At a distance of 300 m from Mandvi Bus Stand, Mandvi Shipbuilding Yard is located on the bank of River Rukmavathi in Mandvi town of Gujarat. It is one of the popular places to visit in Mandvi.
Situated at the meeting point of Rukmavathi River and the Arabian Sea, the ship building yard of Mandvi is about 400 years old and is testament to the town's maritime past. In its heyday, this yard probably echoed with the sound of hundreds of men at work. In the 18th Century, the ship building yard had developed to an extent that to anchor and repair 400 vessels. By this time, Mandvi ships were sailing as far as England.
As ships became larger and more modernized, Mandvi gradually faded from prominence. Nowadays, the master carpenters build boats for travelling shorter distances to the Gulf countries and also make fishing boats. These sea going vessels, known as Kotia, are built almost entirely by hand and it is only in recent times that tools like electric drill for fixing bolts have started coming into use. The boats are made from the strong Sal wood, procured from Gujarat and other states. The construction starts from bottom up, starting with a frame to support the shape the boat would take. One by one, big planks of wood are bent into the required shape over a fire and fitted together with enormous nuts and bolts. An average boat that is about 50 feet high and more than 200 feet long and will carry 50 to 1000 tons of cargo can take from 9 months to a year to be built.
Today, the shipbuilding tradition continues on a smaller scale as expert craftsmen from the Kharva community carve out large wooden ships entirely by hand. One can visit and feel free to watch the work done by master craftsmen at the shipbuilding yard. If you have never seen handmade boats being built, it will make you truly appreciate craftsmanship as the process is long and elaborate and shoddy workmanship means risking sailors' lives.
Timings: 9 AM - 5 PM