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Mandvi City Guide

"Summer retreat of Kutch rulers"
Vijay VilasMandvi is located on the banks of teh Rukmavati river, barely one km away from the Arabian Sea at the Gulf of Kutch. The town has a very pleseant climate throughout the year and was a summer retreat of the Kutch Maharaos. The establishment of the town dates back to the late sixteenth century (1581 AD) and is attributed to the first Jadeja ruler of Kutch Rao Khengarji.

Mandvi was originally a fortified town having a fort wall of about 8m high and 1.2m wide stone amsonary. The fort had several gateways and 25 bastion ; but at present, most of the wall has disappeared. The bastion on the southwest is largest and acts as a lighthouse.

In the heydays of maritime trade, before the arrival of steamboats, it was a rich and prosperous, town earning four times more revenue from export than import. It was a profit making centre of teh Kutch State surpassing the capital city of Bhuj, in terms of wealth. In 18th century, the Mandvi merchants collectively owned a fleet of 400 vessels trading with East Africa, Malabar and the Persian Gulf. In the early 19th century, it was a major port of entry for the inland trade with Malwa, Marwar and Sindh, Mandvi was at the junction of two famous trade routes the maritime spice trade-route and the desert camel caravan route, acting as an important trade centre. Mandvi was a town of merchants and seamen, both mutually benefiting from each other.

Mandvi is also a 400 year old shipbuilding centre. Teh ships built here used to sail up to England and return back. One can see the small boats being constructed in the traditional techniques by master carpenters even today.

The center of attractions at Mandvi is the Vijay Vilas Palace, a Royal above set in the middle of well-laid gardens with water channels and marble fountains. The architect and craftsmen from Jaipur designed and constructed the palace in 1920 AD. The palace has all the elements of Rajput architecture and draws largely on the plan of palaces of Orchha and Datia. The central high dome on the pillars, the Bengal domes onsides, the windows with coloured glass, carved stone jalis, domed bastions at the corners, extended porch and other exquisitely stone carved elements, make the palace worth visiting. This is an example of the traditional skill of craftsmen of early 20th century.

Central Dome, Vijay Vilas PalaceThe Vijay Vilas Palace has its own private veacg, maintained in an eco-friendly manner to preserve its priestine beauty. For these reasons, this palace has been used as the setting in many Hindi films and has now become a popular tourist destination.

Mandvi has some very beautiful houses belonging to rich merchants with stone carving and plaster decorations. Their architectural style reflects the fusion of Indian and European styles of architecture. The Swami Narayan Temple is also such an example with its brightly painted exterior and elaborate plaster decorations.

Other interesting buildings are a girls's high school (a former palace)built by Rao Lakhpat (1741-60AD)and a light house. This old palace is a replica of the Aina Mahal of Bhuj, with intricate stone carvings. There is a wind farm on a picturesque beach nearby.

The interesting religious buildings at Mandvi are the Vaishnav Temple at Sundarvan, Raneshwar Temple, Lakshmi Narayan Temple, Swami Narayan Temple, Jami Mosque.

Excursions:
Bhadershwar (Jain temples with fresco paintings, amongst the oldest in Gujarat, one of the oldest mosques in India dating back to pre-Islamic invasions)68 km, Mundra (ancient fortified town and a port) 44km, Kandla (India's only free trade port, envisioned by Maharao Kehengarji I and Madansinghji)114 km,Naliya (jain block printing works)116km, Kera (ancient Shiva Temple, shrine of Gulam Ali Shah)35 km, Gandhidham (a well planned, prosperous town, Institute of Sindhology)102 km.

Travel Information:
Air:Nearest Airport is Bhuj(50 km)
Rail:Nearest Railway Station is Gandhidham (95 km)
Road:Bhuj (50 km), Ahmedabad (446 km), Rajkot (268 km)
Local transport:Non-Metered Autorickshaws
Accomodation:Various hotels and Local Guest Houses
Food: Various Restaurants and Local eating Joints.




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