Beypore, the glorious port of old Malabar
Everyone fond of history and marine life should have some knowledge about this small village. Beypore is an ancient port town, part of Kozhikode district in the state of Kerala in South India. The Chaliyar river and Arabian sea lying calmly facing each other here. It is one of the oldest ports in India and the second largest one in Kerala after Kochi. In that old period, trading was done from here mainly to Arab countries.
Historians have produced evidence to prove that Beypore had direct trade links with Mesopotamia and was an important link on the maritime silk route. They also say that for trade purpose, the Romans reached here first followed by Chinese, Syrians and Arabs. The Europeans came in the recent centuries.
It has a long history of being a centre for shipbuilding since the first century AD. The business flourished under the East India Company during the early 19th century. Beypore's fame was mainly for building wooden ships or 'Urus'. Uru is the Malayalam term for big boat or ship made of good quality timbers. These 'urus' were usually bought by the Arab merchants. They used it for trading, fishing and to make great sea voyages. Some historians also declare that the Sumerian ships might have been built in Beypore.
In the old days, while Malabar had direct trade link with the Greeks and Romans, Beypore had good trade with the Middle Eastern ports in the medieval times. It was Arabs mostly, who migrated to the Malabar coast. Beypore was almost a free port with only an export-import duty imposed by the then ruling dynasty Zamorins. It was also a stopover for Haj Pilgrims from Southeast Asian countries.
Approximately 10 km south of Kozhikode. It is 180 km north of Kochi. It is the 2nd biggest port in Kerala after Kochi. There are plenty of buses available to reach here. In fact, Beypore holds the distinction of having the largest number of bus services in a village in Kerala. The nearest railway stations are Feroke (4km) and Kozhikode (10 km).
By Air: Karipur International Airport, 14 km away.
Beypore Beach: The main attraction of Beypore is its beautiful beach.
Pulimuttu (Stone Pier): Stone laid down into the sea about 2 km long. It is a wonderful experience to walk through the 'stone platform' across the sea. Beautifully constructed, decorated with plenty of lights and well preserved. Good seating arrangements are there to watch the waves and surroundings. Best time to visit here is early morning or late evening.
Dolphin's Point: It is at the terminal point of the 'Pulimuttu'. Watching the beauty of the Arabian sea, walk that pathway approximately 2 km long. Sitting on the rock/stones, you can watch the dolphins playing in the sea. I personally select the Pulimuttu and Dolphin's Point as the biggest attraction of Beypore. During this walk, you can also watch the locals catching fishes and mussels (Kallumakkaya in Malayalam). Observing them is interesting.
Beypore Port: An ancient port. It has regular boat/ship services to Lakshadweep Islands. A voyage from here to Lakshadweep is worth, but it requires some documentation, procedures, etc.
Jhankar Service: Jhankar means a long type of open vessels or boats. It is amazing to see that apart from passengers, it carries vehicles like Car, Auto, Bike, etc. on its wide platform. Look at the photo on the right end I took once on a journey. You can make a trip from Beypore to Chaliyam for a pleasant sail by Jhankar. There is boat service also. I recommend a short Jhankar journey as it presents a beautiful scenery of Beypore. The charge is very nominal. Don't forget to carry and click your camera.
Beypore Light House: Used as a navigation object for vessels. Watch it during the evening as the light functions on that time. There are ships to and fro Lakshadweep to ferry passengers as well cargoes. The Light House helps the ships to make a trouble-less navigation.
Uru-Model vessel- As already stated Beypore, is famous for Urus. As a souvenir, you can buy its miniature models sizing from four inches to eight foot. These models crafted out of quality wood may cost anything from Rs. 700/- to Rs. 3500/- (Approx. 2 $ to 700 $). It is worth and will be an added attraction to your home and office. You would be amazed to see that some tiny model of ships is placed inside a glass bottle (like the empty Scotch Whisky bottle). How they are doing this is a mystery and is Beypore's own craftsmanship. As it involves a lot of hard work requiring patience and excellent skill, the prize too will be matching to the efforts. Sure, you can bargain and purchase one for a neat price.
Marine Shops: There are some shops that deal in the business of selling fresh and used marine vessel parts like Anchors, Nets, etc.
The thing to remember while shopping is that the local language is Malayalam. But people here can also follow English, Hindi, Tamil and Arabic because of their routine encounters with the tourists. They may not be fluent, but will manage things somehow in these languages.
You can also buy seafood to taste upon. Mussels are the favourite. Buy Fishes also.
To promote cultural, industrial and tourism potentialities of the region, the festival is being organized every year. This is a one-week long Exhibition-cum-shopping festival attracting thousands of visitors. Scores of entertainment programs also held to boost the festival spirit. You can taste the famous Malabar food during the fest. It is usually held during December/January.
- Kappad - The Gateway to the Malabar Coast
Kappad has got some rare distinction in the world history as it was here the Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama landed in 1498. It was the discovery of a sea route to India from Europe. The history of Europeans' invasion to India begins from here.
- The History of Silk Route
The history of silk route dates back to around 7000 years ago. It was invented by the Chinese. The fame as well the usage of silk spread and many countries started to use it as a fashion wear. Read more about Silk route in this article.
A sleepy village, coastal town, ancient port, historical place....All these tags are fit for Beypore. Beypore is unique as well as different. Go there and explore what more you can do. Beypore won't disappoint a traveller, especially the historian. Bon Voyage!
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What is Uru?
- Urus-the unique craftsmanship of Beypore
Urus or Dhows, the large vessel has a long history. Beypore, a coastal town in the state of Kerala in India is famous for its construction. Now a days it is used for pleasure trips by the Arabs. Please read this hub for more information.
© 2013 Sunil Kumar Kunnoth