Saturday, July 3, 2010


The English word ‘NAVIGATION’ has its root in the Sanskrit word ‘NAVIGATI’ and this is perhaps the greatest testimony of the antiquity of India’s Maritime Heritage.

With the discovery of the Lothal port and dock dating back to circa 2400 -1900 B.C. , it became clear that the Indus Vally Civilization did have a Maritime dimention. It is believed that the first tidal dock of the world was built at Lothal during the Harappan Civilization, near the present day Mangrol harbour on the Gujarat coast.
The First Day Cover carries an illustration from the stone sculptures of Borobudur revealing the spirit of adventure of the Indian Mariners who settled in the Javanese islands in the eight century A.D.

The stamp depicts a terracotta model
of a boat excavated from Lothal,
superimposed on an Indus seal
depicting a sailing vessel

The stamp depicts the potshred painting of a boat belonging to Mohanjodaro period.
This was a part of official logo of
The International Fleet Review-2001

Lead coin of Satvahana period (2nd. century A.D.) depicting a
Double-masted sailing vessel. Satavahana Empire was a dynasty which ruled over Southern and Central India from around 230 BCE until around 220 CE (source; Wikipedia Free Library)

Calicut (Kazhikode) on the west coast of India emerged as a major port of Indian Ocean in the middle ages and it was no coincidence that Vasco da Gama landed here on  May 20,1498.

Mohammed Kunjali Marakkar, the first Admiral of Calicut played a heroic part in the Naval wars with the Portuguese. The stamp honours Kunjali Marakkar-400 years and shows the War-paroe, a small craft used by the Kunjalis, which, manned by just 30-40 men each, could be rowed through lagoons and narrow waters.Several of these crafts used to be deployed at strategic points to attack the Portuguese ships and go back into the safety of shallow waters.In these guerrilla raids, the Marakkars had shown remarkable prowess

'Ghurab' of Kanhoji Angre’s fleet as depicted in a circa 1700 A.D. painting. Another brilliant chapter in India’s Maritime history is that of the Maratha Navy under Tukoji Angre fighting the Europeans from 1640 onwards.

The “ PAL ” and “ GALBAT ” two types of ships of the Maratha Navy of the 18 th. century at the port of Ratnagiri. The portrayals are from the paintings of “Ships of the Maratha period ”,circa 18th. century. The ‘PAL’ was a three masted fighter with guns peeping on the broadsides.