Chatardi is one of the most beautiful heritage site in Bhuj. A peaceful space at the edge of Hamirsar lake where the kings of Kutch and their family rest in peace.
Chatardi means “Umbrella” in Gujarati, in reference to the masonry domes built on top of the main graves.
From the 16th century, a total of 18 kings ruled Kutch and 16 of them are buried in Chatardi. The first tumb that was built on the site of Chatardi belongs to Maharao Khengarji, the firs king of Kutch . The body of Maharao Madansinhji, the last king was cremated on the site but was not buried here. Since then, Kutch became part of the Indian republic and his decendant (Maharao Himmatasinhji) stoped to be buried in Chatardi.
|Old photograph of Lakpatji's tomb (before 2001) shared by Dayaram Jansari||Lakpatji's tomb during restoration 2013 shared by Dayaram Jansari|
The main (biggest) tomb was built for Maharao Lakpatji the 10th king of Kutch. His queen as well as 16 women who were his servants sacrificed themselves after his death and are also buried next to him. This tradition called “Sati” was banished by the British rulers.
Tombstones were erected in their memory in the middle of the central room as well as women sculptures on the pillars of the building.
People from the Pakhali cast, the court of the king, were also cremated on the site and were getting smaller tombs, as you can see on the photo below.
Three important earthquakes occurred relatively recently in Kutch in 1819, 1856 and 2001 each contributing in the destruction of some of the edifices. In 1956 the tomb of Maharao Kingarji was destroyed and most of the eldest tombs collapsed in 2001.
The Archeological Department is currently trying to retrofit the constructions, starting with the main tomb of Lakpatji. Their first task is to collect all the stones and try to identify to which building they belong since they have been mixed and some of them lost.
Some of the domes are still covered with multicolor hand painted tiles. All the constructions are made out of local sandstones.
One of the well preserved tomb made of sandstones.
The site has been used as a landscape for famous movie shoots : “Ham Dil De Chuke Sanam” and “Refuge” as well a fashion shoots.
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