Bhuj- Gateway to the Rann of Kutch

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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.

bhuj gujarat

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.

bhuj things to do
places to visit in bhuj

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.

Rann utsav tent bhuj station

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:

Rann of kutch

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Itinerary for Bhuj & Rann of Kutch

Day 1

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

 

Day 2

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

Kalo dongar things to do in bhuj

Things to do in Bhuj & Places to visit in Bhuj

Aina mahal

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.

bhuj india

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.

aina mahal things to do in Bhuj

Prag Mahal

 

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.

Parag mahal
bhuj things to do

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!

things to do in bhuj
places to visit in bhuj

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.

Vande matram memorial places to visit in bhuj

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

  • Kutch Museum

  • Ramkund stepwell

  • Hamirsar Lake

  • Bhujio Fort

things to do in Bhuj

 

Shopping in Bhuj Gujarat

Shopping at rann utsav

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.

dabeli bhuj places to visit

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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.

places to visit in bhuj

 

Kutchi food in Bhuj

Most of the restaurants here are vegetarian only. Jalebi-fafda is the usual breakfast here. Though some of my friends were surprised at this, for us, this was a regular feature as we are surrounded by Guajaratis in Mumbai.
gujarati snacks 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.

gujarati thali 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.

places to visit in bhuj

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.

ghevar things to do in bhuj

How to Reach Bhuj

 

By Air

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.

 

By road

Bhuj is well-connected with various cities. The roads are excellent & a pleasure to drive on.

 

By train

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.

 
bhuj

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 

Gujarat.  

 

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.

Rann of kutch travel blog

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!

9 Thoughts on “Bhuj- Gateway to the Rann of Kutch

  1. I was going to say that this looks like a beautiful place to visit and then I noticed all of the food – now I’d go just to try some of that!

  2. Really helpful and detailed one.
    It seem that its a beautiful place. Ilarika is very curious to visit Dholavira. Surely it will be a great help whenver i plan my visit to this beautiful plave.
    All the very best.

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