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History of Mandvi
In the 21st century, most people travel by land in fast-moving buses or trains, and to reach destinations further away, many even travel in airplanes. Sometimes it is hard to remember that until the mid-1800s, overland travel was done by horse or bullock-cart. That human technological flight began only a century ago, and flying only became available to average travellers in the last 50 years. Until the middle of the 20th century, for the several millennia of human history that came before us, people voyaged on the seas. How many of us today have traveled on the open ocean?
 
If you don't feel ready to embark on a seabound voyage anytime soon, visiting a historical port town may at least bring you closer to understanding the way people and goods used to move around the planet (and 95% of world trade still does!). Here in Mandvi, the principal port of Kutch and of Gujarat for hundreds of years until the rise of Mumbai, visit the shipbuilding yards along the Rukmavati River where wooden ships are still built by hand. Stand at the Tower of Wagers, where wealthy shipowners would gather in May to scan the horizons, awaiting the return of the trading fleet from East Africa, and bet on whose would arrive first. Wander around the Vijay Vilas Palace and marvel at the items brought from far-off ports, and the architecture itself that shows a global awareness in its mixture of styles. Or recreate your favorite scene from Lagaan or Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, both of which have scenes filmed at the palace.
Try Mandvi's famous local double rotis, also known as dabeli. Or, if you simply want a place sit at the ocean, let the salty breeze wash over you, and swim in the warm waters of the Arabian Sea, Mandvi's several quiet, clean beaches with flamingos and other migrant birds will surely do the trick.
 
   Beaches
 
The first thing most people think of when they visit Mandvi is visiting the seashore. Mandvi Beach is the closest to the town center, across the bridge to the east side of the river, then down the road past a place called Salaya, accessed from just near the Kashi-Vishvanath Temple (sometimes the beach is called Kashi-Vishvanath Beach.) Wind Farm Beach is 7 km west of town, named for the windmills that line it to generate electricity for the area. You can get fresh coconuts and other snacks, swim in very
pleasant water, and enjoy a nice view of the coastline. The Maharao's private beach, behind Vijay Vilas Palace, is 8 km from town, and requires a small fee (the other beaches are free and open to the public). More secluded than the others, the Vijay Vilas Beach has nice white sand, lovely places to swim and accommodation available in air-conditioned tents along the shore.
 
   Vijay Vilas Palace
 
Built in 1929 by Rao Vijayrajji, this palace is very well-maintained, and often the scene of filming for Bollywood productions. It was built of red sandstone in the Rajput style, with a main central dome, Bengal domes at the sides, bastions at the corner, and colored glass windows. The balcony at the top affords a superb view of the surrounding area, and the king's tomb can also be seen.
The palace is 7 km from the center of town, open every day from 9am-1pm and 3pm-6pm. Entry is Rs.20/-, photography costs Rs.50/-, and entering with a private vehicle is Rs.10/-.
 
   Shipbuilding Yard
 
On the banks of the Rukmavati River, just south of the bridge, you can visit the still-active shipbuilding yard. Craftsmen still assemble ships out of wood, for local or international clients, and you can feel free to watch them work. If you have never seen handmade boats being built, it will make you truly appreciate craftsmanship--the process is long and elaborate and shoddy workmanship means risking sailors' lives. Boards must be painstakingly crafted, planed and fitted by hand, for a watertight fit along
the long curves of the hull line. You will likely encounter legions of craftsmen working hard amidst giant piles of sawdust. Also, because of the shipbuilding industry, there is a heavy timber trade in Mandvi.
 
   Koday
 
Just 10 km from Mandvi, Koday houses a Jain temple complex of 72 separate shrines. Getting back to Mandvi should be easy, but if not, accommodation is available at the local dharamshala.
 
 
   How to Reach to Mandvi
 
   By Road
 
ST buses and jeeps depart from Bhuj about every 30 min. from the central transportation area.  For local excursions, jeeps can be hired in town.
 
 
 
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