Shri Swaminarayan Temple

Here’s Why You Should Stop At Bhuj Before Visiting The Great Rann

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Bhuj is a gateway for tourists who visit the Great Rann of Kutch. Before we reached the Rann, we took a stop at Bhuj to explore its rich history. Famous for traditional handicrafts, mirrorwork, colorful textiles, and embroidery, Bhuj is the headquarters of Kutch where artists come to sell their artworks. This is one of those places which one should not miss!

Located in the westmost extreme of Gujarat, Bhuj is about 330 Km away from Ahmedabad. Bhuj became a common name amongst the people of the country after the tragic earthquake that occurred in 2001.

It is said that Kutch was ruled by Naga chieftains in the past. Bhujang, the last Naga chieftain lived on a hill that came to be known as Bhujio Dungar/Bhujia Hill, and the town at the foothill was named Bhuj. Later, people began to worship Bhujang as a snake god which was called Bhujanga. People even built a temple at the top of this hill, dedicating it to him.

A Travel Guide To Bhuj – Why You Should Visit

Best Time To Visit

Here's Why You should Stop At Bhuj Before Visiting The Great Rann

As the summers are harsh and the rains are heavy, the best time to visit Bhuj is during the winter from December to February.

Network Availability

Jio, Airtel, and VI provide good network coverage in the city.

ATM Availability

Many ATMs are available across the city.

How To Reach?

By Air

Bhuj Airport (5 Km, Airport code: BHJ) is the closest domestic airport. The closest international airport is Sardar Vallabhai Patel International Airport (343 Km, Airport Code: AMD). From the airport, taxis are available round the clock. 

By Train

The nearest is Bhuj Railway Station (3 Km, Station code: BHUJ). It is the last station on the western railway line in the area. It has direct trains to cities like Ahmedabad, Surat, Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata, Jaipur, and Delhi.

By Road

Bhuj is well-connected by road to Ahmedabad, Rajkot, and Mumbai. You can book tickets using the state-run or private bus services to reach the destination.

Getting Around

Since Bhuj is a small city, it is easy to commute by bike or car. For local sightseeing, hire a tuk-tuk on a per-day basis. You can bargain with the drivers to get the cheapest rate.

Note: Ola and Uber cab services are not available yet.

Where To Stay?

You can get a decent hotel in Bhuj at around Rs. 500. We stayed at the Hotel Shyam Palace which is located in the main town. Here are a few recommendations.

 

Where To Eat?

Gujarati Thali India
Gujarati Thali

There is a lot of variety when it comes to food and snacks. There’s something for pretty much anything that you’re in the mood for. The Taajaas Food which is located near the Jubilee circle has some drool-worthy dishes. Since you’re in the state of Gujarat, you must try Dabeli, Fafda, and Dhokla. And oh! Don’t miss out on the famous Gujarati Thali, which is a feast for vegetarians. 

Note: Zomato and Swiggy are not available

Top Places To Visit In Bhuj

Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

Shri Swaminarayan Temple

The temple was first built in 1824 but was ruined because of the 2001 earthquakes. It took more than half a decade, 7 years to be precise, to restore this ancient marvel which was inaugurated in 2010. The new temple complex has about 7 towering pinnacles, 25 domes, 223 arches, and 258 pillars. Swaminarayan’s throne, the temple domes, and doors are all made of gold while the pillars and ceilings are of marble. All in all, this temple is majestic and flaunts its grand architecture in all its glory.

  • Timings: Open from 5:30 AM to 11:30 AM and 3:30 to 8.45 PM every day
  • Entry fee: Free

Prag Mahal And Clock Tower

Prag Mahal Palace

This 19th-century palace was named after Maharao Pragmalji II, who commissioned its construction. The architecture has an Indian gothic vibe to it and the palace is built with Italian marble and sandstone. The public has access to only one part and not the entire palace. Its Durbar hall is filled with numerous antiques, doorways, chandelier lights, and statues.

The animals are preserved and showcased by stuffing them or mounting them on walls. There is a 45-foot clock tower which you can climb. At the top, there is a huge bell and you can get the complete city view from there.

