insulated and pristine culture, a world so different.
• Area 257 sq. km
• Population (1991) 936991
• Altitude 122 m above sea level
• Languages Hindi, English, and Gujarati
• Best Time to Visit October-March
• STD Code 02832