My first Visit to 5 gates and 6th window of Bhuj !

How a heritage walk through Bhuj opened my eyes after six months.

When Jay from Team #bhujbolechhe and I went on a heritage walk on Saturday, I was surprised to see that with every stop we took and with every explanation that Jay gave me, I became more aware of what I had missed all the time.

In August 2016 I left my home country Germany and came to Bhuj. Now six months have passed and still there hasn’t been a single day where Bhuj and its people didn’t teach me anything. I keep learning so many new things, that sometimes it is hard to keep track of all of them.

But the heritage walk on Saturday taught me a lesson that was really important and that I can take with me wherever I go. It made me reflect upon the time that has passed. And the way I spent it.

Jay took me to see the five gates that were once connected by the city wall and that everyone who wanted to enter Bhuj had to pass.  They all look different, but they share the same story. Once of big importance, they still form the picture of Bhuj today, but in a silent, unnoticed way.

How many times did I walk by the first gate, saw it from the corner of my eye and did not even stop for a second to take a closer look? I was so caught up with getting used to living on my own for the first time, that I rushed from the market to some store thinking only about where to go next to get food and household utensils. Bhuj and its history were there all the time waiting to be noticed. And I did not see.

But now I know that the first is the main gate, the second leads to a really good viewpoint for the Harmirsar, the third stands opposite another ancient but as forgotten building, the fourth has impressive cannons in front of it and fifth is now used as some sort of office.

Oh and then of course, there is the Chharti Bari, the so called sixth window, which is now no longer visible but has a whole area called after it. When the gates were closed, this “window” was the only way to Bhuj and visitors had to crawl through it. I don’t know if I would have ever noticed all of them. I had seen the first gate many times for example, but the second which is so close by, I never noticed.

But now that somebody else showed it to me, I will never walk by it without noticing it and maybe paying the place behind it a visit. From that place you can see the Hamirsar Lake, the birds that swim on the water, the women that wash their clothes and the Rajendra park. Shadowy and calm, this place gives you an opportunity to escape the rush of the city for a while. And if you look closely, you will see an elephant on the wall surrounding you. This elephant is not just a small statue. It marks the point where the Hamirsar overflows. If the water level of the lake rises as high as to touch the elephant’s feet, then the Hamirsar overflows on the opposite side.

These small things you cannot guess from just looking around. You need someone to tell you about them. But if you hear them once you will never forget them and you will notice Bhuj opening up to you and maybe showing you a side of it that you would have never expected.

So, remember to keep your eyes open at all times. Look at what is around you and don’t just hurry from one place to the other without noticing where you are. And if you see something that interests you, then take time to learn more about it. Because that knowledge will accompany you on your every way and a makes you feel more connected to beautiful Bhuj.

Look out for the traces of the past. Silent. But still there.

Cora Samusch's picture