Timing is the key
Here is an important information. Most Jewish places are closed on Fridays, the Synagogue is also closed on Saturdays, most museums are closed on Mondays and all the shops are closed on Sundays. This means that you have effectively three days – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday – to plan a productive trip in Mattanacherry and Fort Kochi. However, since we had no shopping agenda, Sunday was a productive day for us.
The Jew Town
Mattanacherry’s Dutch Palace is now a museum. Photography is prohibited and hence there aren’t any pictures to post. The Verma kings took either of the three names – Ravi, Rama and Kerala. As a result, these guys are also referred to as the king who died in xyz place, where xyz is a placeholder, in order to distinguish one Kerala Verma from another and one Ravi Verma from another. I am surprised as to why the historians haven’t assigned them numbers – like, Ravi Verma the second, etc.
A few hundred meters ahead is the Jew Street. In the entire island, this was the only area that was doing business on Sunday. In other places, not even a medicine shop was open. The place houses the famous historical Synagogue. It is a serene place. Unfortunately, photography was prohibited here, too, and I do not have images to share. I learned that the biblical name of India was Odhu and was known for its spices, that the middle eastern kingdoms imported.
Fort Kochi area
Fort Kochi is no more a fort. I got a surprise look from a local to whom I had asked, “Where is the Fort?”. A few Dutch maps show the outline of the walls that were built. Right now it consists of historical monuments interspersed with settlements. One of the oldest church in this country, St Francis Church is in this place. Sadly, this was the only place of great historical significance in Fort Kochi we couldn’t visit. We did visit the other historically important church, the Santa Cruz Basilica.
There were photography restrictions in Indo-Portugese museum, too. I was more intrigued by the medieval books that were kept as exhibits. There was a book of hymns, too, with familiar staff notation.
Fort Kochi also has the Southern Naval Command Maritime Museum. My sister was pretty excited to see the exhibits.
Again, timing is everything
Almost all museums and historical places are closed between 12 to 2.30 in he afternoon. This is a good time to have lunch at Tower road and visit the Fort Kochi beach and Vasco da Gama square. We were able to catch a glimpse of fishermen operating the famous Chinese Fishing Nets.