Wednesday, April 5, 2017

D is for Dhow docks of Mandvi #AtoZChallenge

"We'll be visiting a dhow shipyard."informed Apu.

"What's a dhow?" asked another friend.

"We have lots of them in Doha." I piped in unnecessarily and over enthusiastically. I do that a lot. The need to express all that I know about a subject is too potent to keep bottled up inside. "These are ancient Arab boats. We've been on dhow cruises. They're great. They used to use them for pearl diving in the Gulf region." I continued with my monologue.

I'm not sure anyone was listening.

We were on the last leg of our Kutchh road trip and I'm sure my friends and co-passengers had devised coping mechanisms by now to jhello (bear) me. No one tried to leave me behind. So I guess, they were okay.
As our car made its way into Mandvi, a sense of fading filled the air around us. The place felt like an old and worn out silk carpet; luxurious and opulent in its heydays, but threadbare and derelict now. I could almost hear Mandvi sighing as if it's waiting for its people to come back and rescue it. I could be reading the place wrong. We were there for barely an hour in the middle of the day. It could just be siesta time.

First, a quick stop at the model-making shop and museum which is built in the shape of a ship.
The caretaker opened the shop to let us in.

"Are you interested to buy a model?"

"Oh! No. We're just looking..." we chimed in collectively.

"In that case I'll show you around. Saheb (i.e. the model maker or rather his son) has gone for his lunch break. This model making business eats up too much of ones brains (this is a literal translation of what he said in Hindi)"

He was clearly not impressed with the number of hours a model maker applies to this intricate art to create.

I just realized, had I  met Prof. Fofindi or his son, my 'F' for the challenge would've got sorted. Shame!
We saw the models, took a few photos and drove to the docks.
The size of it took me by surprise. It's funny how I never paid attention to the size of a dhow when I sailed in it, but looking at it's bare bones made me gasp. Wow! 

How long does it take to build one?

About two years.

What type of  wood do you use?

Teak from here and Malaysian wood.

What's the wood from Malaysia called?

Malaysian wood.

Where will this dhow go when it's ready?

Anywhere...Africa, Dubai, Oman.

Is is okay to take pictures of you and the others?

Of, course! he said and went back to hammering a huge nail into a thick plank of wood.

 Local carpenters have been making dhows for more than 400 years. The type of tools and techniques have remained pretty much the same. We saw a group of five men lift one of these massive logs by hand!

And while Mandvi looks on to Rukmavati river, reminiscing its glorious past as the chief port of Western India, we get back into the car to head to the beach.

'E' won't be easy as I'll be travelling back home. Let's hope it evolves on time to post.
Enjoy your day, wherever you are:)


  1. Interesting post and I love the pics of the cut section of the log. The skeletal shell of the dhow is amazing to see; cant believe its still all done by hands. Loved your dry sense of humour accompanying the narrative Arti!

    Theme: Peregrination Chronicles (travel)
    D is for Dolphin Delight in Goa #atozchallenge

    1. Thank you so much Shalz. At last I find one person who likes my humour. Hurrah! Hope to visit you soon.

  2. Wow that'sa massive dhow they are building... Must take so much labor and hard work.

    1. It was huge Rajalakshmi. Those men work hard.

  3. Things that are patiently built by hand still..rare now. Enjoyed your post as I have a special interest in all things Arab. Beautiful pictures, especially of the dhow skeleton!Kudos!

    Theme : Arabiana

    1. Thank you Nilanjana. I live in Doha, so if you're ever in the Gulf region, get in touch. Will show you cool Arab stuff:) Hope to visit your blog soon.

  4. Very interesting post, Arti. Amazing images! It's fun looking at the places with your eyes.

  5. Checking in from the A to Z Challenge. Very cool post. I love seeing stuff from other cultures. I'm more of a writer and I struggle with getting appropriate pictures together so I am jealous of how beautiful this all looks. As a person who grew up in a harbor town, I have always been enamored of the sea, boats and ships. Neat post.

    1. Thank you so much for visiting and for your kind words. I love words and pictures:) Will visit you soon.

  6. Wow, those interior shots of the dhow really show how big it is!
    Very nice shots, ma'am. :-)


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