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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Walking Around Mattancherry, Kochi

For my second day in Kochi, I decided to go for a walk to Mattancherry, an interesting part of the city with traces of Dutch, Portuguese, and Jews history. This locality is about 2.5 kilometers away from Fort Kochi and 9 kilometers away from the town of Ernakulam.

There are two main tourist attractions in Mattancherry that every visitor should not miss. The first one is the Dutch Palace, also referred to as the Mattancherry Palace, located along the Palace Road. This palace-turned-museum was built in 1568 by the Portugese as a gesture of appreciation to the Raja of Kochi for permitting them to build Fort Emmanuel along the Fort Kochi Beach. It was later renovated by the Dutch in 1663, hence the name.

Entrance fee costs 25 rupees (38 cents) for Indians and 100 rupees (1.50$) for foreign visitors.

Here's what the gate to the Dutch Palace looks like:

In terms of its design, the Mattancherry Palace was built in the traditional Kerala style. It has a central courtyard where a mini temple for Pazhayannur Bhagavati, the protective goddess of the royal family, is located. In both sides of the palace, there are two other small temples dedicated to Krishna and Siva. Perhaps the most impressive part of the palace is its mural room, which features the entire scenes in the Ramayana and Mahabharat.

Nearby the palace is the Paradesi Synagogue at the heart of Jew Town, a heritage zone and busy street of spice trade in Cochin. 

Considered as the Commonwealth’s oldest synagogue, this structure was built in 1568 and currently stands as a testament to Indian hospitality towards the Jewish refugees who were allowed to settle in the area during the Crusades to escape prosecution in Jerusalem.

Entrance to the synagogue costs 40 rupees (60 cents). Cheap!

Clock Tower at Paradesi Synagogue:

Just outside the synagogue in Jew Town is a narrow alley of shops selling a variety of goods and souvenir items such as pottery, spices, jewelry, decorations, clothes, and many others. There's also a handful of antique shops in the area. There's even an antique museum that you can visit if you're into old artifacts.

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