URU -11th century heritage vessel of Beypore, Kerala was on display during FIFA, 2022 world cup in Qatar

URU largest handmade wooden ship. heroadsandbeyond.com

In the 2022 FIFA World Cup, held in Qatar India did not participate in the competition, but it never failed to showcase its long maritimes ties with that country  and during the mega-sporting event it had put on show  a replica of a traditional wooden dhow called 'Uru', made at Beypore, Kerala. 

This hand-crafted sturdy boats were widely used during ancient times for trade with Mesopotamia and other places. The 27 feet long all-wooden-and-coir yacht  was being made to order at Beypore town north Kerala traditionally famous for  making Urus, It was made  by Chaliyam-based Haji PI Ahmed Koya and Company - a family-run shipbuilding company in Kozhikode and showcased at the International Dhow Festival in  Qatar. This company since 1885, have been making boats to order for clients in the Gulf countries for over 130 years and got a good name in this field.  The company also has a Dhow Museum of equipment and memorabilia related to the wooden vessels in Kuttichira, Kozhikode.

Uru, Kerala, top of the deck  heroadsandbeyond.com

Above image: A dhow is typically built from the outside hull inwards. Shaped planks of wood are connected at the edges in a clinker style, and the overlapping sections are sewn together with coir to form a flexible structure. Internal framing is provided for additional rigidity..............................

The FIFA World Cup, was  part of the Gulf Arab nation’s traditional boat festival. Held under the patronage of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Emir of Qatar, and organised by The Cultural Village Foundation Katara, the 12th edition of the Katara International Dhow Festival in Doha was one among the many off-field events scheduled by the FIFA World Cup. The festival, held between November 20 and December 18, 2022  featured dhows —wooden  boats with a long and thin hull, and one or two masts for sails, commonly used many  southern Asia and eastern Arabia 

The 27 ft long boat was carefully reassembled  at Doha and the craftsmen threaded wooden planks together using special coconut-fibre ropes. The technique in boat-making predates the era of metal fastenings, and samples of sewn boats can be seen in many ancient civilizations, each using a different methodology. Good quality timber, workmanship and  skilled shipping techniques made Beypore in Kerala a popular place for  for Arab countries. The craftsmen from Yemen’s Hadrami tribe and the Omanis in the 15th century. got involved in the boat-making.  No doubt uru or dhow of Beypore was synonymous with  quality fully handcrafted ping techniques and they became the primary  transport along the spice routes of Malabar and Arabia.

The traditional trading vessel replica, which is seven feet wide and six feet tall, is being made as it was done during the ancient times - when iron nails and metals were not used for ship building - by using wooden nails and coir fibers to fasten the wooden planks.

It is quite interesting that four carpenters and four other skilled workers were  engaged in rebuilding the h this vessel. It was made of  all wood and coir-fiber and no iron nails were used, instead only wooden ones as it was done during the 11th and 12th centuries.It was a tough job needing special skill involving 2,500 stitches and as many as 5,000 holes and dexterous hands. 

Qatar authorities wanted to display it as part of their history during the dhow festival and the World Cup, as the boat Uru was the  biggest handmade craft anywhere in the world, widely used by Arabs for spice trade with Kerala. 

As part of the great event huge 130 feet long 'Uru' made by Hashim's company of Beypore   was rolled out the other day from the coast of Pattarmad in Chaliyam to the Doha coast.