Mandvi is an old city in the Kutch district of Gujarat situated 56 km south of Bhuj. The city is famous for its ship building yard that is around 400 years old. To this day the Kharava community continues to build wooden boats in the city.
The city is only about 49 feet (15 m) above sea-level and is known for its beautiful beaches. The main beach is known as Ahmedpur beach and is one of the 14 beaches on the Gujarat coastline that has been selected to promote beach tourism in the state.
Once at the beach, the most eye catching are a series of wind mills that are present in the corner of the beach which provides electricity to most parts of the region. The beach has a few stalls that sell coconut water, corn and dabeli (a local snack of Gujarat made of bread, potato, onion, pomegranate, peanuts and local Indian masala). The beach is a must visit place during the sunset.
There are only a handful of options for accommodation around the beach which provide for basic stay options mostly for budget travellers. One of the attractions is the Vijay Vilas palace which has a garden area and a small private beach. This heritage property has now been converted into a hotel for those who wish to have a luxurious stay in Mandvi.
The other major attraction in Mandvi is the fort that surrounds the city and is 8 km long. The fort was built in 1549 by Rashori Bharmalji. The fort at present is in ruins and a major part of it has been destroyed with time. The fort was in earlier times, a resting place for kings.
Mandvi has a rich history as it was a major trade centre in its heydays. It was considered to be one of the richest cities of Kutch. The pilgrims going to Mecca would also make use of the Mandvi port in Kutch to depart for their voyage.
As one enters Mandvi, one will notice a bridge over the Rukhmati River at the end of which a gate structure marks the beginning of the old city. To reach Mandvi, it is best to take a bus or a shared jeep from Bhuj available every 30 minutes throughout the day.
Since Mandvi does not have a rail station or an airport, the nearest railway station and airport are situated in Bhuj. Mandvi is at a distance of 466 km from Ahmedabad – the capital of Gujarat. To travel from Ahmedabad to Mandvi, one can take a bus via Bhuj.
While travelling to Mandvi it is best to make Bhuj – the base and visit the beach for a day trip. To commute within Mandvi, one can find plenty of rickshaws around the area at a nominal fee although bargaining will be beneficial.
The best time to visit Mandvi is during the winter months of November to February when the weather is more pleasant and with all its attraction is a perfect place to get the real feel of the Gujarati culture which makes this unique city a must visit place to visit while in Kutch.