The once bustling commercial centre of Thalassery has been reduced to a mere walk way to spend tranquil evenings. The Thalassery pier speaks loudly of its bygone days of majesty as much as it screams for help for restoration.
It was in 1910 that the East India Company constructed the pier which extends to the Arabian Sea for transporting commodities to and from ships. The large rocks on the shore and shallow waters often led to shipwrecks and hence the pier was constructed, with huge cranes placed at its end and rail tracks on either side for easy transport of goods from the godowns situated at the shore.
A busy commercial centre then, Thalassery witnessed brisk development with its export of spices, coffee, fish, wood, and pepper, attracting people from all over.
The town became an administrative centre of operations and the judicial headquarters while the port stood a mute observer to the glory of the town and its development. It was the advent of the Mangalore port which reduced its significance principally, while many more aspects contributed to its slow degeneration. The ships disappeared, and gradually the cranes and the trolley tracks.
The pier and the buzz still stand afresh in the memories of old natives. The godowns functioned as coffee curing yards for quite a while and later played stage for parallel colleges for a short period.
The heritage value of the pier and its surroundings was quickly identified and any incursion into the peaceful existence of it instantly prevented. But the weakening structure of the pier and its pillars ask for more.
“It is one of the most serene spots in the town. The fresh air and the walk towards the sea are rejuvenating. It would be great if they could convert the area into a floating garden or something of the sort, by including the godowns, its corridors, and the seaside road all under its ambit,” observes art critic K.K Marar, reminiscing the hustle and bustle of the past.
The declaration of Thalassery as a heritage city by the Department of Tourism has given a new lease of life to the heritage monuments here. Among them, the pier deserves immediate attention. Thalassery was a traders' town even before all invasions.
The port and the pier played a catalyst to its fast growth and any constructive move towards its renovation would only be a fitting note of appreciation to its glorious past.