Bhuj is a desert city, with its history dating back to kingdoms and empires, & palaces to take pride in. With numerous temples and traditional handicrafts, places to visit in Bhuj are plenty- and make it one of the unique cities in India. This city in the Kutch district of Gujarat was left devastated after the 2001 earthquake, but recovered quickly.
I had been looking forward to a visit to the Rann of Kutch on a full moon night. Finally, we made a weekend plan for Rann of Kutch, Bhuj & Mandvi.
While Bhuj Kutch is usually a pitstop for most of the travelers who wish to visit the Rann of Kutch, Bhuj is a destination by itself. It is worth taking out some time for exploring this beautiful city.
Bhuj Gujarat boasts of the hall of mirrors in the Aina Mahal, the bell tower of Prag Mahal, the sculptures in Ramkund stepwell, and the beautiful Hamirsar lake- all are lovely places to visit in Bhuj.
In fact, Gujarat state, Kutch in particular, is a region full of culture and art. Its cities are a blend of history, vibrance and colours resulting in many places to visit in Bhuj.
My trip from Mumbai to Kutch
We took the night train from Mumbai to Kutch, there are 2-3 trains with different timings. We booked the Kutch Express leaving Mumbai at 5.45pm reaching Bhuj at 8.50am, so we could use the entire day. The train journey was comfortable & we got down at various stations on the way to taste the local food as well.
Many people use the Ahmedabad route, going to Ahmedabad & then coming to Kutch, which is good if you haven’t been to Ahmedabad before.
We returned via Bhuj Express leaving Bhuj Kutch at 10.45pm & reaching Dadar at 1.45pm.
Bhuj also has an airport & has flights from Mumbai.
Arrangements for Rann tent city from Bhuj Station
For those who have booked the Rann Utsav tent city package, pickup is right from the station. There was a huge tent put up by the Rann Utsav organisers right outside. It had a reception counter, arrangements for tea & washroom, porters & seating arrangement as the departures for Rann Utsav are at fixed intervals.
So the ones who’re coming for the first time & are wondering whether the pickup etc. is convenient, yes it is. And it’s right outside the station where you can’t miss it.
Below is the Bhuj travel guide according to which I planned my trip, have a look. Though play around and see what travel guide for Bhuj suits you best:
Itinerary for Bhuj & Rann of Kutch
Reached Bhuj Kutch in the morning
Had breakfast at Bhuj- visited Kalo Dungar & India Bridge next
Hotel & lunch
Evening, around 5 ,went to Rann & stayed till 8 pm
Stopped at Rann Utsav market
Dinner & went to non touristy Rann
Checked out from the hotel & local sightseeing- Prag mahal, Aina mahal
Mandvi after traditional kutchi lunch- Vijay vilas palace & beach
Back at Bhuj -Vande Mataram Memorial with light & sound show
Train to Mumbai
Things to do in Bhuj & Places to visit in Bhuj
Built in the traditional Kutchi style, the palaces of Bhuj are magnificent. And make some of the most beautiful places to visit in Bhuj. Aina Mahal, literally meaning Palace of Mirrors was built in the 18th century & is located in the old city. The designer of the palace had lived in Europe for many years & it shows in this palace.
The palace floors are full of blue delftware tiles and the marble walls are embedded with mirrors. There are hanging chandeliers with shade of Venetian glass. The Hall of Mirrors within this palace is absolutely worth watching- it’s one of the most magical things to do in Bhuj.
Tho, it was damaged in the 2001 Gujarat earthquake and part of the building was restored. The ruins are still visible next to the palace.
Next to the Aina Mahal, is the Prag Mahal , which was built towards the end of the 19th century. Prag Mahal, named after Rao Pragmalji II, is in Italian Gothic style. It has a clock towering at 45 feet, from where you can see the entire Bhuj city! Mark it high on the list of places to visit in Bhuj.
The 2001 Gujarat earthquake severely damaged this palace in Bhuj Gujarat. In 2006, the palace was burgled too.
The palace and the tower have now been repaired, after Amitabh Bachchan himself took interest in its restoration.
Both the palaces miss a decent washroom, so come prepared. 🙂
Tropic of Cancer
In India, the Tropic of Cancer passes through 8 States – one of them being Gujarat.
On the way from Bhuj to Rann of Kutch, you will see the board of Gujarat Tourism announcing the imaginary line of Tropic of Cancer passing through the road. It was great fun to get down & pose here. One of the fun things to do in Bhuj haha!
