India is vastly known for its royal era as its imprints it are still left all across the country in the form of distinguished architecture, temples, palaces, and much more. While many palaces were built for the safety of a particular kingdom, many were also built just out of sheer interest of Kings and Rajas in art. Still, no matter which purpose they might have been built for, these gorgeous pieces of construction represent the rich heritage and evergreen culture that the Indian state has been blessed with. Gujarat is always at the center of attention when the topic of stunning architecture ever takes place. All the Maharajas that has ever resided in Gujarat left the place with many gems of enduring craftsmanship.
One such gem is Vijay Vilas Palace, a castle that has truly passed the test of time with flying colors and still can bamboozle anyone with its majestic build and glorious surroundings. Constructed as a summer palace, now it serves as one of the favorite escapades for many as a resort. The highlights of this castle are its Indo-European-styled fabrication along with the beach which is located nearby. Whether you plan or visit it or book it for a mini-vacation, the marvels of its beauty and the winds gusting in from its big windows will surely take away all your summer fever and just leave you the sweet warmth of elegant architecture and fictional trinkets royalty.
History | Story Behind It
A palace near a private beach, doesn’t it sound like a dream? But Vijaya Palace turns it into a reality. Built by Maharao Shri Khengarji III, the Maharao of Kutch, the glory of this King can be measured from the goggles this castle leaves its visitors in. The construction was started in 1920 and ended in 1929. It is said that this summer palace was built by Maharao for his son and the heir to his kingdom, Yuvraj Shri Vijayaraji, after whom the palace is named.
The history of this palace might not be that deep but the architecture will surely fill in all the gaps of amusement.
Architecture | Artisanship That Can Stop Time
This is the perfect summer adobe built with red sandstone and etched with extensive and intricate artwork that still can give you a clear glimpse of the Rajput architecture. Be it the jali work that covers many of the windows or the colored glass that doesn’t need rain to form a rainbow, each and every piece that has been used in the assembly of this building is a work of perfection and makes us wonder about the profound thinking and intellect that our ancestors use to put into building such large mansions without the use of modern tools. By presenting you with a mix of the artistic architecture of craftsmen of that time from places like Rajasthan, Bengal, Jaipur, and the local Kutchi artisan community, the building is a distinct presentation of different Indian architectural tribes coming together and fabricating a common piece of wonderment.
The stonework of this place astounds you no matter how many times you see it, as every time you will discover a new pattern and a new story hidden behind them. Whether it be the jharokhas, chhajas, or the murals, the whole ambiance of this place will make you time travel to the old periods of royalty and reverence. And it is not just the artwork done on the walls that will astonish you but also the way this whole establishment has been peculiarly constructed. The windows and door panels are covered in colored glasswork that will make your night stays there shine brighter and your dreams filled with all the vibrancy of different hues.
When the whole castle is so marvelous, of course, the surroundings were chiseled to complement its perfection. Lush green gardens with water channels and water fountains, that can make you feel like you are in the middle of a movie set, add up to the aesthetics of this palace. The small windows that open up towards the beach act as the perfect natural air conditioner to turn your summer nights into a cool and breezy affair.
Location | How To Reach
Nestled 7 KM West of the town of Mandvi, Gujarat, the ride through the green orchards will fill you with freshness and the outside view of the palace with bewilderment. Even though it is approximately 382 KM away from Ahmedabad, it is worth a visit. You can take all sorts of transportation to get there, most of which pass through Bhuj which is situated 58 KM southwest of Mandvi.
● From Bhuj, the state and private bus services are connected to all the major places in Gujarat. Hence, you can first come to Ahmedabad then move to Bhuj from where you can take a private taxi to Mandvi.
● The Western railway station of Gujarat is the one that you should check out if you are willing to visit the Vijaya palace by train.
● The Bhuj airport lies 4 KM away from Mandvi and connects all the major cities of India. Hence, it is the most convenient mode of transportation to take if you are coming to Gujarat, especially for Vijaya Vilas Palace.
Hence, once you reach Bhuj the journey towards the mansion will become easier and merrier.
Ticketing Cost | Some Random Facts
If you have seen the movie ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’, in which Aishwarya Rai mesmerized us with her innocence and beauty while Salman Khan with his jolly character and Ajay Devgan with his serious yet soft caricature, then be ready to relive all of that because this is the palace where the shooting of this film took place. Thus, don’t forget to pack your lehenga and choli for transforming into ‘Nandini’ and taking pictures looking like a ‘Man Mohini’ inspired by this film right on its actual set.
The ground floor is open for exhibition while a curly staircase leads to the top of the castle from where you can see the Mandvi beach and take in the rich natural beauty that this palace is surrounded by. The mansion is open for tourists from 9 AM to 1 PM and 3 PM to 6 PM, with a visiting cost of 10 Rupees and additional charges for photography of 50 Rupees. The beach resorts and accommodation are open throughout. Their booking starts from 5800 Rupees (excluding taxes).
As of today, the first floor of this palace serves as the residence of the royal family of Kutch state, while the palace does entertain some guests with their 10 a/c tented rooms with attached bathrooms and a multi-cuisine restaurant. If you are going to visit the Vijay Vilas Palace then don’t forget to buy some sovereigns from the local Mandvi shops which are filled with handicrafts and other local goods.
There is no way that a fan of Indian architecture or cinema can make themself stay away from this picturesque place. So if you are any one of those or even both, then pack your bag, charge up your camera, don’t forget your choli or dhoti, and dance along “Dholi Taro Dhol Baje”, all your way to this hypnotizing Vijay Vilas Palace.