HERITAGE

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HERITAGE WALK IN NAVAL DOCKYARD, MUMBAI                       


   

PREAMBLE

Maritime activities including shipbuilding in India trace their genesis to as far back as 2600 BC. Naval Dockyard, Mumbai, the premier Dockyard of our nation, has contributed in ample measure to this heritage since its inception in 1735.

Bombay (Mumbai) was given as a dowry gift by the Portuguese to King Charles II of England, when he married Princess Catherine of Braganza in 1662. In 1668, Bombay was transferred to the East India Company at a nominal rent of £10 per annum. In 1736, the company brought Lowjee Nusserwanjee, a master shipwright, from Surat to Bombay and assigned him the task of constructing ships for the British fleet and also the selection of a site for a dock. He set a trend in shipbuilding that was to be perpetuated by the next seven generations of his descendants, known as Wadias. His excellent craftsmanship combined with the durability of Malabar teak, brought worldwide fame to Bombay Dockyard. During the 150 years that Wadias were the Master Builders, they built more than 400 ships, all of them from Indian Malabar Teak. Bombay Dockyard became known for excellence in workmanship and quality. A tribute to the skill and craftsmanship of the Wadias and workforce of the yard has been HMS Trincomalee launched in 1817 which is, perhaps, the second oldest “Man of War” in the world, still afloat in U.K.

The Bombay Dockyard was established with limited dry docking facilities together with carpentry and smithy shops. Over the period the yard has grown from strength to strength with steadily planned expansion of facilities.