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Kutch - Quick Facts

Area: 45,674 Km.
Population: 2,092,371
Altitude: 974 Ft.
Clothing: Winter- Light Woolen Summer- Cotton
Season: October to early April
Rainfall: 14 inches (aprox)
Language: Gujarati, Hindi


Founded only recently in 1548, Bhuj is the central town of Kutch. It was set up when Khengarji I of the Rao dynasty of Kutch shifted his capital from the town of Anjar. Due to its close proximity to the sea, which facilitated trade, a lot of cultural interaction took place. Even today, the city of Bhuj presents exciting amalgams of the Orient and the Occident especially in terms of architecture. Breathtaking vistas, intriguing history, an abundance of tradition, color, and enchantment-this is Kutch, the perfect host for anyone's next vacation. Remote and strange could best sum up the Kutch experience. And yet, the region remains unsurpassed in terms of beauty, exuberance, and color that no one with a taste for adventure, excitement, and the exotic would like to miss. Lying in the westernmost part of Gujarat, Kutch becomes an island where during the monsoon months the Gulf of Kutch is separated from the Kathiawar Peninsula. To the north also, Kutch gets separated from the Sindh region of Pakistan by the great Rann of Kutch. The Kutch area is the home of the last remaining population of khur (Asiatic wild ass) in India. There is also a large bird population, particularly of the large flamingos. Both are protected in the 5,000 km Little Rann Sanctuary, which is approached from Dhangadhra; one has to get permission to enter from the sanctuary superintendent's office in Dhangadhra.


By Air

Bhuj, the main town of Kutch has daily flights from Bombay, which take about 40 minutes to reach.

By Rail

Kutch Express is available from Bombay via Ahmedabad upto Gandhinagar. From here, one can reach this destination by road.

By Road

State transport buses are available from Ahmedabad.


Kutch Museum

There is the quaint Kutch Museum-the oldest in Gujarat. Regarded as one of the best, this museum has an excellent collection. Founded in 1877 by Sir James Ferguson, who was Governor of Bombay under the British Raj, the museum was earlier referred to as the Ferguson Museum.

Aaina Mahal

Walking through the maze of winding streets takes visitors to the exquisite Aaina Mahal (palace of mirrors). It was the palace of the erstwhile Maharao of Bhuj, but it has now been converted into a museum. The members of the royal family now live in the Old Palace behind it. Presenting a fascinating amalgam of Indian and Dutch styles of architecture, the Aaina Mahal is definitely worth a visit. The walls of the main hall are covered with mirrors all around, and except for a narrow strip used for walking, the entire space has been beautifully utilized to form a pleasure pool (embroidery) and Anjar (nutcrackers, block printing, and tie and dye).

Devi Temple

Although jeeps and cars can easily go up the steep path to the Devi Temple that is perched left up on the Black Hills, climbing gives an opportunity to admire the scenery around. Also, remember that the temple priest's hospitality is not for the foxes alone but extends to all visitors as he generously distributes pauwa from the temple kitchens.

Vijay Vilas Palace

Lying close to the beach near Bhuj is the Vijay Vilas Palace that was the summer retreat of the Maharaos of Kutch. Crowned by elegant chhatris (cenotaphs), this sandstone-hued edifice was built in the 1930s.

V
eeranganas (brave women)
A flight of steps leads up to the grandest of chhatris that stands on a lofty platform. This is the place where fifteen veeranganas (brave women) who belonged to the court of Maharao Lakhpat committed jauhar (self-immolation) after his death. What is surprising to learn is that none of these women were his wedded queens but only his loyal companions. Adept in music and dancing, these veeranganas entertained royal guests and, when required, even served as spies in the courts of political rivals.


Bhuj the capital of the former alternative state of Kutch is now the head quarter of the Kutch district. Bhuj was chosen by Rao Khengarji I as his capital in 1549. The great earthquake in 1819 destroyed nearly 7000 houses and killed 1140 people. The city wall, thirty five feet high and 4 feet thick with towers at irregular intervals was formerly armed with fifty one guns. Beautiful houses of western architecture and multistoried flats can be seen in major township wtih all modern facilities providing evidence of modernisation.
The picturesque town of Bhuj has a dramatic setting. Located rather low, it is basically an amphitheatre of hills dominated by the Bhuja Hill that rises to a height of 160 m at one end and is in itself a landmark being flat on top and surmounted by the fortifications of a hill fort.
Anjar is about 40 km south east of Bhuj and was a trading center. Tuna and Vavaniya were important ports. As per local history, Anjar was founded by Ajepal, brother of the King Ajmer (Rajasthan) who became an ascetic in 806, after being defeated by some Muslim invaders.
A new township known as Naya Anjar was established by the joint effort of Government and the people. The fairs at Anjar are the Maked Dada fair, Ajpal and Shitala Mata and Jeshal Toral fair. Capt. Mac Murdo’s bunglow is known as the Deputy Collector’s Office. The ancient shiva temple called Bhareshvar is very famous for its beautiful sculptures.
Every Monday there is a market in Anjar where Rabri, Ahir, Bharwad people get together and it is interesting to see the costumes. Anjar is famous for nut crackers, knives, swords, batik, block print items, old silver, jewellery and Randhani.

Mandvi

Mandvi was established by Rao Khengarji in 1585. It was a famous harbour being connected to south Africa, Zanzibar, Arabia, Malaysia, China and Japan. Kutchi merchants have long established themselves in every seaport of India. Mandvi is 60 km. From Bhuj and is situated south of Bhuj on the sea shore. It is famous for ship building and for its beach which is very clean with blue water 8 kms.

Mundra

Mundra is a coastal town 60 km from Bhuj. It was established in the time of Rao Bhojrajji (1633-1645) by his Minister Shri Vardhaman Shah. Mundra is called the 'PARIS OF KUTCH'. Mr Kanji Malam of Mundra is said to have helped Vasco de Gama. Ladha Damji of Zanzibar also of Mundra was an advisor to the Sultan of Zanzibar. He built a beautiful residence in Mundra called Navlakho.
Mundra looks impressive from the outside. Its high fortified stone wall was built out of massive blocks taken from the vast ruins of the sacred Jain city of Bhadreshwar not far away. The main handicrafts of Mundra are tie-dye, block prints and Namda work by Mansoori people.


Gujarat is one of the most vibrant states in India. It has rich cultural heritage, which is well rooted in its traditional value system. As a result, the traditional art forms have managed to survive in the state. The age old weaving techniques are practiced by the people with great zeal and pride. The state is a shopper's paradise and presents a wide variety to shop from, Famous handicrafts are:
AARI, SOOF, JATS, MUTVA, AHIR, BATIK, RABARI, BANDHANI, BEADWORK, BANNI, ROGAN, AJRAKH, POTTERY, LEATHER, HARIJANS, WOOD WORK, SILVER WORK, MUD & MIRROR, IRON BELLKHARAKI, METAL CARVING, ORNAMENTS, SEA SHELL, BLOCKBAVALIA

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