Vande Mataram Memorial
The Vande Mataram Memorial is a unique national Monument in Bhuj Kutch which was built to commemorate the most historic episodes in India’s freedom struggle from British Rule.
It is located over a huge complex at Bhuj comprising a Parliament Building, India Gate, Yellow Fort, statues of Gandhiji & other leaders. With landscaped gardens & fountains, it is very pleasing to spend an evening here.
It also houses Hiralaxmi Craft Park, which offers local artisans from across villages in Kutch.
Don’t miss the light & sound show in the evening based on our freedom struggle- a must amongst the many things to do in Bhuj.
Other places to visit in Bhuj Kutch
Shree Swaminarayan Temple
Shopping in Bhuj Gujarat
Bhuj is a delight for the visitors looking to buy traditional clothes, ornaments & handicrafts. There are shops selling these near Aina & Prag mahal. There’s a whole bhujodi market near Vande Mataram Memorial selling kurtis, jackets, sarees , ornaments etc.
Also, remember to buy snacks & sweets from Bhuj Kutch.
What is the best time to visit Bhuj?
October-Feb is the best time for places to visit in Bhuj and things to do in Bhuj.
The weather is nice, and it is also time for the Rann Utsav in Kutch. Summers (March-June) are quite hot and should be avoided. Monsoons are also warm and humid and make the sightseeing uncomfortable.
Kutchi food in Bhuj
Kutchi dabeli is one of the must have snacks during your stay there. Also, try the chai available at local stalls on the streets, which is usually served in saucers. These are some of the local things to do in Bhuj.
Other than this, something not to miss is the Gujarati thali, put together with Rotlas, Vegetables, Sev Tomato, Lentils, Kadhi and much more. We ate at Umiyaji Dining hall for their traditional thali.
The other Gujarati dishes to try include Dhokla, Fafda, Thepala, Khandvi, Hahdwoh, Oondhiya, Ganthia as well as sweets like Puran Poli, Ghevar, Basundi and more.
How to Reach Bhuj
Rudra Mata Airport is Bhuj city’s own airport. This domestic airport is situated about 5.5 to 9 km from the Bhuj city centre and can be covered by a 15 to 20-minute drive There are direct flights from Mumbai, and connecting flights are available from major cities.
Bhuj is well-connected with various cities. The roads are excellent & a pleasure to drive on.
Bhuj Railway Station is roughly 4kms from the main city and can be reached by taxi/car in 15mins.Often it is the starting point for the Rann of Kutch trip. The pickup point for the Rann tent package is right outside the station.
Local transport in Bhuj Kutch
Autos, also known as tuk-tuks, are the best way to travel within the city. It’s convenient, easy and even cheaper if you know how to bargain.
Common Questions About Things To Do In Bhuj
Q. Where is Bhuj located?
A. Bhuj is located in Gujarat. For most people it’s just a pitstop on their way to Kutch, I’d highly recommend you take your sweet time exploring the city.
Q. What is the best time to visit Bhuj?
A. The weather from October to February is lovely so one can explore the city quite comfortably. Summers are really hot and the monsoon too is humid, if not hot.
Q. What can I do in Bhuj?
A. There are quite a few interesting things to do in Bhuj. From delving into the Bujori Crafts Village’s history to being a part of the Rann Utsav or exploring the wonderful Vijay Vilas Palace or enjoying a Camel Ride, the things to do in Bhuj are endless.
Q. What can I shop for in Bhuj?
A. You can shop at the many interesting spots selling glass beadwork, beautiful embroidered cloth pieces and vegetable dyed products in Bhuj.
Q. Where is Vijay Vilas Palace?
A. Vijay Vilas Palace is located in Mandvi which is about 32 kilometers away from Bhuj. The palace is known for its iconic structure and is one of the most well-recognized landmarks in
Q. How can I reach Bhuj?
A. Bhuj Railway station is in the main city and has excellent port connectivity. The airport has amazing domestic connectivity. You will also find many state transport buses traveling to the destination.
Q. When is the Rann Utsav celebrated?
A. Rann Utsav in Bhuj is celebrated during the months of November to March every year and lures thousands towards this town.
Places Around Bhuj Kutch
There are villages around Bhuj, which offer a cultural fiesta to the explorer. Special permits have to be accessed from the local government offices in Bhuj Kutch to visit these villages.
Rann of Kutch is the most popular tourist hub near Bhuj.
Dholavira is an ancient spot related to the Indus Valley Civilization.
Places to visit near Mandvi being the Vijay Vilas palace & beaches are important too. Places to visit in Bhuj and around are plenty!