Kutch and it’s beautiful mahals | Milaap

Kutch and it’s beautiful mahals

As you travel past the unique salt farms to cross the port cities of Kandla, finally arriving at Bhuj, you can feel the unique vibe of the place.

Salt lakes on the way to Bhuj                                                          Renovated part of Aaina Mahal, Bhuj

The people are extremely helpful and most of them understand Hindi and English (unlike most other Gujarati small towns where people definitely find it difficult to converse in Hindi). The perfect roads have open lands with bushes and sand on both sides of the road. It feels like one is coming closer to the desert.

Most people relate to the Rann of Kutch when we speak of Kutch, there are other beautiful places to learn about as well. Unfortunately, I was not able to visit the Rann Utsav (annual festival) held every year from November to February. However, I learned some amazing things about the Rann. The beautiful white desert gets its white color from the excessive salt settling on top of the sea water during winters. The Rann is basically a marsh formation and is only accessible during winter seasons as the salt settles on the sea water. Once it’s summers the area becomes muddy and the solid Rann converts into the watery surface where one can’t walk or drive.

However, I was fortunate to explore the largest city in Kutch region - Bhuj. It has a unique history of how it was formed as the hub of Jadegar Dynasty in 1510. I learned of this history in Aaina Mahal (mirror fort in Bhuj). As per legends, the earth rests on the head of a snake and the first king of the dynasty wanted to establish his empire where the head of the snake lies.
Once the king chooses Bhuj, he asks his people to hammer a nail at the head of the snake. However, one associate asks the king in the middle of the hammering how he could be sure that the snakes head lies underground. The doubtful king starts removing the nail, just to find the land spilling red water. Confident that the snake is bleeding, he again hammered the nail. However, people believe that the king didn’t realize that once the nail was taken out, the snake moved and the nail got hammered to its tail.
People in the region now believe that as the snake moves, the earth feels the jitters and earthquake are common to the area.

Pleasure room in Aaina Mahal                                                             Meeting Hall in Prag Mahal

Most parts of the Aaina Mahal and the Prag Mahal both located next to each other were destroyed during the 2001 earthquake. However, most of it is now restored and these small forts have beautiful architectures. Aaina Mahal has numerous mirrors inside and a large pleasure room for the king. It is pretty old and has a unique Indian architectural style.

Mirrors in Aaina Mahal

Prag Mahal, on the other hand, seems inspired by British architecture (Italian Gothic style architecture) and has a huge meeting hall for formal get-togethers. It has beautifully colored windows and as sunlight falls through these windows to the rooms inside, it creates a serene view. The Prag Mahal features a beautiful clock tower on top.


Visiting these beautiful mahals and meeting tourists and local people in the area, I could sense the warmth of the place. These not so known architectural marvels make parts of Gujarat hidden gems waiting to be discovered.