We began our day in hilly Thekkady and by nightfall we were in Ernakulam city. We took a rickshaw to Fort Kochi, and once there we took a room at Sonnetta Residency.
Date: September 1st, 2009
The next morning, we had breakfast at the famous Kashi Art Cafe.
After breakfast, we hired an auto to take us to Jew Town, the first sight on our to-do list.
We first entered an old building, which I believe was Mattancherry Palace. It housed artifacts and had several murals, but there was a lot of restoration work going on while we were there. We were in and out very quickly.
Unfortunately, they don’t allow photography inside the Paradesi Synagogue, but from what I saw, it isn’t very big. The tale of Cochin Jews is an interesting one, dating back centuries. It was at this point, reading about how Jews ended up Kerala (and even the Syrian Christians) that I began to realize how Kerala has always had a historical connection with the Middle East.
I guess it was a privilege to meet someone like Mrs. Selam, one among the few remaining Jews of Kerala. (Read the story of Yaheh Hallegua, she’s apparently the last remaining Pardesi Jew of ‘child-bearing’ age)
I bought a few tiger prawns and a small lobster for myself (if I remember correctly, both together cost less than Rs. 300). As they were getting grilled nearby, we went for a quick stroll along the promenade.
We sat by the fish stalls and had our lunch.
Post lunch, we went for a stroll.
So here it is:
After sunset, we all had something to eat before parting ways. Ramesh and Anand were heading back to Bangalore, while I took a bus to head up north to my hometown in Kerala.
*Onam is the biggest festival in Kerala and one of the celebratory highlights include making pookkalam (a floral creation)