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Explore Bhuj – A Relic of the Indus Valley Civilisation

As someone  leading a busy life while living in Mumbai, I often find myself feeling the need to escape from my hectic and monotonous routine. And a  few weeks back, while at a friend’s birthday party, I got just the inspiration I needed for my next trip. I was sitting with my friends and the conversation suddenly shifted to the sharing of incredible travel experiences. One of my friends, who had recently travelled to Gujarat, started narrating his experiences, which focused especially on some unique places to visit in Bhuj. As he spoke more and more about the splendid desert, centuries-old buildings, and a deep sense of serenity, I felt the urge to plan a trip to the city rising to a crescendo.

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I came back home and spent the whole night reading several blogs and looking at plenty of images of this fantastic tourist location in India. I found out that Bhuj connects people to a variety of civilizations and allows you to experience the ancient archaeological remnants of the Indus Valley Civilization. Moreover, there are places associated with the Mahabharata, and Alexander the Great. Needless to say, by the break of dawn – enamoured with the promises of this ancient city – I knew that Bhuj simply had to be my next vacation spot.

The following day, on my way back from the morning walk, I couldn’t resist entering Bandra Station. I wanted to find details of trains that connected Mumbai with Bhuj as my innate spontaneity was urging me to set off on this trip as soon as possible.  

After checking the availability of seats, I managed to book a ticket on an afternoon train set to depart the coming weekend. Soon, but after a wait longer than I would have liked, the day of my travel arrived and with great enthusiasm, I boarded the train to Bhuj. The train reached its destination the next day around 8 a.m. I had already booked a taxi in advance. Hence, a chauffeur-driven car was waiting for me at the railway station, and the city being small, I reached the hotel in 15 minutes. Once there, I went to my pre-booked room, and luckily, my first thought as I walked in was ‘it is well worth the money.’ 

After unwinding with a quick shower, I went down to hunt for a guide to help me get to the best temples, hills, as well as the famous Harmirsar Lake. My friend had suggested that I hire a local guide, and I quite liked his idea that when you interact with the local people, you have a much more holistic experience in terms of getting to know about the place, its history, food, and festivals. 

And now that I’ve explored almost every nook of Bhuj, with the help of this article, I will arm you with all the information you need regarding the best places to visit in Bhuj for a fruitful and fulfilling journey!

Top 6 Places to Visit in Bhuj:

  1. Shri Swaminarayan Temple
  2. Aina Mahal
  3. Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary
  4. Mandvi Beach
  5. Prag Mahal
  6. Koteshwar Temple

1. Shri Swaminarayan Temple

Shri Swaminarayan Temple

Shri Swaminarayan Temple is a great place to visit for tourists. This temple of Narayan Dev and Harikrishna Maharaj was built in 1822  near the beautiful Hamirsar Lake. In fact, it was the first to be built among the Sampraday Swaminarayan temples. The architecture of this temple truly amazed me. It is a masterpiece made of marble. I was surprised by the beauty of this place. The white structure mesmerized me by pleasing both my eyes and my heart.

The exact location of this place: Tirth Dham, Opposite the City Police Station, Bhuj, Gujarat.

Timings to visit: You can visit this place in between 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Barring any special holidays, this temple is open every day for devotees to visit.

The speciality of this place: There are rare statues of Narnarayan Dev and Harikrishna Maharaj.

2. Aina Mahal

One of the most famous historical places to visit in Bhuj, Aina Mahal was Maharao Lakhpatji’s palace. As its name suggests, it is a palace of mirrors, with its Kutchi style of architecture taking it to the next level.

The main attraction of this palace for tourists it that it has glass exhibits on its walls, pillars, windows and ceilings. This makes the surroundings shine, creating a magical glittering effect. If you are an art lover or history buff, you should definitely visit this place once.

The exact location of this place: Maharao of Kutch, Darbargadh, Gujarat.

Timings to visit: You can visit this temple between 9:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 5.45 p.m. This place is usually open every day for visitors.

The owner of this place: Aina Mahal Trust

3. Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary

Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary

This wildlife sanctuary is situated in the Rann of Kutch and was declared as such in 1986. It has one of the most extensive saline wetlands with water depth ranging between 0.5 to 1.5 meters approximately.

This wildlife sanctuary has a lot of rare species of animals. If you visit this place, you could be lucky enough to see Indian porcupines, greater flamingos, spiny-tailed lizards, Indian cormorants and black-necked storks. 

Owing to the intensity of the desert sun, this is a perfect place to visit in winters for all tourists and travellers.

Exact location of this place: Rann, Dholavira, Kutch, Gujarat.

Speciality of this place: The chance to see rare and unusual species of animals in their natural habitat. 

Timings to visit: You can visit anytime in between 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

4. Mandvi Beach

If you are a beach-lover, then Mandvi Beach is one of the best places to visit in Bhuj for you. This fantastic beach is situated in Kutch of Bhuj. I loved the pristine shores of this beach. It is peaceful and if you want to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, this beach is the place for you. And most amazingly, this place seemed to be a lot cleaner as compared to other popular tourist spots. 

This famous beach also has many water sports and activities in addition to sightseeing. Many tourists enjoy camping here every year. 

The best thing about Mandvi beach is that even though it is so beautiful, it is not crowded. So, if you are a fan of clean water and want to be closer to nature, I will suggest you to visit Mandvi Beach.

The exact location of this place: Vijay Vilas Palace Estate, Mandvi, Bhuj, Gujarat

Speciality of this place: Mandvi beach is one of the fourteen beaches chosen to promote beach tourism by the state.

5. Prag Mahal

Prag Mahal

This mahal is situated in Bhuj and goes perfectly with the traditional feel of the town. When it comes to architecture, Prag Mahal is one of the finest architectural marvels to exist in India. This palace was built in the 19th century and perfectly preserves and depicts the era. 

Prag Mahal has windows made in a gothic style. You will get to see Corinthian pillars here. The facade of this place is mostly made of red sandstone with ancient carvings adorning the walls. Prag Mahal has the second tallest clock tower in India so you can have a gorgeous view of the skies from atop it. If you have the desire to view the most exquisite artwork ever to exist, visit this place.

The exact location of this place: Darbar Gadh Road, Dhatia Falia, Bhuj, Gujarat.

Timings to visit: Tourists can visit this place between 9:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and then 3:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.

The speciality of this place: Prag Mahal has been built using unique Rajasthani sandstone and Italian marble. It has a clock tower that stands 45 feet tall allowing you to watch the whole city of Bhuj from its top. You can also visit a temple which exists behind the mahal and has beautifully carved stonework.

6. Koteshwar Temple

This temple, located near Narayan Sarover, is very popular among the devotees of Shiva. The sea coupled with the spiritual vibes of the Koteshwar temple made for an amazing experience. This place has an amazing architecture and I was not able to take my eyes off the awe-inspiring figure of Lord Shiva. On the occasion of Shivratri, Koteshwar temple is filled with devotees coming from various corners of the country.

The exact location of this place: Narayan Sarovar, Bhuj, Gujarat. The speciality of this place: You will get to see one of the rarest figures of Lord Shiva here. So, these are my top picks of places to visit in Bhuj while exploring Gujarat. I hope you have a great time!

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