Gujarat as a land is known for its historical relevance. What stands as an example to that are the many historical monuments found here. One such historical monument is the Prag Mahal. Bhuj Prag Mahal is an epitome of Gothic style of architecture and the splendor of the palace is still very much visible. Even though the massive earthquake of 2001 shook the majority of the palace, it is still standing with its charm after renovation and restoration. By visiting here you will be able to understand the history of the land from even closer. So if you are ever visiting Bhuj then you need to visit the Prag Mahal Palace. In this article I will mention each and every information that you might need to plan a successful trip to Prag Mahal Bhuj. So keep on reading because this article will be a helpful read for you.
Location of Prag Mahal: Darbar Gadh Road, Old Dhatia Falls, Bhuj, Gujarat
Prag Mahal timings: The Prag Mahal Bhuj timing 9 am to 12 pm and again from 3 pm to 6 pm on all days. Closed on public holidays.
Entry fee of Prag Mahal: Rs. 20 for adults, Rs. 10 for children and Rs. 50 for still camera and Rs. 100 for videography
How to reach Prag Mahal
Bhuj Airport is the nearest airport which is 3.8 km away from Prag Mahal and you can reach there in about 10 minutes.
The Bhuj railway station is the nearest railway station which is only 2.7 km away from the Prag Mahal and you can reach there in about 9 minutes.
Bus services are very frequently available to Bhuj. There are sleeper buses as well as non sleeper buses to reach the Bhuj Bus Stand. However you can even drive through the city or reach there by a hired cab or car.
Overview of Prag Mahal
Prag Mahal is one of the architectural wonders located on the outskirts of Bhuj. This is a 19th century Palace which is located just next to the Aina Mahal in Bhuj. It is one of those extravagant monuments made following the Gothic style of architecture with Corinthian pillars around. One of the major attractions here is the second tallest clock tower of India which offers a gorgeous bird’s eye view of the whole surrounding. A part of this beautiful palace has been converted into a museum and the royal belongings of the royal family are exhibited here. It is one of the popular sightseeing spots in Gujarat.
Furthermore made of red sandstone, this palace looks majestic. And that is the reason why many film directors choose this spot as their shooting location. Bollywood blockbuster films like Lagaan and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam have been shot here along with many Gujarati films as well.
History of Prag Mahal
From the name of popular king Rao Pragmalji, Prag Mahal got its name. The construction of this Palace started in 1865 and it was completed in 1879. This gorgeous palace was commissioned by Rao Pragmalji II and the design of the palace was done by Colonel Henry Saint Wilkins. Furthermore the Prag Mahal was built following the Italian Gothic style of architecture and many other Italian artisans contributed to the construction of this palace.
The architectural style of the Prag Mahal Palace can be best described as Indo Saracenic Revival Style with a twist of Romanesque architectural form. Along with that local Kutchi builders were also involved in the construction of the Prag Mahal. Happy with the involvement of the local artisans, the royal family had paid gold coins to them for building the palace.
Furthermore during that time this majestic palace cost a whopping amount of 3.1 million rupees. It was the dream of Pragmalji to build a palace like this but unfortunately he could not witness the complete Prag Mahal. He died in 1875 even before the construction of the palace was completed. Later the construction was completed during the reign of his son Khengarji II.
Restoration of Prag Mahal
However the Prag Mahal suffered a huge damage during the 2001 massive earthquake that hit Gujarat. A huge chunk of the palace was badly destroyed in this event. You can still see cracks on the building and pillars that affected the palace. But still the main structure of the palace stayed intact and passed the test of time.
Later in 2006 the palace was attacked by some thieves who stole antiques worth a few million and that further damaged the palace along with some other valuables in the palace that got damaged. Until 2007 this palace was abandoned in a forlorn condition.
Furthermore later in the times restoration works started here. The tower and the clock were repaired. Along with that the Durbar Hall was also repaired by Maharao Pragmalji III that cost him 5 crore rupees. However there are still some broken chandeliers present here. It was then opened for public viewing. At present the visitors can visit the bell tower, and the various halls of the Prag Mahal. The antiques still available and exhibited at the Prag Mahal are one of the main attractions for the visitors.
