The Ship Building Ports of Mandvi - I

Monday, August 08, 2011

This post is nostalgia. I'm missing travel. Badly. And this place was so special to me that I had saved it - thought I will post it when I have time, lovingly. But time is quicksilver and not something to be had in abundance, so here is the post. I am hoping that the longing with which I post it will augur another trip if not as adventurous, then as filled with surprise & fun. Bhuj apart from its beautiful fabric work is also famous for its port, Mandvi, which is a 400 year old ship building centre. Long ago, in the heyday of maritime trade, before the arrival of steamboats, Mandvi was a rich and prosperous town, earning four times more revenue from export than import. It was a profit-making center of the Kutch state, surpassing the capital city of Bhuj in terms of wealth. Even today, master carpenters build fishing boats by traditional techniques, for the eclectic connoisseur whose whim runs into owning such.

Here's the chai walla fixing us our tea :)

As I walked around the crumbling buildings, this caught my eye.
And here's where the excitement begins.
Docked at the port was this 3/4th built ship
And we decided to go aboard it!! this is the plank I walked to climb onto the ship

Behind the barrels is the space where there is a ladder that goes into the ships belly

So we stepped down this makeshift ladder and this is how it looked
These workmen were really amused to see city slickers balancing on a rickety ladder and trying to click pictures
Had to share this with you, just long the bank, was this miniature ship modelling shop.

Written in Gujarati, the local language. In the stacked plastic containers are nails and tiny ship accessories.
Coming up next is the interior of a much larger ship. Truly 'pirate ship adventures' as one of my friends called it. Climbing & clamouring onto half built ships is not something that happens daily to city rats like us. This Bhuj trip certainly fulfilled my need for adventure and aesthetics in one go. Memorable.

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