Reviving India’s Ancient Shipbuilding Technique: The Tankai Method

In a groundbreaking alliance, the Ministry of Culture and the Indian Navy have come together, entering into a collaborative Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to revive and safeguard an ancient shipbuilding technique dating back 2000 years—the ‘stitched shipbuilding method’ or ‘Tankai method.’

Unlike modern ship construction that heavily relies on nails, the Tankai method involves the intricate art of stitching wooden planks together. This unique approach not only grants the ships heightened flexibility and durability but also reduces their vulnerability to damage caused by shoals and sandbars.

The importance of the stitched ship reaches far beyond its construction. At its core, this ambitious project seeks to reignite India’s maritime heritage in the collective memory of its people and instill a sense of national pride. Moreover, the initiative aims to foster cultural connections with the nations bordering the Indian Ocean.

Despite the transformative impact of European shipbuilding methods over the years, certain coastal regions of India have tenaciously preserved the ancient art of stitching ships, particularly for crafting small, locally used fishing boats.

Through meticulous documentation and cataloging, this endeavor ensures that valuable knowledge about the Tankai method will endure for future generations. It stands as a remarkable testament to India’s rich cultural heritage and its ancient seafaring traditions.

Under the esteemed leadership of Minister of Culture, Shri G. Kishan Reddy, the project is set to leave an indelible mark, not only as a distinctive boat-building initiative but also as a celebration of India’s rich past and enduring maritime legacy.