One of the most captivating cities in Gujarat is Bhuj, the capital of Kutch and the home of ancient palaces with impressive dining rooms and glittering artefacts. Almost completely destroyed by a huge earthquake in 2001, the city has mostly been rebuilt but most of the architecture and palaces still hold reminders of the horrific destruction.
Bhuj’s museums are great for learning about the city’s history, and you’ll find shops selling high-quality textiles in the maze of narrow noisy streets. Explore the surrounding villages, places of natural beauty, and learn about the booming textile industry that attracts visitors from around the world.
The beautiful Aina Mahal palace was the former residence of Maharao Lakhpatji who ruled Bhuj in the mid-eighteenth century. It was built by a sailor from Dwarka who had studied European arts and crafts on his many voyages.
Only the lower floor storey of the palace is open, as the top floor was lost in the 2001 earthquake, but there are plenty of treasures to discover in the ‘Palace of Mirrors’. A massive 15.2m scroll portrays a Kachchh state procession, the decoratively mirrored interior has been designed in a European style, and there are fantastic views of from the top of the tower. Head to the Fuvara Mahal room, where fountains splashed merrily around the King while he watched dances or wrote poems.
Another palace damaged by the earthquake is the 19th-century Prag Mahal. Its ethereal Durbar Hall still adorned with vast chandeliers is still very impressive, as are the gold-skirted statues and the maharajah's taxidermy collection. Bollywood fans might recognise this former regal residence from the cricket film Lagaan.
Gujarat’s oldest museum covers everything from Kachchh tribal costumes and artefacts to geography, wildlife and weapons. After a visit to the Kutch Museum, the vast Hamirsar Tank is just a few steps away, with a small park on its central island.
You can visit Bhuj on our Highlights of Gujarat Tour or as part of your own bespoke Indian holiday. Contact our travel experts on 01792 315499 or email firstname.lastname@example.org