Monday, August 29, 2005


Trading boat to sail across the sea recreating 5,000-year-old journey


Gulf News
By Sunil K. Vaidya
August 28, 2005

Muscat: A replica of a 5,000-year-old boat is being created by Omani craftsmen.

According to a statement by the Ministry of Heritage and Culture yesterday, the boat will be used by sailors to travel from Sur to the port of Dwarka in India to revive the old maritime links between the two countries.

The boat, which is being built with materials such as cane and lightwood collected from Africa and Iraq, will set sail on September 7 from Sur and is expected to take between 10 days to a month to reach Dwarka.

"The boat will not have any motorised device and is designed in such a way that it will work on the traditional sailing method using the forces of wind," a release from the ministry said, adding that the crew would solely depend on wind direction.

However, he added that another vessel Fulk Al Salama will sail alongside Majan during its journey.

Sayyed Haitham Bin Tariq Al Said, Oman's Minister of Heritage and Culture, will flag off the boat at the fishing port in Sur, about 350km from Muscat.

AAfter reaching the port in the Indian state of Gujarat the boat will then sail to Mandoli, another port town in India.

"The voyage is considered a revival of the maritime tradition of Oman when ships sailed from Sur to Gujarat. The crew will live on fish, bread and dates, and will have no access to modern equipment or any other facilities," the statement said.

A team of skilled craftsmen from the coastal town of Sur are busy building an exact replica of the 5,000-year-old raft Majan, which used to ply between Oman and India during the ancient days of their trade relationship.

"Archaeological surveys in Oman have concluded that Majan, which was mentioned in historical sources of Bilad Al Rafidain, is actually contemporary Oman," Biubwa Ali Al Sabry, Director of Archaeology, told Gulf News yesterday.

"The name of Majan was written in the cuneiform marks 'Ma' which means ship and 'jan' which means body. The full expression means the body of a ship."


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