Architecture of Prag Mahal
Made in Gothic style of architecture the whole palace is made of red sandstone and Italian marbles brought from Rajasthan. One of the most beautiful areas of the palace is the Durbar Hall that has beautiful chandeliers and classical statues. Furthermore the vibe of this palace seems even more beautiful with Corinthian pillars around. You can also observe intricate Jali work done on the Jharokhas, the walls and the pillars are further adorned with intricate stone carvings that look splendid.
Moving on there is a main hall where life-like forms of preserved animal skins are exhibited. This is yet another major attraction here for the visitors. However the 45 feet clock tower here which is the second tallest in India attracts all the attention. It looks beautiful and massive and the best part is that you can enjoy a beautiful view of the entire city from top of the tower.
Furthermore there is a small temple in the courtyard on the back of the main edifice. The temple is again intricately carved and stands as one of the most attractive spots here. Alongside there is a bell tower which is yet another astonishing point in the Prag Mahal.
Best time to visit Prag Mahal
The ideal time to visit the Prag Mahal would be the cooler months between October to March. At that time the weather would be most comfortable to enjoy the whole area and also to explore the vicinity. Summer months should ideally be avoided as the summer here can be too hot and humid which is not at all comfortable for tourist activities. Also the monsoon will be a mood dampener and will also restrict movements. So plan your visit accordingly.
Nearby places to visit from Prag Mahal
Also lovingly called the Mirrored Palace, the Aina Mahal is located just beside the Prag Mahal. Even though much like the Prag Mahal the Aina Mahal was largely affected by the 2001 earthquake it was renovated later. At present it is one of the most popular tourist spots because of its exquisiteness and grandeur. If you are visiting the Prag Mahal then you simply cannot miss out on visiting the Aina Mahal.
White Desert of Kutch
This is also known as the Rann of Kutch and is one of the most famous tourist destinations. This is a white sand desert which is famous for its ecological importance. Also this is known as the largest salt desert in the world. Furthermore it is a popular filming location for many Bollywood movies.
This is one of the most scenic beaches in Gujarat. Furthermore the beach also offers pristine views and an array of water sports activities which you can try out. When in Bhuj you must visit this tranquil beach to enjoy some good times.
Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary
Known as one of the largest periodical saline wetlands, the Kutch Desert Wildlife Sanctuary is known for its flora and fauna. It is a huge sanctuary spreading over an area of 7505.22 sq km. Furthermore it lies on the Indo Pak border and therefore it is also a sensitive spot. Some parts of the sanctuary are not accessible for the public.
Located on the western end of Kutch, this lake is known as the heart of Bhuj town. Bhuj being a dry and arid region, this lake is considered the lifeline of the region. During ancient times the Hamirsar Lake was built to fulfill the domestic needs of the people residing here. Furthermore it was named after Jadeja ruler Rao Hamir who was the founder of Jageja dynasty.
Shri Swaminarayan Temple
Originally the Swaminarayan Temple was built in 1822 but in the 2001 earthquake the majority of the temple was destroyed but the idols were intact. Later in time a new temple was constructed and the deities were moved there. This temple is located near the Hamirsar Lake and looks divine with its full white structure.
Kutch Bustard Sanctuary
Located in Jakhau Village in Naliya Taluka of Gujarat the principal aim behind the formation of this sanctuary was the conservation of Great Indian Bustard. It is not very big and covers only an area of 2 sq km but it is still rich in its variety of species. You can find Wolfs, Chinkaras, Blue Bull, Egrets, Herons, Quails, Larks, Mongoose and a lot more here.
Some other places you can visit here are
- Kutch Fossil Park
- Pirotan Island
- Hill Garden
- Bhujia Hills
- Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary
- Mata no Madh
- Vande Mataram Memorial
- Banni Grassland Reserve
- Kutch Museum
Monuments like the Bhuj Prag Mahal are known to stand against time. Even though it was devastated by the massive earthquake it still retained its charm. Currently it is one of the popular tourist spots in Gujarat and of course in Bhuj. If you are interested to witness the grandeur of the days long gone, then you surely cannot miss out on visiting the Prag Mahal. Do let me know if this article of Prag Mahal Bhuj was helpful for you in gaining an insight about the palace. Also don’t forget to tell me when you are planning to visit this beautiful Prag Mahal Palace.