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Kerala Travel

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As a result of many inter-cultural marriages that followed with the Portuguese, Dutch and finally the British settlers, Fort Kochi became home to the Anglo Indian community that lives here. A walk through its narrow streets would show some of the ancestral houses still bearing names like Mayer’s, Caesar’s, D’cruzes and D’Costas. Many structures here carry the influence of Portuguese and European architecture especially as seen in the churches and brightly colored houses dotting the town.

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Kerala Travel

  1. 1. Exploring Kerala India - Best Places To Visit In Kerala Posted by Elizabeth D’Costa on 07th, August 2012 INDIA Exploring Kerala- 10 Day Trips from Kochi (Ernakulam) In continuation with this series on Kerala that unfolds like a picture book of sparkling backwaters, enchanting hills, tree lined beaches and exotic wildlife, we arrive at the next stop, 220 kilometers north of Trivandrum, called Kochi or Ernakulum. Central Kerala consisting of Thrissur, Ernakulum, Palakkad and Idukki has played an influential role in the growth of the socio- cultural character of Kerala. KOCHI (ERNAKULAM) Since ancient times, Kochi had been known to the Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Chinese and Jews because of being the centre of the Indian spice trade. From a tiny and obscure fishing hamlet, Kochi has emerged today as the main commercial and business hub in Kerala with one of the world’s finest natural harbors. Many cruise liners dock here for its guests to step out and soak up as much of Kerala’s natural beauty as possible. Places To Visit In Kerala | Kerala Travel As a city with its malls, shopping areas, business enterprises and cinemas, Kochi is like any other on the face of it. The metropolis is also the second largest city in Kerala with a sizeable urbanized community living here. The Kochi airport has many international and domestic flights flying through. Visit Kerala The best part of Kerala is that as you move through its southern, central and northern regions, there are many
  2. 2. destinations that can be reached within 2-3 hours from the main city, giving you more to explore within a budgeted time. 1. FORT KOCHI A 45-minute drive from the main city brings you to this quaint little town, also referred to as Old Kochi. It was here that the Portuguese began the first European settlement in India in the 1500’s and thus began an era of colonialism that lasted for over 4 centuries. Fort Kochi gets its name from the ancient Fort Emmanuel that was destroyed by the Dutch. As a result of many inter-cultural marriages that followed with the Portuguese, Dutch and finally the British settlers, Fort Kochi became home to the Anglo Indian community that lives here. A walk through its narrow streets would show some of the ancestral houses still bearing names like Mayer’s, Caesar’s, D’cruzes and D’Costas. Many structures here carry the influence of Portuguese and European architecture especially as seen in the churches and brightly colored houses dotting the town. There are countless things that make Fort Kochi a charming little town still carrying a quintessential flavor of its past. Mattancherry is a town adjacent to Fort Kochi, housing a Jew Town with the oldest synagogue and also the Dutch Palace. Central Kerala | Kerala Travel Kerala Tours Jewish Synagogue The Paradesi synagogue in the town of Mattancherry built in 1568 is the oldest Jewish synagogue among the Commonwealth Nations. It had been restored by the Dutch after being partially destroyed in 1600’s. The floor of the synagogue comprises of hundreds of unique 18th century hand painted Chinese porcelain tiles. The 18th century clock tower adds to the imposing structure. The ancient Jewish scrolls, Belgian glass chandeliers, a brass railed pulpit and several gifts of golden crowns and an oriental rug received from emperors and kings beautify the interiors
  3. 3. of the synagogue. Jew Street A stop-over here is a must, to witness the descendants of a fast dwindling population of Jews, selling attractive curios and antiques to make a living. The market street is lined with a chain of shops selling brass sculptures, antique pieces of crockery, carved wooden furniture, jewelry etc, each having a tale of its own to narrate. Kerala Hill Stations The Dutch Palace It was originally built by the Portuguese and handed over to the reigning King of Cochin. The palace underwent subsequent renovations where it took on a more Hindu flavor in its depiction of art on the walls, etc. The rounded doors, windows and the masonry walls of the palace retain their European look but the Indian essence is more prominent. In fact, the palace is considered one of the best testimonies of Hindi Temple Art and Architecture, known as ‘nalukettus’. The murals depict scenes out of the famous Hindu tales of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Join me in my next series on Exploring Kerala India on a Kerala Sightseeing Adventures to the Oldest Basilica- Fort Kochi and many more exciting locations.

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