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Bhuj

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.

Sightseeing:

Aina Mahal:

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.

Pragmal Palace:

The palace opposite Aina Mahal, was built in 1797. Its tower and Corinthian pillars display strong British influence through its floral patterns.

Kachchh Museum:

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.

Ethnology Museum:

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.

Kakkadbhit Yaksha:

The famous rock edicts of Ashoka, inscribed in the third century BC, are located at Dhauli, around 8 km from Bhubaneswar. The carnage that followed the Kalinga War transformed the emperor, and he came here some 2,300 years ago to seek salvation. It is also believed that Ashoka set out to preach Buddhism from Dhauli. A white stupa (pillar), built in collaboration with Japanese Buddhists, is located on the hills and can be seen from miles away.

Excursions From Bhuj:

Anjar:
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.

Tunda Vandha:
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.

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