Bhuj, the major town of Kutch, is an old walled city. The walls enclose the palace along with the entire bazaar area and a lake. The bazaar is lively and extremely colourful. There are walls within walls, crenellated gateways, old palaces with intricately carved wooden pavilions, Hindu temples and camels pulling huge cartfuls of produce into the various markets. All this exists right next to one of the largest Indian Air Force bases in the country. Aina Mahal (Old Palace) : It is built in traditional Kutchi style and is in a small fortified courtyard in the old part of the city.It is a beautifully presented museum and is the highlight of Bhuj. The entrance to the palace houses the tourist office, and this is also the site of the Maharao Sinh Madansinhji Museum, which has a varied collection of paintings, photos and embroideries. There is also a collection of old princely-state coins. The real attraction are the rooms known as the Fuvara Mahal and Hira Mahal. The Fuvara Mahal is a room devoted entirely to leisure. Most of the floor area is an ornamental pool, lined with tiles. In the centre of the pool is a small platform. The Hira Mahal has some superb embroidery pieces. Prag Mahal (New Palace) : Across the courtyard from the Aina Mahal is the new palace, an ornate Italianate marble and sandstone building. Parts of it are now used for government offices but the vast and amazingly kitsch Darbar Hall and the clock tower are open to the public. High up on the walls of this hall are portraits of past maharaos. The clock tower adjacent to the Darbar Hall is well worth climbing for the superb views.



Kutch Museum : Built in 1877, it is the oldest museum in Gujarat and has an excellent collection. The well-maintained and labelled exhibits include a picture gallery, an anthropological section, archaeological finds,textiles, weapons, musical instruments and shipping section. Sarad Bagh Palace : This palace has been turned into a small museum. Set in spacious and beautifully tended gardens, the palace is of very modest proportions, with just a drawing room and bedroom. The dining room is in a separate building and on display here are a number of the maharao's personal possessions, including his video player. Other Attractions : A huge old wall stretches around the hills overlooking the city-the view is best from near the railway station but now it is a restricted military area. The very colourful and richly decorated Swaminarayan Temple is near the bazaar.



If you are genuinely interested in the embroidery from the various Kutch villages, get in touch with Mr. A A Wazir. Some of the emroidery pieces are for sale but most are for display and exhibition only.



GETTING THERE AND AWAY AIR The Indian Airlines office have a minibus which connects with all incoming and outgoing flights. Indian Airlines flies Bombay-Jamnagar-Bhuj-Bombay five times a week. BUS Buses run to other centres in Gujarat including Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Kandla Port. The private bus companies have their offices in the bus station area, and have services to Rajkot. For Jaisalmer in Rajasthan there are no direct services, so you need to go first to Palanpur, and take a bus from there to Barmer, and yet another on to Jaisalmer. TRAIN New Bhuj Railway station is one km north of town. There are daily connections with Ahmedabad via Palampur, and there are through carriages direct to Jodhpur and Delhi. As the direct train to Ahmedabad goes the long route via Palanpur, it is much quicker to take a local train or bus to Gandhidham, and then catch the nightly Gandhidham-Kutch Express which does the 300-km journey to Ahmedabad in six hours.

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