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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sur: Handmade Ships are born here!!

This town happens to be my favorite in the whole of Oman. There are many reasons why I love this city. First, it left a great first impression on me when I visited it recently. Second, I absolutely adore its well laid out city planning, its white washed houses, its lovely ocean front and its panoramic views. Third, I feel this is the kind of city where you can lead a peaceful existence.

Watchtower that offers aerial view of Sur town, Oman 
Spirituality seems to be in the air here. You will get a better idea when you take a look at the video below. In this video, I had hiked up a cliff to take panoramic shots of the city and that was when the call for the afternoon prayer began. The beautiful sight of this town and its ocean front coupled with the background sound made for a heady concoction. The best part was that the prayer call from all the mosques seemed to echo from all the mountains. It was quite a surreal feeling. I am sure you would agree with me after seeing the video below.


Apart from this spiritually scenic setting, Sur is special in Oman for its traditional dhows. These dhows or large ships are still made by hand in this coastal town. When I was there, I saw 2 wooden ships being built at the dhow making factory in Sur. 

The beautiful Sur Panorama
One of these ships is being made for the Sultan of Qatar and the other for the Sultan of Bahrain I guess. I was surprised when the workers at the dhow factory told me that they had been building these ships for more than 4 years. Even though this form of ship building is painstakingly slow and the costs run into millions of dollars, sultans, princes and top country officials prefer such traditional dhows.

The Ship Building Town of Sur, Oman
I guess they like the fact that these dhows are very rare and command premium value among their peers. Each of these handmade ships are built to perfection and to unique taste. It is said that the wood for the ships comes from Myanmar (Burma) and then they import various components from Germany and other European countries. Since these dhows are supposed to be one in a kind, they leave no stone unturned in making this a masterpiece.

Indian artisans carvings souvenir ships at Sur, Oman
A lot of local skilled artisans along with labor from India and Bangladesh build these dhows together. This traditional dhow making is becoming a very rare art. Hence, do make sure that you pick up a small scale model as a souvenir to take back home.

Dhow Building at Oman's Sur
So, we, know that Sur is scenic, it has an air of spiritual-ness about it, it is the hub of the traditional dhow making industry and it has a beautiful coastline. It also is famous as a turtle nesting spot, it has some fabulous restaurants and the people are very nice.

Artisans from Kerala designing ships as souvenirs at Sur, Oman
Sur is a great city and is my favorite city of Oman. Why don’t you check it out the next time you visit Oman.



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