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Building ships for millennia

Published Oct 27, 2022
Updated Oct 27, 2022

📍 🇮🇳 Ship building yard : Kandla, Kutch, Gujarat

This is a close up of a ship being repaired in Kandla port in the western coast of India. One of the oldest port towns in India, references of these shallow seas are found in writings of the ancient Greek travelers.

The town once was a succulent settlement of ship builders building especially the cargo ships. The science or one could say art of ship making was transferred from one generation to another. It has been passed on for generations now via a small number of families owning repair ships today.

One basic ship takes almost four months of making; but today only cargo ships are made here. The work is done in family guilds - all family members having carpenters, masons, metal experts, painters in their midst - while the design is prepared by the head of the family.

The scale of the ships is huge. Look at the beautiful symmetry and the graceful whirls of wood! It is an art for certain which may not witness the changes of time.

“Beyond the river Sinthus, there is another gulf, not crossable, running in towards the north; it is called Eirinon; its parts are separately like the small gulf and the great; in the both parts of water is one-dimensional shifting sandbanks happening repeatedly and a great way from shore so that when the shore is not even in sight, ships run position and if they attempt to hold their routes they are broken down.”

What an appropriate contextual explanation of the Great and Little Ranns of Kutch from the ancient Greek manuscript ‘Periplus’...

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