The uru or dhow was the traditional Arabian trading vessel. Once the Arab traders discovered wealthy Kerala, her solid timber, skilled craftsmen and her native technology centuries ago, they shifted their dhow construction to Malabar (Northern Kerala).
Beypore in Kozhikode district, the most important harbour in the region, thus became the centre for ship building. The industry thrived here until recently when iron and steel took over as the best material for construction.
Urus were gigantic vessels, created meticulously by nailing together well planed planks of timber. It took a team of fifty men at least four years to complete a vessel. Today, not many vessels are launched from Beypore and the artisans have taken to crafting little wooden models of their gigantic masterpieces.
This is available at Culture Shoppe’s outlet at Mascot Hotel, Thiruvananthapuram – 695 033, Kerala. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Culture Shoppe is the official agency of the Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala to promote Kerala Souvenirs.