Bhuj :: History


Bhuj is a beautiful little town in Kutch district, Gujarat. It was founded in the year 1510 by a local ruler, called Maharao Hamir. The place was laid siege and take control of by Rao Khengarji I, another ruler who made the town the capital of his kingdom in the year 1549. Some of the parts of the old Bhuj were ruined during the course of the time. The place assumed the role of a self-governing state during the British reign in India.

Bhuj, the former capital of Kutch, is now the headquarters of the district. The town actually had a rich and vibrant history. Since it was a walled city, at its prime in history, there were 35 feet high walls and towers that surrounded the city with 51 guns to boot. There was a hill for that was strategically located in such a manner, that the solider would be able to espy on enemies and alert their defenses. Bhuj has got its name from the fortress called Bhuia that overlooks the city from this nearby hill.

Bhuj has over a period of time witnessed so many events and calamities that have left a huge impact on Indian civilization. Alexander the Great's invasion has significance with Bhuj; the town finds its mention even in the story of the exile of the Pandavas in the Mahabharata.

Bhuj was a princely state during the British rule in India. It became a part of India, during the year 1947, when the country attained its independence. One can find the history of Bhuj through its monuments and opulent bungalows called "havelis" that have their own distinct grandeur. Most of these buildings were during the rule of the Jadejas, the Chandravanshi Rajputs.

The history of Bhuj cannot be complete without the mention of the catastrophic earthquake that results in colossal loss of life and property. On January 21, 2001, the earthquake struck with its epicenter at Bhuj. Nearly 20,000 people lost their lives, 167,000 people were badly injured and 400,000 homes were destroyed. Millions of structures were damaged beyond repaired including historic forts and buildings, and tourist attractions.

Apart from 92 percent of homes in the area, schools, two hospitals and 4 km of road were a thing of past due the earthquake. Apart from this calamity, there was another earthquake calamity way back in 1819 which destroyed life and property. Despite all these problems, Bhuj has been able to hold out on its own and has rebuilt itself over the past few years.