Photo Story: Boats…Connecting a Glorious Past

Balagarh, located about 115 kms north of Kolkata in India is a very small village. It is well connected by state highways and railways. Sripur market, a sleepy hamlet, located at the heart of the village is the place of major attraction. It is the place where the settlement of indigenous boat making workshops of West Bengal still survives. With a glorious history of more than 500 years the native boat making industry of Balagarh still exists. The skill of the boat makers of Sripur village have been mentioned in the writings of Abul Fazal (1551-1602), the Grand vizier (historian) in the court of the great Mughal emperor Akbar (1542-1605).

 

The most important part of the story is that the workers still to date resort to the 500 years old method of boat making. They did not adopt any contemporary machine or tools yet. Instruments used for building the boat are the same as those primitive ones used 500 years ago. They are the hammer, chisel, saw, axe etc. The most astonishing part is that all measurements are done by the crude method using strings and sticks and the result is checked by the experienced eyes which are so precise and perfect that one cannot find any flaw in shape and size of the boats.

Facing all odds the native boat making process passed glorious centuries and hope they will survive all chances and their skill will not die out with the fast change of time and generations.

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