During our Bhuj stay, we took a few day trips to the nearby area. One day we went to explore the places between Bhuj to Mandvi and the beach of Mandvi Gujarat. The Mandvi beach is nothing like the popular beaches of western coast but I am always happy to see the sea. We visited a temple, a palace and had Thali before reaching Mandavi. This area of Kutch in Gujarat is not touristy and we saw very few local or foreign travelers though we traveled few days before the Rann Festival of Kutch.
Check out Places to Visit in Bhuj
Bhuj to Mandavi is 60 Km and we got a lot of time to explore the places on the way. Here are my must-visit places and things to do when you travel to Mandvi Gujarat.
Prerna Dham / Ambe Maa Temple in Godhra
We stopped at this temple without any expectation because it is not a very popular place among travelers. But it turned out a great experience of that day. The temple is made of white marble and there is a lot of open space around the temple and things are maintained very nicely.
The surroundings of the temple are clean. As we were exploring the temple area, we noticed two buses full of school kids came to the temple. Most of the kids were small and it seems their first excursion with school friends. Some of them were eagerly clicking pictures with classmates. Interestingly I and my friend were only two tourist looking kind of people in the temple compound. Initially, kids were surprised but then they came to us and enquired about us. Their questions were innocent and they were amused to see two females from Delhi. We spent some fun time with the kids, answering their curiosities.
There is a museum in the temple complex where the scenes from Indian mythology are created with models. These models depict different events in Indian mythology and the dolls in these models are dress in the traditional costumes. There are notations in front of each model describing the events.
In the same museum complex, they have made a replica of Vaishnodevi temple with an artificial cave and it is the main attraction for tourists.
We also visited the canteen area, where they have made arrangements for kids lunch.
Vijay Vilas Palace
It’s one of the most beautiful palaces in Kutch. The palace was built in 1929 by Maharao Shri Khengarji III as a summer retreat for his son and grandchildren.
Vijay Vilas Palace is set in the middle of a garden with water channels and marble fountains.
The palace was built with Red Sandstone in Rajputana style of architecture. The central dome of Palace is standing on pillars and the balcony of the palace gives the view of surrounding areas.
The red sandstone is carved into intricate Jalis, Jharokas, Chhajas (Balcony), murals and many other beautiful stone carvings in this palace. The colored glass work on windows and door panels add to the beauty of this palace. There is a museum inside the palace but it’s not very well lit.
Unfortunately, the Vijay Vilas palace and it’s surrounding areas not very well maintained. It is an interesting place to visit and I hope they maintain it better.
Wooden Ship Making
Mandvi and its surrounding areas on Gujarat’s seacoast are very popular for commercial sea fishing. There are many wooden boats and ship making units in Mandvi from the last 400 years. Most of these units are near the beach and here you can see how they make a Trawler by fixing wooden logs after logs. Once these boats & ships are made, they paint them with vibrant colors. We saw dozens of boats at the jetty area because fishing is one of the main profession in this area.
Thali in Mandvi
Gujarati Thali is one of the most popular thalis in India.
Thali is a complete meal with all nutrients and it’s nonspicy. Gujarati thali has 2-3 snacks items which are known as “Farsan” with this you get 2-3 seasonal vegetables, a dal which is slightly sweet and sour or a Kadhi (Yogurt and ground flour base curry), Rotis, Pooris, Steamed Rice, salad cut in small pieces called “Kachumbar”, Pappadam and buttermilk.
When in Mandavi eat at OSHO hotel, the place is basic with bench style sitting arrangement but the food is good.
Authentic Dabeli in Mandavi
This is the most famous street snack of Gujarat and it’s believed to be originated in Kutch region. That’s why it’s also referred as Kutchi Dabeli. There are rows of street carts on the roads of Mandvi. We spotted a stall, which was most crowded and we got a fresh Dabeli after 10 minutes.
Remember one thing that Dabeli is a spicy snack, so be prepared before eating. It cost around 15-20 INR, so buy only one and share with friends or family for taste if you can’t eat spicy food. Dabeli is made with boiled potatoes mixed with special Dabeli masala (Secret of the dish). This potato mixture spread is then spread on Pav (burger bun) and garnished with Sev (Fried Ground flour vermicelli) & roasted peanuts. Dabeli is served with Tamarind chutney and at some places, they also serve green coriander chutney.
This is the most popular beach on the coastline of Kutch in Gujarat. It is not a commercial beach like other popular beaches and remains non-crowdy during the day. Most people come here to spend the evening as there are lots of food carts and stalls near the beach.
There is a row of windmills on the beach and it is the unique feature of Mandvi beach. I felt very tiny in front of tall windmills while standing on the beach.
Mandvi beach has water sports like jet skis & boat rides, you can also ride a dirt bike or dune baggie. There are horses or camels on the beach for rides and I saw local people were riding them.
I didn’t go for any of these activities and we walked on the beach from one end to another. We enjoyed a beautiful sunset at Mandvi beach.
If you want to stay in luxury then the Beach Camp at Mandvi Palace managed by Vijay Vilas Palace has luxury tents on the beach. They have a well maintained private beach for their guests. Anyhow, we didn’t stay there and came back to Bhuj after sunset.
Also Check Places to Visit Near Ahmedabad in One Day
Things to Remember When Traveling from Bhuj to Mandvi
* The public transport is not very good so better to hire a cab for the day. We made a package deal with the cab driver for 5 days to show us places around Bhuj. It worked out cheaper than an everyday rental.
* It is not a very touristy place because most tourists explore Bhuj and Rann of Kutch. So you may see people curiously watching you.
* It is quite safe for women travelers because though people are curious but they don’t disturb or comment.
* Dress conservatively as it is a small town and people are not use to spaghetti top and skirts.
* Mandvi beach is almost empty during the day. Its water is clean and waves are very mild at the shore.
* The beach is one of the best places to spend time in peace.