Beypore, one of the prominent ports and fishing harbors, and was also an important trade and maritime center during the days of the early Arab and Chinese merchants and later the Europeans. Soon after gaining prominence as a port and trade center. Beypore, just five kilometers south of Kozhikode / calicut is something entirely different from what we could imagine. The people in here are building wooden ships. Beypore began to flourish as a center for shipnbuilding, since ships were in great demand for merchants from Western Asia. The shipbuilding yard at Beypore is famous for its traditional construction of the Uru or the Arabian trading vessel dhow. This tradition of shipbuilding is nearly 1,500 years old, and the craftsmanship of the workers here is exceptional. One would be wondering for whom they might be building these, more than ships they are termed as uru in the local language of Malayalam. They are constructing wooden dhows – big Arabian boats for the sultans and sheiks of the Arab world. They are very expensive and is constructed as luxury dhows, the one that we saw was for the sultan of Qatar, which comes to around forty million Indian rupee which includes only the skelton of the boat, the interior would be almost similar to that price.
These are hand crafted dhows, people work from sawing the wood till they are fitted on to the boat , no machines are used. They are fitted on to railing with ladders and pillars fitted close to the dhow for workers to sit-stand and work. And once the work is over its pushed to the river close, which is connected to the sea.
This is an awesome experience, just because you cant see this anywhere just like that. Tons of logs are left in the compound. Being a labour oriented work, you could see many people around. In fact no machines are used from sawing, sticking and tying the wood. the process is very prolonging to get the ship ready. The yard is very close to the Beypore harbour and so you could see many coloured trawlers close by to the yard which are used by local people for deep sea fishing.
Written by Benjamin John