A Memorable Tour to Kutch- Part 2

After visiting cherishable Bhuj as I described in my last post and part – 1 of this series, now I had to move to Mandvi to explore Mandvi Beach and nearby Vijay Vilas Palace.

Mandvi is approx 60 KM from Bhuj and it takes approx 2.5 hour to reach there. There are GSRTC buses at a frequency of half an hour and also private jeeps are available which charge Rs. 45 and takes to Mandvi in less then 2 hours.

I was free from visiting Bhuj at 2:00 PM and then I took private jeep for Mandvi and reached there at 4:00 PM.

About Mandvi

Mandvi is situated on the sea shore 60 kms to the south of Bhuj. It was established by Rao Khengarji in 1585. Earlier it was a famous harbor. It was connected with South Africa, Zanzibar, Arabia, Malaysia, China and Japan; Navigators of Mandvi were famous all over the world. Mandvi traders have been very popular in and around India.

Mandvi Port is a site to see which is developed by Maharao Shree Khengarji-I in 1580 A.D. The kings of Kutch called the commercial people for development of Mandvi. Mandvi is one of the great port of Kutch. There is a large amount of ships in Mandvi.

Mandvi Port has its individual history. This port is not in much progress now but many boats and ships are made here nowadays. Today, Mandvi is known for its port and sea. Mandvi is also famous for its ship building yards and for its blue water serene bleaches.

8 kms from Mandvi is the eye-catching summer place built in the perfect Rajasthani architect by Maharao Vijayrajji in 1929.

Photo #1

Mandvi Town.

Mandvi is a picturesque town with many old buildings. It was an important port of the Jadeja Rajputs, who claim descent from Lord Krishna. They are said to move to Sindh when Krishna’s capital, Dwarka, was submerged by the sea. In the 1540s, the Jadejas became ruler of Kutch. Times were turbulent until the arrival of the British who brought the kingdoms under their umbrella. By then Kutch was one of the largest princely states in India and the Maharaja was awarded a salute of 17 guns, the second highest in Gujarat after the Maharaja of Baroda.
Mandvi is located on the banks of the Rukmavati River, barely one km away from the Arabian Sea at the Gulf of Kutch. The town has a very pleasant climate throughout the year. The establishment of the town dates back to the late sixteenth century. Mandvi was originally a fortified town. The fort had several gateways, but at present, most of the wall has disappeared.
Mandvi is known for its 400 year old ship building centre. The local carpenters still make ocean going Dhows in much the same way that their ancestors had done a century ago. One can go and visit the men at work, shaping the great vessels with hand tools and coaxing the seasoned timber into shape. The predecessors of these very same ships had roamed the Indian Ocean and made Kutch a maritime power. Hand made models of these Dhows can also be procured from local artisans.

Ship under construction at Mandvi.

Ships under construction at Mandvi.

Mandvi is also interesting for watching and photographing birds like the flamingos, godwits, sandpipers, gulls. There are beaches in and around Mandvi.

Mandvi Beach

The 6 kilometer beach of Mandvi pleases with the bright sun, dense white sand, suitable for long walks by rote, and the azure water, which is so pleasing to enjoy sitting in the lounge.
The beach is a paradise for lovers of water sports. You can rent scooters, go water-skiing and surfing or sit behind the wheel of speed motor boats and float away into the turquoise sea.
After getting down from Jeep I came to know that Mandvi Beach was another 3 KM’s from Mandvi bus stop, so I took an auto rickshaw to reach the beach. As I reached the beach I was fascinated with the beauty of this miraculous beach. Since it was a Sunday and I could see the crowd on the beach lots of families including children and old age persons were enjoying their Sunday on the beach.

Beautiful Mandvi Beach

Children busy in making sand sclupture at Mandvi Beach.

Activity or Kids

Mandvi Beach


Racer Boat

Time to hit sea

Parasailing at Mandvi Beach

Since I was alone, so after viewing the beach from every angle, I was thinking what to do next, finally I decided to enjoy the bath in the Sea; I then took off my cloths and went in the sea to play with the waves of sea. This was a new experience for me as I never bathe in the sea before. It was really very enjoyable…… But I was missing my family every moment.

Vijay Vilas Palace

The center of attractions at Mandvi is the Vijay Vilas Palace, a Royal abode set in the middle of well-laid gardens with water channels and marble fountains. The central high dome on the pillars, the domes on the sides, the windows with colored glass, carved stone jalis, extended porch and other exquisitely stone-carved elements, make the palace worth visiting. The Vijay Vilas Palace has its own private beach which offers air-conditioned tented accommodation. Being private with conditional access it is a must visit for all beach lovers who want to enjoy their solitude and admire its Eco-friendly pristine beauty. For these reasons, this palace has been used as the set in many Hindi films and has now become a popular tourist destination.

Vijay Vilas Palace Mandvi.

Vijay Vilas Palace is the famous as summer palace of maharajas of Kutch, located on sea-beach of Mandvi.
The palace was built during reign of Maharaja Khengarji-III as summer resort for his son & successor, the Yuvraj Shri Vijayraj Ji and is therefore, named after him as Vijay Vilas Palace. The construction of palace started in year in 1920 and was completed in year 1929.The palace is built with red Red Sandstone. The balcony at the top affords a superb view of the surrounding area. The tiny intricate windows gives one feeling to be out in open, through which cool sea wind passes out.
The campus also houses a Chhatri of Vijayraj Ji , who died in 1948, to whom this palace was very dear.
The Vijay Vilas Palace has its own private beach which offers air-conditioned tented accommodation. Being private with conditional access it is a must visit for all beach lovers who want to enjoy their solitude and admire its Eco-friendly pristine beauty.
The palace has been used as the set in many Hindi films and has now become a popular tourist destination. The shooting of many scenes and song of Hit Hindi Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam was done at this palace.
The royal family of Princely State of Kutch now reside permanently in the palace, which earlier used it only as a summer resort. It was after the 2001 Gujarat Earthquake in which their other palace at Bhuj – The Prag mahal got destroyed, they moved in to Vijay Vilas Palace. The Palace also houses a museum.
The closest airport is 150 kilometres away, in Keshod, to where the planes fly out of Bombay. The best time to travel is from November to February.

Finally, after this beautiful sojourn, I took direct bus for Gandhidham from Mandvi bus stop and reached Gandhidham at 11:00 PM.

By 25th of November, All my official assignments were over and I started my return journey from Gandhidham by Gandhidham Howrah Garba Express on 26th and reached Ratlam in the morning of 27th and at 06:00 AM and at approx. 10:00 AM, I was at home with my beloved once. Thus ends the story of my journey to Kutch. I will appear on Ghumakkar.com again soon with experiences of another trip.

(Important Note: The historical information’s provided in this travelogue are taken from the boards displayed by ASI in front of the monuments and a book named “History of Kutch” kept for the reference of tourists at the Kutch Museum Bhuj.
I extend my sincere thanks to Archeological Survey of India and the management of Kutch Museum Bhuj- Gujarat)


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