Mandvi - Once Upon a Port...
The quiet port town of Mandvi in Kutch is a popular destination for tourists. A sleepy port known for its white sandy beaches, with wooden sailboats bobbing on the sea, it is idyllic. But it wasn’t always like this. Once upon a time, in the late 18th and early 19th century CE, Mandvi was among the greatest and busiest ports in India. At the epicenter of sea and land trade which spread from Central Asia to the West coast of Africa and India, it was a key point in the triangular trade route between Oman, Mandvi and the hinter land of Punjab and Sindh.
The port of Mandvi is located on the coast of Kutch, around 60 kms from Bhuj. Through history, political change has always been the reason for the rise and fall of great cities and the same is true in the case of Mandvi. The most authoritative work on the rise and decline of Mandvi port is the book ‘Globalization before its time-The Gujarati Merchants from Kachchh’ by Chhaya Goswami, a noted historian who has studied the Kachchhi community extensively. Goswami says the story of the Mandvi port is the story of the visionary rulers of Kutch, its administrators and merchants.