It was a hot sunny afternoon in Bhuj and after the visit to Aaina Mahal and Prag Mahal Palaces we were cooling off next to Hamirsar Lake munching on street food. The migratory birds were having a good time in the muddy waters of the Hamirsar Lake and as we went closer they flew off to the other side. We were walking along the lake towards the Yellow Chilli Restaurant when tomb like structures in a barren field to my right caught my eye. We crossed over and then made our way through a huge crack in the wall to get a view of the structures which were elaborately carved and appeared to have seen better days. The main entrance seemed to be on the other side but it was worth the walk in the hot sun.
The umbrella shaped dome structures are popularly known as Chhatris in India which were built in memory of royals. These are commonly found in Rajasthan and some parts of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat which are connected to Rajput lineage. The Chhatris in Bhuj were constructed sometime in the 18th century by Jadeja ruler Rao Lakhpatji. The one with a blue dome with jewelled work strongly influenced by Turkish architecture is dedicated to him. The structures were severely damaged by the Bhuj earthquake in 2001 and are currently being renovated though at a slow pace. Walking through construction material, boulders and stones we found stones that depicted royalty as well as images of gods and goddesses. Some of them were exquisitely carved and you begin to wonder whether they are being honoured the way they ought to be.
For a while, I forgot all about lunch admiring everything around. As, I sat there lost in time, my gaze fell on the bird who was hopping from dome to dome and finally settled on one. I wondered if it was the soul of a one whose memory lay within the cenotaphs or a soul traveler like me who is looking through the heart in search of experiences !! If you are following the tele serial “Saraswati Chandra” that is being beamed week nights you will realise that the lead pair were often romancing around the Chhatris. In conclusion, if you are in Bhuj do stop by at the Chhatris and your initial reluctance will soon be replaced by a song on your lips with gladness that you had stepped in there.