Saturday, September 28, 2019

Jew Street

Kochi: Jew Street

One among the oldest parts of Cochin city is the Jew town or Jew street. It is a busy street in Mattanchery that extends from the Mattanchery Dutch palace to the Jewish synagogue that flaunts its history. The Malabari Jews(the Jews from the Arabian continent ) controlled a major part of spice trade worldwide till world war 2. After world war 2, when modern Israel was formed, a major part of the Jewish community migrated to Israel. Unfortunately the Jew town now barely has any jew left. Even now most of the shops on this street sell spices and a variety of colourful handicrafts and unique antiques which attracts a lot of foreign tourists to this place.In this town, you’ll find all sorts of things like locally made chandeliers, Kerala traditional handmade sarees and other articles of clothing, bathing soaps, scents, accessories, Bronze idols and containers, Indian lamps, paintings and other things offering the tourists an array of interesting options of souvenirs to take back home.Some archaeological items are also exhibited in different shops. Hence you’ll find a lot of tourists in this place. All men, women and children equally enjoy strolling down the street, checking out different shops and soaking in the history of the place. The food served in the counters here also satisfies the western taste which makes the travel experience more incredible.According to local reports, the best time to be in this place is from august to febraury. It is during these months that tourists from different parts of the world come to experience Kochi. This Jew town is one of the best places in Kochi to spend an entire afternoon. Autorickshaws are also available for hire all the time in and around this place.
It is around 10 km from Ernakulam south railway station and 42 km from the Cochin international airport.

Jewish Synagogue

KOCHI: JEWISH SYNAGOGUE

Location: Synagogue lane, Jew Town, Mattanchery, Kochi

Open: Sunday to Thursday- 10 am to 1 pm and 3 pm to 5 pm

On Fridays: 10 am to 1 pm

Closed on all Friday afternoons, Saturdays and other Jewish holidays

Entry fee: Rs 5 per person

Photography strictly prohibited inside

Visitors must dress modestly. 

Licensed guides are permitted to guide within the synagogue. 

 

Jewish synagogue or Paradesi synagogue (‘Paradesi’ is an Indigenous word which means ‘foreigner’) is also known as Cochin Jewish synagogue or Mattanchery Synagogue. A synagogue is a house for Jewish worship. This Jewish synagogue is situated at one corner of the Jew town which once had been a bustling town with a great Jewish population. The synagogue has served as one among the seven other synagogues of the cochin Jewish committee in the cochin kingdom. The synagogue was built in 1568 AD by the posterity of Spanish, Dutch and other European Jews. It is the oldest synagogue that exists in India today. This well-maintained synagogue is built adjacent to the Mattanchery Dutch palace, also sharing a common wall. The major attractions of this synagogue are its mid-18th century hand-painted blue willow patterned floor tiles from China, a clock tower built by Ezekiel Rahabi, a Jewish businessman, which was added in 1760, Hebrew inscriptions on stone slabs of which one is from the Kochangadi synagogue, placed on the outer walls here indicates that the synagogue was built in the Hebrew year 5105. Some other interesting artefacts along with pictures of historical events and the story of Jews in Kerala are also exhibited here. The clock tower and with some other parts of the place was repaired during 1999 under the guidelines of the WWF(World Monuments Fund). The great scrolls of the old testament, two 10th century copper plates with details of privileges granted to Joseph Rabban(the first Kochi jew)during the reign of Bhaskara Ravi Varma in the 19th century inscribed in Tamil and gold crown set with gems are other attractions. The interior of the synagogue has spectacular glass chandeliers exported from Belgium which increases the beauty of this historically significant place.


It is around 10 km from Ernakulam south railway station and 30km from cochin international airport.

This place offers quite an experience and it should definitely be on your itinerary when in Kochi. 

 



Friday, September 27, 2019

Mattanchery Dutch Palace




Kochi: Mattanchery palace or Dutch palace



Open: 9:45 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 4:45 pm
Entry fee: Rs 5 
Closed on Fridays


The Mattanchery Palace located in Palace Road, Mattanchery, was built around 1555 AD by the Portuguese. It was presented to the then Raja of Cochin, Veera Kerala Varma. For around 200 years from then, it became the residence of the royal family. This Portuguese palace was later in early 1660’s renovated and extended by the Dutch and thus became the 'Dutch Palace' that we know and see today.
The Dutch Palace has a typical Kerala naalukettu style architecture having four buildings surrounding a central courtyard which has a temple dedicated to pazhayannur Bhagavati, which presents a wonderful example of cultural and religious unity in spite of the differences. The palace which has such a historical importance is presently under the Archaeological Survey Of India(ASI) and was turned into a museum in 1985 which now exhibits articles, artefacts and paintings from the Portuguese era to the different generations of the Varma rulers including mural paintings, royal attire, palanquins, royal furniture, weapons, coins, howdahs along with royal family photos and other informative notices. Beautifully preserved mural paintings, some of which illustrate episodes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Krishna Leela are some of the major attractions. Some of the other paintings have goddess Lakshmi seated on a lotus, Lord Vishnu, Siva Parvathy in ardhanareeshwara position, events from Kumarasambhava (renowned piece of work by Kalidasa) etc. 
   
The Dutch palace is situated on an easily approachable part of Mattanchery. From the Ernakulam junction (South) railway station it is only around 10 km. The lower floor of the palace is not open to the tourists and stairs leads to the museum. Photography of some mural paintings are strictly prohibited whereas photos of other exhibits can be captured. One would usually require 1 hour to view all the exhibits. It is surely worth a visit when in Kochi.

Visit next: Jewish synagogue, Jew’s street


Thursday, September 26, 2019

KOCHI AT A GLANCE



Kochi is one of the biggest cosmopolitan cities in the God's own country, Kerala. The city is inhabited by around 21.2 lakhs of people. Over the years Kochi or Cochin, the financial capital of Kerala also accredited as the gateway to Kerala has become a bustling tourist hotspot with an array of things to see, do and eat.
Kochi has a natural harbour and since time immemorial Kochi has been a commercial hub in terms of trade of spices and condiments. Kochi’s significance has earned it the appellation, "Queen of the Arabian sea". The Arabs, Chinese and various European colonies like the Portuguese, Dutch and the British have left ineffaceable marks on Kochi’s past and advancement.
The city hosts several attractions and evokes a sense of mysticism with its cultural elements and is, therefore, a bustling tourist hub. Some of the favourite tourist attractions are its backwaters, palaces, Chinese fishing nets, beaches, historical monuments etc.

BEST TIME AND CLIMATE

Since Kochi is close to the Arabian sea, it has a moderate temperature. It experiences heavy showers during June, July and August due to the south-west monsoon winds. It receives light drizzle due to the retreating monsoon during September to November. Therefore the ideal time for visiting this place is from December to February when the weather becomes cool and delightful. Temperature in summer is usually around 35 degrees and is around 25 degrees in the winter.

HOW TO REACH?

BY AIR✈: all major domestic airlines have their services to Cochin International Airport, Nedumbassery.
Distance from the airport to the city of Kochi is 28 km.

BY RAIL🚆: The city has two major railway stations: Ernakulam junction locally known as Ernakulam South, the biggest and the busiest railway station in Kochi and the second is, Ernakulam town often called as North railway station. Passengers can get buses or autorickshaws from here to reach the heart of the city.

BY ROAD🚙: Kochi is connected to all the cities across the subcontinent via NH-44 and NH-17. Interstate buses also ply to Kochi.