palaces of bhuj and mandvi

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Think palaces and royalty in Kutch. Think Bhuj and Mandvi. They are (sorry, were) almost synonymous with each other till the 2001 Gujarat Earthquake which brought much of the region to dust. Yet a few structures still stand, recounting an era that whispers to the traveller.

Kutch was a princely state till India’s independence; the walled city of Bhuj dating back to 1510 the state’s commercial and administrative nerve centre. In 1548 Rao Shri Khengarji started work on the Darbargadh or palace complex. Over the next 300 years, subsequent rulers further added to it, reflecting prevailing cultural and artistic trends. Continue reading

lakhpat: the kutch ghost town of millionaires and saints

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Once upon a time there was a flourishing port town by the name of Lakhpat. Situated at the mouth of the Kori creek, overlooking the Great Rann of Kutch, it is believed to have been so named because of its daily revenue of one lakh (million) koris (the then currency of Kutch). As I approach the now deserted town, a hushed breeze redolent with countless stories—some fact, some legend—sweeps over the crumbling ruins … Continue reading