Our ship, Oceania’s Nautica, had sailed past Chinese fishing nets as we arrived in the port city, Cochin, aka Kochi, giving it a more Asian than Indian flavor – at least based on my preconceived notions of India.
|Off to tour Kochi, India|
|Tiny Tuk Tuks - Cochin, India|
Our driver obviously had transported tourists before though because he set off for the old historic part of town. . .an area simply called Jew Town, once the hub of the Kochi spice trade.
First a stop: Kochi’s Public Laundry
|Kochi, India's Public Laundry|
Cochin/Kochi – A Quick Bit of History
|Modern Cochin, India|
Before India’s independence in 1947 Kochi, in southern India’s Kerala state, was ruled by the Portuguese (1498-1663), the Dutch (1663 – 1795) and British (1797 – 1947). Maritime traders seeking Keralan spices, sandalwood and ivory are credited with setting the stage for today’s blending of cultures and the rather cosmopolitan look of the city.
|Santa Cruz Basilica - Cochin, India|
[Now why I didn’t expect Chinese fishing nets to be followed by Jew Town and reminders of the Portuguese, Dutch and British influence in India, I’ll never figure out. But next time I’ll be doing a lot more research about our destinations before I see them and not after so I can more fully appreciate what I am seeing.]
Off to Jew Town
Kochi Jews are descendants of Jewish refugees who had fled from Palestine 2,000 years ago. Jew Town got its beginning back in 1524 when a Hindu Raja (another version says, King of Kochi) granted them land to them near his palace.
|Today's Jew Town - a mix of old and new - Cochin, India|
Jew Town, a thriving enclave in the 1500’s is today a still-bustling area area between Mattancherry Palace (built by the Portuguese in 1555 and remodeled by the Dutch in 1663) and Pardesi Synagogue (built 1568).
Although still a busy area, most of the Jews who lived here emigrated to Israel after its creation in 1948. Several recent news articles say the numbers of Jews in Jew Town these days have dwindled to double digit figures and there is concern that its rich history will be lost to future generations.
|Goats wandered streets and sidewalks - Cochin, India|
Lonely Planet describes the streets as being ‘thick with the smell of the past’ and those smells were an intoxicating blend of ginger, cardamom, cumin, tumeric and cloves. Huge gunny sacks of spices piled high on delivery trucks and in doorways.
|Squeezing through spice streets - Cochin, India|
|Unloading spices - Cochin, India|
|Ginger water and ginger ice cream - a respite in Cochin, India|
Our pre-arrival port information cautioned, “. . it is considered offensive to photograph local women and courtesy demands to ask permission before taking pictures of men.” So I didn’t intentionally take aim at women, nor did I ask men if I could take their photos.
What they hadn’t prepared us for was being approached by a twosome of beautiful young women who asked if they could take OUR photo. . .(btw, now we know how that feels and it is rather strange!)
So we posed for them and they snapped away with modern cell phones. But then it was our turn - one more photo. . .
|Photos are fun - no matter what the country! Cochin, India|
Linking up with:
Travel Photo Thursday – Budget Traveler’s Sandbox
Our World Tuesday
Travel Inspiration – Reflections En Route
Mosaic Monday – Lavender Cottage Gardening
Mersad's Through My Lens
Photo Friday - Pierced Wonderings