Boats are Mandvi's raison d'être. This little town, an hour down the road from Bhuj, is a major shipbuilding yard – but the boats being built here aren't modern metal creations. Instead, hundreds of men construct, by hand, giant wooden dhows for faraway Arab merchants, and watching the creation process, with its rhythmic sawing, sanding and cutting, is fascinating.
The town itself is also quite attractive. Mandvi suffered far less destruction than Bhuj in the 2001 earthquake, so the heart of town (around Mochi Bazaar) is lined with beautiful old buildings in faded pastel hues and temples with wildly sculpted, cartoon-like facades. There are also some sweeping beaches, including the glorious, long, clean private beach near Vijay Vilas Palace, and public Kashivishvanath Beach, with food stalls and camel rides, 2km from the centre just east of the Rukmavati River.