If you are thinking how ruins of any place can be beautiful, then you need to visit Chhatedi in Bhuj. Chhatedi is one of the best historical heritage places in Bhuj, known for it’s architectural excellence. The structures here are more than 400 years old and due to its historical importance, the place is protected by Archaeological Survey of India. This place is worth visiting if you’re interested in photography or historical architecture.
The word Chhatedi came from Guajarati word Chhatri which means Umbrella. Shape of all roofs of these buildings were umbrella shape that’s why this place is known as chhatedi.
This place is not promoted by tourism department as a tourist destination in Bhuj, like white rann, but in my opinion this is the best place to start your day in Bhuj. Even if you are visiting Bhuj for one day or short period of time, include this place in your itinerary. I highly recommend visiting it when you are in Bhuj. You will not be disappointed.
This is an area that is more well known to the locals still our taxi driver don’t know about the location and we have to guide him. After entering from the roadside entrance between Harmirsar lake to Mangalam char rasta, the first thing I noticed is that things have changed a lot in last few years. There is green grass lawn surrounding this Chhatedi with small trees. I have seen many locals coming here to spend time with friends or coming for a family picnic. You have to enter the Chhatri from the narrow entrance gate and there is no entrance fee for visiting this place.
Many people think this place is a cemetery for the Royal family of Bhuj but its not. This place is a Samadhi sthal of the Royal family of Bhuj. The ground was used for cremation of King’s and their family members and then their Samadhi is made there with a beautiful Chatris over it. In Hinduism Samadhi is given to a person whose soul is liberated. Also, many peoples like Kings and nobles Samadhi’s were made after their cremation for remembering and paying gratitude to those people. There was a guard or care taker who ensure that you will not walk over any samadhi , some of which are lying under the ruins.
Inside the fenced area there are few structures along with temples and samadhis. The biggest structure here is the Rao Lakhpatji Chhatri without any domes. This cenotaph was mostly destroyed in 2001 earthquake and few domes are still lying nearby. Inside there is a memorial stone of Rao Lakhpatji of Kutch and his queens. There are few other planks with writing in Sanskrit with information about the king and the samadhi. Each cenotaph has been intricately carved in traditional designs and bears icons that are different from each other. The monuments are in ruins, but the architectural detail and stone carvings are beautiful.
This place was badly damaged in 2001 earthquake and still you can see some of the structure that survived the earthquake have unstable structure and warning not to venture there. The place has been restored by ASI and restoration gave it a new life. Despite being damaged in the Earthquake, it has its own charm.
We went there in the morning, but I think evening is the best time for a relaxed visit. Being there in the golden hour will also give you the best light for photography. This place was peaceful, beautiful, and will take you back in time. You can easily spend an hour there.
How to get there
Chhatedi is situated next to the Harmirsar Lake. You can easily reach there by auto rickshaw asking the location Chhatedi or Mangalam char rasta. If you are coming from Harmirsar Lake by walk there is another entrance on the main road before Mangalam char rasta.