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Explore Tourist attractions in Kutch Gujarat

It's most likely because of the way it's shaped; however navigating in Gujarat is no simple task. Since Bhuj is a huge traveler attraction in the Kutch area, we were quite positiv...

It's most likely because of the way it's shaped; however navigating in Gujarat is no simple task. Since Bhuj is a huge traveler attraction in the Kutch area, we were quite positive that buses/trains to there would be easy to discover ... err, not a lot! We would have to take 3 trains to obtain to Bhuj from Junagad. When it comes to buses, there were no direct ones, so yesterday morning, we took an a/c bus to Rajkot (2 hours ride), one of the biggest cities in Saurashtra. There we discovered that just ONE travel bureau ran buses to Bhuj! Luckily, we found seats in their air-conditioned bus that leaves Rajkot at twelve noon and gets to Bhuj in 5 hours.

Unfortunately, the day that we chose to land in Bhuj likewise ended up being the week of a big, fat, Indian wedding event in the location. So the bride-to-be's daddy-dearest had actually completely scheduled out all the spaces in the city's best hotels. Madhu had singled out Hotel Prince, a 3-star hotel, as our choice of stay however so the wedding party had; there were no spaces offered! We tried their sis hotel, Prince Residency, and they were reserved out too. Just when we were questioning where to go next, Hotel Prince miraculously created a Deluxe, double-room offered for 2 nights; we were wishing for the less expensive Standard room however were grateful for anything available, so we got the Deluxe space immediately.

Today we awakened late and relaxed in our terrific room till twelve noon. After lunch, we headed out to see Bhuj's piece de resistance- the Aina Mahal ('Hall of Mirrors'). The 2001 earthquake had actually damaged the majority of Bhuj's terrific architecture, leaving the structures absolutely devastated. Luckily, the manager at Aina Mahal and his staff have actually handled to fix the majority of the damage and rebuild the Mahal partially; a few of the spaces are still closed and under upkeep. The reception hall of the mahal is a small museum revealing artifacts from the life of the then rulers. Here we satisfied the curator, Mr. Jethi who has been mentioned kindly in LP. We were happy to fulfill him and discover more about the palace.

Integrated in the 18th century under the rule of Maharaja Lakhpathji, the Aina Mahal has probably the most dhinchak (for non-Mumbayites this indicates 'glitzy; nearly gaudy') interiors I've ever seen. From ceiling to floorings, it is decorated with mud-work, tile-work, mirrors, paintings, hurricane glass-lanterns and embellished diya-holders. It was all really vibrant and very intriguing. The first room we got in was the highlight of the Mahal. It has a floating platform in the center, which is surrounded by water and fountains on all 4 sides. There are 3 wood walkways to the main platform, which has a prettily-carved, ivory throne with a lovely, embroidered, fan hanging atop it. This is where the Maharaja sat and was entertained by musicians and dancers. The water and water fountains kept the air cool even throughout the scorching summer seasons of Kutchch-- aah, the life of a king!

The Kutchch area is widely known for its tribal handicrafts and this is being promoted quite seriously by the govt to help the local economy. Many trusts have actually been setup that work closely with the regional craftsmens and assist market their items. LP had mentioned that Mr. Jethi would help with trips to the villages around Bhuj that produce such handicrafts. When we talked to him about this, he said he could set up a vehicle to take us to 3 different towns outside Bhuj to see embroidery, hand-weaving and block printing utilizing natural dyes. We happily registered for it-- the trip would be 9am the next early morning.

Next to Aina Mahal is the newer Prag Mahal, which was apparently utilized as a set for the movie Lagaan. But it has actually not been preserved at all! Mr. Jethi warned us that there's nothing inside it to see, however given that we had nothing better to do, we paid Rs.12 each to visit the palace. How I wish we had actually listened to Mr. Jethi! The palace is entirely in ruins. Pigeons have made it their home-- there's bird poop and litter everywhere. The earthquake had actually damaged quite a couple of things and nobody had actually bothered to clean it up or repair it. It would have been an excellent set for a Ramsay scary flick-- wonder what the Lagaan guys used it for-- got to see that movie once again!

Later on we strolled thru Shroff fair, which has numerous shops selling the fantastic embroidery and bandhani work that Gujarat is well-known for. The marketplace was reasonably clean so it was simple to walk about and do some window-shopping. The most appealing of them were the sari shops-- they had the most delightful saris curtained in the windows-- LOVED looking at them!

Our next and last stop for the day was the Kutchch museum run by the state govt. This is housed in a beautiful, British-era structure with a green yard in the front. Surprisingly, the entry fee was just Rs.2 per head however this was primarily since it is a very small museum. The ground floor had life-sized displays of the numerous tribal neighborhoods in the Kutchch location, explaining their lifestyle, work and garments. It was well laid out and rather helpful. The flooring above displayed all the fabrics that are produced in this area. Madhu took about 10 pictures and had to pay Rs.2 for each of them-- an unusual system!

Later on we strolled through the main market locationFree Articles, purchased a couple of books to read and headed back to our hotel for a restful evening.

Article Tags: Hotel Prince, Aina Mahal

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