Showing posts with label Jew Street.. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jew Street.. Show all posts

Sunday 4 March 2018

Travelogue of Kochi:Queen of Arabian Sea

Again I was tempting for a long journey.This time Travelling Destination was Kochi the Queen of Arab Sagar: Since the formation of Kerala in 1957, Kochi has been the commercial capital of Kerala as well as the seat of the Kerala High Court. Since 2000, Kochi has revitalized its economy, with a focus on tourism, information technology, and the port. Kochi got the title ofQueen of Arab Sagar” due to charming and tranquilizing beaches offering a breathtaking view and natural beauty mixed with its pristine water and tranquil ambience.Ernakulam is Railway station for Fort Kochi.

Colonization of India was started from Kochi. Portugal was first to establish its base in Kochi, followed by the Dutch and English. From time immemorial, the Arabs, British, Chinese, Dutch, and Portuguese have left indelible marks on the cheek of history. Fort is name of old Kochi. So when visiting Kochi, it must be clear that actually your are going to see the old Kochi town.
Fishing Nets-Kochi

Kochi was born in 1341, when a flood created a natural safe port that swiftly replaced Muziris (Kodungallur, 50km north) as the chief harbor on the Malabar coastline. The royal family transferred here from Muziris in 1405, after which the city grew rapidly, attracting Christian, Arab and Jewish settlers from the Middle East. The history of the European involvement in Kochi from the early 1500s on wards is dominated by the aggression of, successively, the Portuguese, Dutch and British, competing to control the port and its lucrative spice trade.
Local Market near Fishing Nets at Fort Kochi
Ferry For Fort Kochi

Let us start from Ernakulam which is over in the mainland part of Kochi city and well connected to the rest of Kerala and India.

We boarded a ferry towards Fort Kochi for just Rs. 8 (to and fro). It was a 30 mt journey. Surprised to get something this cheap. After a slow and yet comforting ride, we reached Fort Kochi.

Inside View of Ferry -Fort Kochi

ST. Francis church: (Where The Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama was buried.)

St Francis Church-Fort Kochi

ST. Francis Church is the erstwhile resting place of Vasco-da-Gama.The Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama who opened up the sea route to India , died in Kochi in 1524 when he was on his third visit to India. His body was originally buried in this church, but after fourteen years his remains were removed to Lisbon. 

ST. Francis Church is the erstwhile resting place of Vasco-da-Gama.The Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama who opened up the sea route to India , died in Kochi in 1524 when he was on his third visit to India. His body was originally buried in this church, but after fourteen years his remains were removed to Lisbon. 

The first church built by Europeans in India is in Fort Kochi? Christianity was already prevalent in the region. It was efforts of St. Thomas, who arrived in 52 AD. The Locals he converted had followed their religion for centuries before the Portuguese arrived, bringing their own brand of Christianity. 

Inside View of St. Francis Church-Fort Kochi

The Hindu ruler gave them a strip of land, where they first built a fort, and within it, a church. This church, built of wood in 1503, was dedicated to Saint Bartholomew. Dutch arrived, and converted it to a Protestant Church, till it passed into British hands, and came to be called the ‘St. Francis Church’.

Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica
It is a catholic church. Located close to St. Francis Church. This church was built originally by the Portuguese and elevated to a Cathedral by Pope IV. The foundation stone of the Santa Cruz church was laid on 3 May 1505, the feast day of the Invention of the Holy Cross; hence the magnificent edifice when completed was named Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica-Fort Kochi
When Dutch conquered over the Portuguese in Kochi in 1663, they destroyed many Catholic Churches but spared this Cathedral. When British took over Cochin they demolished it. It then took over 100 years to build a new building at the same site in 1887. Pope John Paul II proclaimed it a Basilica in 1984.
There are frescoes and paintings covering almost every inch of the cathedral, from the altar to the pillars, and walls to the ceiling. The art here is the work of Antonio Moscheni, a Jesuit brother and painter. He passed away just four days before the consecration of the church! 
 Mattancherry Palace (Dutch Palace) In the heart of Jew Town, Mattancherry Palace is now a small but interesting museum. The Mattancherry Palace was built by the Portuguese in 1545 AD, for Veera Kerala Varma, the then King of Kochi, as compensation for plundering a temple in the vicinity. They even built a shrine to the goddess Bhagavathy, his family deity
Indo Portuguese Museum-Fort Kochi

It is also known as the Dutch Palace after it was renovated by the Dutch in 1663 and the wooden palace has some interesting exhibits that help bring to life the multicultural history of Cochin but the most impressive is the intricate and well preserved Hindu murals depicting the famous epic of the Ramayana.
Besides the paintings, the palace museum has family portraits of the Kochi royal family, and some of their personal artifacts, and more interestingly, historical, geographical and political timelines of the region, which are a big help in understanding the history and heritage of Fort Kochi.
Bishop House-Fort Kochi
Bishop House-Fort Kochi
The Jewish Synagogue, Fort Kochi
t is believed that Jews first came to Kerala to trade in spices and ivory during King Solomon’s reign.Jewish Synagogue, situated at one end of the Jew Street, is at short walk from Mattancherry bus stand or from the boat jetty. Jews fleeing the Spanish inquisition in the early 16th century also reached Kochi, followed by immigrants from Baghdad, Yemen and other parts of the Middle East.
The newcomers, called paradesis (foreigners), constructed their own synagogue in 1568 just 30 yards from the maharajah's palace.

