Once a major port of the region and an important trade center, Mandvi is situated at the junction of two old trade routes, the maritime trade route and the desert camel caravan route. This small port city was established during the late 16th century by the first Jadeja ruler, Rao Khengarji I. In its heydays many hundred ships were owned and operated by the merchants of Mandvi. Most of the ships were made in Mandvi and there is a centuries-old shipbuilding yard still functional today. The old city was enclosed inside the fortified wall and remains of the fort wall can still be seen today near the old Rukmavati river bridge. Though Mandvi has lost its importance as trade center, now its popular for its sunny beaches and a royal palace situated near the sea.
Things to do in Mandvi
We have visited Mandvi as a day trip from Bhuj. All the attraction of Mandvi can be visited in one day and you can end you day at the Mandvi beach. Here is a list of attraction you can experience in and around Mandvi;
Visit Vijay Vilas Palace
Vijay vilas palace is outside the Mandvi town, some 8 KM away, near the seacoast. In my opinion, this gorgeous palace should be the top attraction on your list when visiting Mandvi.
This stunning architectural marvel is built in Rajputana style and has a collection of artefacts, photographs and furniture which is displayed on the ground floor. The real attraction of this palace is the terrace, from where not only you can see the and the architectural beauty of the palace but also get a panoramic view of the surrounding. The place was built by the royals of Bhuj close to the coastline such that it is always windy, to beat the heat of the harsh summer in the region. For more about the palace read this post;
Spend an evening on Mandvi Beach
Mandvi beach is small and beautiful. We have planned to spend our evening at the Mandvi beach and view the sunset. Water at the Mandvi beach is calm and sunsets are beautiful. Few years before when I visited it was less crowded. There were a few camel riders and a bunch of shops. Now everything has changed, and the beach is fully commercialized. There are more shops than ever, more camel safari and horse rides. If this is not enough there are many quad bikes which are making their way on the small beach without any concern for public safety. Many water sports activities and fun rides have also started. If you went there to spend some time relaxing on the beach, you have to negotiate the crowd, litter, animals and bike riders for a proper place. So, if you are planning to go all the way to Mandvi for the beach vacation, my advice is to check for some other location.
There is another Windfarm beach in Mandvi slightly away from the main beach. As the name suggest Windfarm beach has windmills that are lined up on the beach that generates electricity. Due to the time constraints, we have not visited the windfarm beach.
Experience Serenity at Mazar-e-Noorani
Mazar-e Noorani is a mausoleum and the final resting place of Noor Mohammed Nooruddin, religious leader of Dawoodi Bohra community. The mausoleum is constructed with marbles and has an admirable architecture surrounded by a well-maintained garden. The structure was inaugurated in 1999 and it is located at a distance of 2 km from Mandvi Bus stand.
Seek Blessings at 72 Jainalaya Jain Temple
72 Jinalaya is a Jain temple on the main Bhuj Mandvi road some 10 KM from Mandvi. This Temple is a Jain Pilgrimage and home to 72 Deris of Lord Mahavir. The temple is also known as Bounter Jinalaya or Adiswar Bounter Jinalaya Mahatirth.
This temple complex is octagonal in shape with one of the side used as temple entrance. In the center there is a main Temple dedicated to Lord Mahavir, the 24th Thirthankara. The octagonal construction encircling the main temple, houses 72 small temples dedicated to other Thirthankaras.
Built with white marble, the temple is renowned for the intricate design and immaculate beauty. The intricacy of the work on the walls, pillars and domes are the highlights of the temple. You can easily spend 1 hour looking and admiring the beauty of the Temple. Photography is allowed everywhere inside the temple except the main sanctum sanctorum of the temple.
Inside the temple complex there is a dharamshala (inn), community kitchen and the trust office. In my opinion this beautiful and serene temple complex is a must visit when you are around Mandvi. Temples in our country have been a prominent part of the history. Each and every temple brings with it a story that stays for generations to come. Popular by the name of 72 Jinalaya ( a temple complex consisting of 72 Jain temples), the place is 11 km away from Mandvi and is situated near Koday village. The entire architecture is dominated by marble and the sheer craftsmanship is so precise that it gives an exquisite look even from outside. A pilgrimage site the temple offers many basic amenities like the dining hall and stay facilities at the Dharamshala for the visitors. It is definitely one of the top things to do in Mandvi for every traveler.
Seek blessings of Ambe Mata at Ambe Dham Temple, Godhra
We have lot of time after visiting Vijay vilas palace and we don’t want to go the beach so early, so we decided to go to the Ambe dham temple, Godhra village. It is in the middle of the villages off the Mandvi Naliya main road. Temple complex is very big, and you can see lot of buses regularly coming with pilgrims.
The main temple of Ambe mata is in front of the main gate. Before entering the temple you can see two golden color Lions next to the stairs along with two Elephants on both side of the temple which looks quite attractive. The temple interior will definitely amaze you with all the golden and silver mirror works done on the walls and dome of the temple hall.
In the right side of the temple there is a replica of Girnar parvat while in the left side you can find the replica of Vaishno Devi with hill structure and Bhairav Mandir at the top. There are a lot of small temple and other display inside the Vaishno Devi replica hill to experience the tunnel journey up to the summit. In between there is an exhibition center depicting the history and stories of various religion along with a small water pool known as Shri Ram Sheela Kund with stone floating on water. There is a ticket of Rs 10 for entering the exhibition center and Vaisno Devi replica.
Other than the Temple and exhibition hall there is a well-maintained garden, food court, parking space and a Dharamshala (inn) in the same compound.
Watch craftsmen making ships
Situated at the meeting point of Rukmavati River and the Arabian Sea, the 400 years old ship building yard of Mandvi is located few hundred meters away from old bridge on Rukmavati River. From the main road itself you can see a few wooden ships under different phase of construction.
The wooden ships made here are built almost entirely by hand with a few modern tools. Ship building business has transformed a lot in past decades and Mandvi lost its prominence after the use of modern tools and technologies. Once a flourishing business in Mandvi now struggling for its existence. The whole ship building work is happening in an open area. You can go there and watch the shipbuilding process from nearby and talk to the master craftsman.