  • Timings: 9:30 AM to 12:15 PM and 3:00 PM to 5:45 PM
  • Entry Fee: Rs.30 and extra charges for the camera

Aina Mahal

Aina means mirror and mahal as you know means palace. This literally translates to the palace of mirrors. It is located next to the Prag Mahal and was built in the 18th century by Rao Lakhpatji. Designed with local aesthetics and decorated with glass, mirrors, and tiles of European fashion, this palace has numerous antiquities such as clocks, glassware, ceramics, ornaments, furniture, and paintings.

  • Timings: 9 AM to 12 PM and 3 PM to 6 PM
  • Entry fee: Rs.20 for adults, Rs. 10 for kids below 10 years, and Rs.50 for camera/phone

Bhujia Hill

Bhujia Hill Bhuj
Image Credits: Bhargavinf

The Bhujia Hill or Bhujio Dungar is situated on the outskirts of the city. The fort at the top is about 200 steps away from the summit. It was built by the rulers to overlook the city and a part of it now lies in ruins. There’ll be two major gates through which you need to pass to enter the fort.

When you reach the top you can witness a complete view of the surrounding land. The best time to visit this place is at dawn or dusk to catch the sky splashed with orange hues as the first or last rays of the sun pierce through the clouds. Fun fact, the hill separates the city of Bhuj and Madhapur town which is said to be one of the richest villages in Asia.

  • Timings: Open 24 hours but difficult to access in the dark.
  • Entry fee: Free

Kutch Museum

Kutch Museum Bhuj
Image Credits: Nizil Shah

One of the oldest museums in Gujarat, the Kutch Museum is the first online virtual museum in India. It was established in the year 1877 by Maharao Khengarji III and has the largest existing collection of Western satrap inscriptions dating back to the 1st century AD. It houses several ancient artifacts such as the extinct Kutchi script, a unique collection of coins including the Koris, and also Kutch’s local currency dating back to 1948.

The museum comprises two floors and about 11 sections including a picture gallery, textiles, weapons, musical instruments, and archeological and anthropological sections. There is also a special section dedicated to tribal cultures. On the ground floor, an airavat is displayed based on which a postal stamp was issued by the Indian Government in 1978.

  • Timings: 10 AM to 1 PM and 2:30 PM to 5:30 PM. Closed on Wednesday
  • Entry fee: Rs. 5 for adults

Hamirsar Lake

Hamirsar Lake Bhuj
View of Hamirsar Lake from Prag Mahal

Located in the heart of the city, Hamirsar Lake is a 450-year-old manmade lake named after the ruler Rao Hamir, the founder of Bhuj. It has a mid-lake garden similar to the Kankaria lake of Ahmedabad. You can visit this place at dusk, take a lakeside walk, or even sit and relax with your companions. From here you’ll also be able to see a distant view of the Prag Magal.

  • Timings: Open all time
  • Entry fee: Free

Ram Kund

Ram Kund Bhuj
Image Credits: Nizil Shah

Ramkund is a square step well with 56 steps on one side. It is located across from the Kutch Museum. It has many miniature idols carved on the wall. Being an open stepwell, the water is not clean and people come here to offer prayers. 

  • Timings: Open all time
  • Entry fee: Free

Chattardi or Chhatri

Chatri Bhuj

Located near the Hamirsar lake, the cenotaphs with umbrella-shaped domes belong to the royal family of Raos of Kutch. Among all, the cenotaph of Rao Lakhpatji is the largest. These cenotaphs were built of red stones with exquisite carvings in the 18th century. You can walk around here to absorb the broken beauty of these ancient ruins and click some photographs. It is one of the prime attractions for many tourists.

  • Timings: Open 24*7
  • Entry fee: Free

Other Places To Visit

About 60 Km from Bhuj, you can visit Vijay Vilas Palace and enjoy water sports at Mandvi beach which we skipped, but it will be worth your time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Bhuj safe?

Yes, Bhuj is safe for everyone. The people here are very kind and friendly.

How many days are required to visit Bhuj?

One day is enough to cover Bhuj as the places are closely connected.

How far is the Rann of Kutch from Bhuj?

The Rann of Kutch is about 78 Km away from Bhuj and it takes about 90 mins to reach there by car.

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