A lane leading to Synagogue--Fort Kochi
The lane leading to the synagogue has lots of shops selling local handicrafts, and cafés for you to sit and relax. Just walking through the area is an interesting experience.

This orthodox synagogue houses the sacred Torah scrolls written in goatskin and gold crowns gifted by various kings inside the carved red and gold tabernacle. The 18th century Chinese hand-painted blue and white tiles are a unique feature of the Synagogue. None of these exquisite 1100 porcelain tiles are identical.

The Synagogue also has Hebrew inscriptions dating back to the 14th century. The painting gallery at the entrance depicts the history of Jews in Kerala from the times of King Solomon.

Jew Street,Fort Kochi
The Jew Street of Kochi, one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world. The place tells us about the life styles and customs of the communities that coexisted in the past.. Still having the charm of the old people happened to live here.
An Antique Shop at Jews Street-Fort Kochi

Jews Street-Fort Kochi

These days, walking on the Jew Street in Fort Kochi, one can still find the busy spice market, which once had a sizable number of Jewish people engaged in spice trade. Nowadays, one would also come across curio shops run by those from Kashmir; selling mostly wood carvings, oil lamps, spice boxes, snake boats and books on Indian subjects. Most of the Jewish settlers here have now left for their homeland Israel. 

Chinese Fishing Net – Fort kochi 
The ever lasting beauty of Kochi , brewed by the hands of history, It is a world of its own, retaining the specimens of a bygone era and still proud of those days. If you can smell the past, nothing can stop you from walking through these streets.
Fishing Nets-Fort Kochi

The Chinese fishing nets are the most recognizable landmarks in Fort Kochi, and are most visited for the fascinating sight they provide against the setting sun. However, there is more to them, than just their appearance. There are many stories about how these nets came to India.

Fishing Nets
The nets work on the concept of a cantilever―a pile of rocks is tied to ropes on one end, while the other side contains the net. A group of men raise or lower the rocks, while one walks on the bamboo pole to balance the weight. 

Some say that the nets were brought by Chinese traders during the reign of Kublai Khan in the 13th century, while others attribute it to the great Chinese navigator, Zheng He in the 14th century. Some even claim that it was the Portuguese who brought them here from China! However, the most interesting thing about them is that they are only seen here, in and around Cochin!

Local Market near Fishing Nets

Itenenry of Kochi is incomplete without a walk at promenade of Marine Drive and shopping in Lulu Mall,the India’s largest shopping Mall.

Marine Drive of Kochi

The Marine drive in Kochi is one of the best places to spend quality time leisurely in the city and provides an amazing view of the sea.The promenade is with a walkway of about three kilometres. The best thing about Marine Drive is that it is well maintained and cleaned properly and also has sitting arrangements for the visitors. 
Sun sets at Marine Drive-Fort Kochi
 Beauty of this place is the backwaters, with ships anchored at the harbour and that interests the tourists even more. The sound of the water gently swishing away as you gaze at the skyline of Kochi is an amazing thing to behold, and will certainly transport you to a world of your own.

Lulu Shopping Mall, Edapally

Kochi also has India’s largest shopping mall in Edappally – Lulu Shopping Mall owned and operated by EMKE Group. For a shopping experience in Kochi there are lots of markets but a visit to Lulu Mall is a treat with air conditioning and 300+ food outlets, stores and restaurants. Spanning 17 acres with a total built up area of 2.5 million square feet, the mall has a total retail space of 1.7 million square feet. 
This is end of my Travelogue of Kochi. I walked back to home Aligarh with charm of Kochi the Queen of Arab Sagar engraved in my memory for ever. My camera is full of such memories.The ever lasting beauty of Kochi brewed in the hands of history, frozen in time and takes it to the rich colonial heritage. There are innumerable heritage buildings, some dating back to the times of Vasco Da Gama, the first Portuguese sailor to India. If you can dream the past, nothing can stop you from walking through these streets of Kochi.
Beach --Fort Kochi

Written posted and photographed by Engr Maqbool Akram, with help of informations available on net sources.