Bhuj, the major town of Kutch, is an old walled city-in the past the city gates were locked each night from dusk to dawn. You can lose yourself for hours in the intricate maze-like streets and alleyways of this fascinating town. There are walls within walls, attractive crenelated gateways, old palaces with intricately carved wooden pavilions, and striking, brightly decorated Hindu temples. Bhuj resembles much of India before the tourist invasion, and you’re much more likely to come across that disarming hospitality which was once the hallmark of rural India. Unfortunately if there has been no monsoon, the picturesque lake remains dry. Bhuj has an average elevation of 110 meters. On the eastern side of the town is a hill known as Bhujiyo Dungar, on which there is Bhujia Fort that separates Bhuj city and Madhapar town. It has one big lake named Hamisar and several small lakes. The old city was surrounded by the fort-wall which had five major gates; Mahadev, Patvadi, Sirpat, Bhidval and Vaniyavad; and one small gate known as Chhathi Bari (Sixth Window). The fort-wall is thirty five feet high and four feet thick armed with fifty-one guns in past. Much of the fort wall has either fallen down or been demolished, due to the city’s development and the earthquake of 2001.
Bhuj, formerly sacred to the snake Bhujang, was established by Rao Hamirji in 1510 and was made the capital of Kutch state by Rao Khengarji I in 1549. Its foundation stone as state capital was formally laid on approx. 25 January 1548. On 21 July 1956 as well as on 26 January 2001, the city was struck by a major earthquake which caused a great loss of life and property. Many parts of Bhuj were demolished due to the extensive damage whilst others were repaired. There has been a great progress in the city since the 2001 earthquake, with considerable improvements to roads, transport and infrastructure.
Bhuj is a famous destination for shopping of handicraft work life bandhni (tie-dye) and leatherwork. Artists of nearby villages bring their artwork for sale in Bhuj haat which is situated near jubilee ground. Bhuj is famous for the jolly nature of its citizens, who usually go to the surroundings of Hamirsar Lake to relax. Bhuj is also famous for its food, especially pakvans, dabelies. Bhuj is famous for its Gujarati thali which is unlimited Gujarati food. Hotel green rock near bus station is a good place to have Gujarati thali.
Alfred High School, the first high school of Kutch, established in 1870, is also an architectural heritage of the town. Krantiguru Shyamji Krishna Verma Kutch University is located in Bhuj. The university has 28 colleges affiliated, seven of which are in Bhuj. The university gives degrees in Arts, Science, Commerce, Law Education, Management Pharmacy, Social Welfare, Medicine and Engineering.
Main Events and Places to visit in Bhuj.
- Rannotsav in December
- Makar Sankranti in January
- Navratri in October or November
- Janmashtami in August or September
- White Desert
- Shree Swaminarayan Temple Bhuj
- Mata no Madh
- Dattatreya Temple at Kalo Dungar
- Kutch Museum
- Kranti Tirth for Shyamaji Krishna Varma
- Bhujia Hill
- Aina Mahal
- Khamir-Kutch Heritage Art & Craft Music Information Resources
- Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary
- Prag Mahal Palace
- Kutch Fossil Park
- Hiralakshmi Memorial Craft Park
- Siddha Shree Dhoramnath Monastery
- Hamisar Lake
- Hill Garden
- Local Market
- Shree Krishna Pranami Tempal
- Dhoramnath Temple
- Bhartiya Sanskruti Darshan Museum
- Kakkadbhit Yaksha
- Aath Koti Nani Paksh Jain Sthanak
- Guru Gorakhnath Temple
- Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary
- Kutch Desert Wild Life Sanctuary
- Kutch Bustard Sanctuary
- Banni Grassland Reserve
- Chari-Dhand Wetland Conservation Reserve
Bhuj is connected to Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Gandhinagar, Bangalore, Pune and other major cities of India by railway trains. It has a domestic airport from which daily flights connect to Mumbai, with flights operated by Jet Airways and Air India. State Transport buses are available from the ST stand in the middle of the town to various places in Gujarat. Additionally, many private tour operators also run frequent buses to major cities in and outside Gujarat. Kandla Airport is 53 km from Bhuj. The city can be navigated by the city bus and auto-rickshaw.