Not just houseboats, now Kerala tourists can enjoy Uru 'fat boats'


Kasaragod: Tourists visiting north Kerala will get to sail across the backwaters in 'Uru,' a traditional sailing vessel which was used centuries ago.

Fifty passengers can be accommodated in a vessel.

The novel tourism project, being launched by the state-owned Bekal Resorts Development Corporation Ltd (BRDC), aims to offer a rich experience to travellers by stringing together the cultural, historic art and other elements of Malabar, BRDC managing director, T K Manzoor, said.

The travellers will also get a chance to view the making of the vessel, its history and its significance will be introduced to them through narratives and visual tools by the SMILE entrepreneurs in 'story telling' sessions, he said.

According to historians, Arab travellers who reached the coast for trade paved the way for building of the Uru, also known as "fat boat," a generic name for large Dhow-type wooden ships made in Beypore near Kozhikode.

Urus had been used by the Arabs since ancient times as trading vessels and even now they are built and exported to Arab nations from Beypore.

Along with art forms of the North such as Yakshaganam, Duff Mutt, Pavakali, Alamikkali and Oppana, tribal arts like Mangalam Kali and Eruthu Kali will be performed by artistes to offer visitors a peek into the state's rich cultural milieu.

The traditional culinary delights of the land, trips to sacred groves, forts, temples, churches and mosques, besides exploring the state's rich biodiversity, natural medicine and experience village life await the visitors, he said.

Other heritage monuments such as palaces, forts, pre-historical burial locations and other historic sites will be introduced to the travellers through narratives and visual tools.

Though houseboat tourism is prevalent in the state, backwater tourism through Urus is a first of a kind offering.

The BRDC's focus is understanding the needs of each traveller and offering the right tourism experience.

The project was approved at a recent director board meeting presided by state chief secretary Tom Jose and attended by Tourism Secretary Rani George and Tourism Director P Bala Kiran at Thiruvananthapuram.

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