The small town of Mandvi is situated close to Bhuj. It takes a mere 45 minutes to travel from Bhuj to Mandvi. It is a small place yet quite busy with the presence of the ship constructing yard, where the workers build boats made of wood, with their own hands for local as well as international clients. One of the many attractions of Mandvi is its beautiful beaches, situated in and around Mandvi, which offers a spectacular view of the sea.
Mandvi is a small port town. If one does not have any plans of going in a sea voyage soon, one can always visit this small port town to experience some of the parts of sea travel. This port was the major port in the state of Gujarat for many a number of years up until Mumbai developed. There are numerous ship building shades situated beside the river named Rukmavati. Here the craftsmen build boats and ships are made of wood with hands. There are many places to revel the beauty of Mandvi like the Vijay Vilas Palace, where one can soak in the eclectic mix of architectural designs. Here many Bollywood movies have been shot such as scenes from Lagaan or Hum Dil De Chuke Sanaam. One can also taste dabeli, which is the popular double roti or just relax and enjoy the calming breeze coming from the ocean or maybe take a occasional dip in the waters or just sit back and watch the birds fly.
THINGS TO SEE
Beaches: One of the main attractions of Mandi is its sea beach. The Mandi Beach is located near th the heart of the town. If one walks crosswise to the bridge, in the direction of east from the river, again downwards on the road crossing a place named Salaya, one may find this beach just located close to the temple of Kashi-Vishvanath. As per the name of the temple, this beach is also sometimes referred to as the Kashi-Vishvanath beach. Located at a distance of 7 Kms in the west direction of the town, there is another beach called the Wind Farm Beach. The name is derived from numerous wind mills located along the shore which were used to produce electricity for this region. The tourists enjoy a nice time by taking a dip in the calming water, having fresh coconuts and other tit bits and simultaneously enjoy the scenic view of the shore.
There is another beach located close by. The beach is a private property of the Maharao. It is located at a distance of 8 Kms from the town and is situated just behind the Vijay Vilas Palace. The entry fee is very small. This beach offers a more private environment. It has lovely white colored sand and tents for lodging purposes, with air-conditioner adjacent to the shore.
Vijay Vilas Palace: Rao Vijayrajji had constructed this palace in the year 1929. This palace has been preserved well. Many bollywood movies have been shot against the backdrop of this palace. In accordance with the Rajput style of architecture, this palace had been constructed with red colored sandstone. The palace houses a central dome, Bengal domes which are located at the sides, corners and nooks having bastions and windows made of colored glass. A spectacular view of the encircling area can be seen from the balcony, which is located at the top portion of the palace. Also, a view of the king’s tomb can be obtained.
Shipbuilding Yard: In the south direction from the bridge and on the beds of the river Rukmavati, there exists the ship constructing yard, which still functions in the present day. Here the workers built the boats with the help of woods. Local people as well as people from round the world buy these boats. People can come and watch making of these boats. The making of a boat is not an easy task. It is a length process and involves responsibility because otherwise the life of a sailor will be at risk. Crafting of the boards is a strenuous and meticulous job. They must be fitted very carefully and by hand, so that it remains watertight. Apart from the ship manufacturing business, there is also a business of timer in Mandvi.
Koday: A Jain temple having a complex, which includes as many as 72 distinct shrines, is present in Koday. Koday is located at a distance of 10 Kms from Mandi. Lodging facilities is there in the dharamsala for people who do not want to go back to Mandi immediately; otherwise transportation is easily available.
Navjivan Nature Cure Centre: Treatments are offered for different medical conditions in this cure centre named Navjivan Nature Cure Centre. It is influenced by the naturopathic remedies and also by the concepts of “nature cure” by M.K. Gandhi. Treatments based on principles of ayurveda, herbs, panchakarma, acupuncture, meditation, prayer and yoga asanas are done in this medical centre. Farming of fruits, vegetables and other plants related to medicine are grown in an organic piece of agricultural land. The area of this land is hectares and is located on the Bhuj-Mandvi road close to the village of Punadi Patiya.
Mundra: Mundra is situated on Kutch’s south coast. It is port town. In the old times, Mundra was quite renowned for salt and spice business; however in the present the business encircles more around textiles with tie-dye and block prints. The port area is not used in the present time due to the silt accumulation in the river; however small boats are used for fishing purposes.
In the memory of the Mundra sailors, there are some memoirs present in the temple of Mahadev. Some of these Mundra sailors guided the famous Vasco da Gama to the path of India and also the Sultan of Zanzibar consulted these sailors as well. In the year 1660 from a place in Uzbekistan, named Bukhara, the patron saint of Kutchi fishermen, named Darya Pir came here. He was very much adored by the local residents of Mandvi. Darya Pir preached the people about Islam. Numerous shrines and memoirs are present here, which were dedicated in his name upon his death. Till now, people belonging to different religions come here. A gate was constructed by the Mughar ruler in his memory. The gate is named the Mughal Gate and it is still in existence today.
Bhadreshwar: The small town of Bhadreshwar is located at a distance of 69 Kms from Mandvi, in the east direction and at a distance of 75 Kms from Bhuj, in its south. It has much religious significance, although it has not been appreciated much in the history of India. Bhadreshwar is one of the most popular locations in Gujarat, for pilgrimages for people following Jain faith. According to some people it is believed that this city came into existence in the 516 BC and some say that the original temple was constructed as many as 2500 years before, which is a time span of 45 year following Lord Mahavir’s death. However there are no facts that can either support it or claim it to be false. The principal temple is spectacular and gorgeous. It has huge pillars made up of white marble. There are as many as 52 shrines situated circling the central one. It is so believed, that one of the 52 shrines contains the original statue of Parshavanath, which dates back to 500 BC.
Apart from these, two other mosques are situated here. It is well proven that these mosques were built sometime in the later part of the 12th century. It is also believed that these two mosques were supposedly the first mosques ever constructed in India. Their presence give suggestions to the fact that, 50 years prior to the coming of Islam into Delhi, the Iranian sea traders came onto Gujarat’s coast. These mosques were the first mosques which included the features of architecture of Indian style into their own Islamic style of architecture. As per the study done by a historian, it is so believed that this mixture of two different elements is not because of the fact that they invaded the temple of Hindus or they hired Hindu artisans, but because of the fact that they intentionally used them since it was their choice.
HOW TO REACH
By road: Governments buses, private buses, private cars and taxis and jeeps provide road transportation to the town of Mandvi.
By air: Surat has the closest airport to Mandvi. The distance between Surat and Mandvi is 73.9 Kms.
By rail: The closest railway station is the Mandvi Railway Station. All the major countries of India is well connected to Mandvi via this station.