The Pragmahal Palace in Bhuj – Rann of Kutch, Gujarat, India


First stop of the day was at the Bhuj police station where we thought permits would be issued. No, the Government of India changed the regulations and just gave Kantilal forms to be filled out and given to officers on the road North tomorrow. Permits were not required for today’s visits but needed tomorrow when we’ll be close to the Pakistan border.

Bhuj suffered a devastating earthquake in 2001. The 8.9 quake lasted for 1-1/2 minutes and over 20,000 people were killed because happened in the morning when people were still home. The earthquake was felt as far away as Delhi, and Kolkata. Even Ahmedabad, capital of Gujarat, was badly affected but Bhuj suffered the brunt of it. Great evidence of this earthquake remains in culture heritage sites that still have not been restored. The Pragmahal Palace is one of the fortunate sites that has been restored including its historic clock tower…View image.

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facade of the Pragmahal Palace, Bhuj, Gujarat, India

 

This ornate Royal Palace was commissioned by Rao Pragmalji II and built from 1838-1876. There is an admission fee…View image…of 10 Rupees per person with an additional 30 Rupee camera fee but before entering to Aina Mahal, a walk around the outside.

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blocks of exquisite carvings lie on the grounds of Pragmahal Palace in Bhuj, India
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figure playing a musical instrument outside the Palace Harem, Bhuj, India

 

The harem, constructed with Italian marble and sandstone, was not deemed to be of cultural significance and hasn’t been restored…View image. I feel in love with the derelict but still beautiful balconies…View image, carved screens…View image, windows and ornamentation…View image. If women had to spend their lives secluded, what an incredible setting! Hopefully, the inside was equally beautiful before the earthquake. The harem could come crumbling down at any time and no one is allowed to go inside.

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intricate Harem balconies in the Pragmahal Palace complex, Bhuj
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unrestored but still beautiful Palace Harem decoration, Bhuj, India

 

We entered into the Pragmahal Palace where even more splendor awaited. After all, what’s the sense of being “Royal” if not to lavish money on “bigger is better”…

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