Outdoors Information

Cochin - Cocktails of Cultures


Eulogised as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, Cochin, Kerala's commercial capital is an anachronism. The dashing metropolitan city prides itself on a historical heritage stretching back to ancient times and embracing within its far reaching hold, cultures as diverse as Hindu, Chinese, Arab, Jewish, Syrian Christian, Portuguese, Dutch and English. One of the finest harbours in the world, nature has generously endowed Cochin with clear lagoons, emerald plantations and sprawling beaches whose splendour is perfectly complimented by forts, palaces, temples, museums, old churches, and today, modern sky rises.

Essentially a collection of islands and jutting peninsulas, Cochin is made up of Ernakulam, Willingdon Island, Mattancherry and Fort Kochi. Ernakulam, the business centre comprises the mainland, separated from Fort-Kochi and Mattancherry by the Periyar River, while the man-made island of Willingdon lies between Ernakulam and Mattancherry. An international airport and seaport connects Cochin with the great world outside and an efficient internal network of roads, railways and water works keeps the city machinery moving.

However it is its social and cultural extravagance, rather than the physical, that distinguishes Cochin amongst other unique Indian cities. Graced with a port that enjoyed optimum exposure to foreign influences, Cochin has developed into a rare mishmash of influences: Here is where you'll find the oldest European church in India St. Francis Church. Here is also where a 16th century synagogue provides spiritual succor to a thriving, if miniscule, community of Jews. Besides, Cochin showcases Hindu Temples, a Portuguese palace (presented to a Hindu Raja and renovated by the Dutch!), forts, streets and shops in a delightful tapestry that often blurs the individual threads. So much so that the origin of its name remains a mystery. Believed to be a modification of 'Cochazi' or 'small sea' in Malayalam, it could as well have been the Chinese traders from the court of Kublai Khan who named it 'Kochi' after their homeland - Cochin is almost the only place in the world where you can see the quaint Chinese fishing nets outside China.

No mystery surrounds Cochin's rise to prominence as a port. In 1340 AD, the world famous Kodugallur Port, just north of Cochin, was destroyed by flooding of the Periyar River. Kodugallur's loss however, was Cochin's gain, as it soon assumed importance as a substitute port for carrying on the trade in spices such as cardamom, pepper, cloves and cinnamon.

While the Chinese and Arabs enjoyed trade with Cochin as much as 2000 years ago, Christians are said to have originated from the visit of the apostle St. Thomas himself and Jews are believed to have settled here in AD 388.

In 1500, Pedro Alvares Cabral, a Portuguese navigator pioneered a settlement in Cochin. Vasco de Gama established the first Portuguese company and in 1503 the Viceroy Alfonso de Albuquerque built a fort. The British, who took over Cochin in 1635, were driven out by the Dutch in 1663. In 1776, Cochin fell in the hands of Hyder Ali, but was lost by his son Tipu Sultan in1791. After passing through British hands again in 1795, the Dutch finally ceded Cochin in 1814.

Such an influx of the Chinese, Arabs, British, Dutch and Portuguese, including great travelers like Fa Hien and Sir Robert Bristow gave rise to a flowering of commerce and culture in Cochin, making it a centre of cross cultural interactions. The prosperous spice trade, of which all Cochin's racial and religious groups including Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Jewish minorities were beneficiaries as they shared in the city's prosperity, facilitated this.

Off all these inhabitants of Cochin, the Jews are perhaps the most interesting. The oldest of the Jewish communities in India, and distinct from the much larger and more absorbed Bene-Israel Community of Maharashtra, they are known to have been in India since more than a thousand years. While their arrival in India has been speculated to occur around the time of the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 BC, others speculate it to coincide with the Assyrian exile in 722 BC or Babylonian exile in 586, or even from the era of King Solomon himself.

Persecuted by the Moors and later the Portuguese, many Indian Jews settled in Cochin under the protection of Cheraman Parumal known to the Portuguese as the "King of the Jews", where they prospered. Today however only a handful of Jews remain in Cochin, where the Pardesi Synagogue in Jew Street stands testimony to better times enjoyed by the community.

Jew Street remains one of the lasting anachronisms of Cochin. A corner of the city where the earlier Jewish traders had their establishments, the ancient cobbled street lying between rows of old timber wood buildings is almost medieval. Shops selling different varieties of spices still exist here and the combined fragrance of these condiments hangs heavy in the air. At the end of the street is the Jewish Synagogue also known as the Pardesi Synagogue. An ancient structure built in 1664, it uses oil-burning chandeliers from the 19th century to light up the interior while blue and white hand-painted Cantonese tiles make up the flooring. The Torah - The Jewish scriptures- written on sheepskin scrolls are lovingly housed in ornate metal receptacles.

Cochin's charms remain timeless.

Roozbegh Gazdar Content Writer http://www.traveljini.com seo@traveljini.com


MORE RESOURCES:
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news


Centre Daily Times

Hikers will climb 600 feet to summit Mount Nittany for week 7 of Centred Outdoors
Centre Daily Times
The primary mission of the Conservancy is to preserve Mount Nittany for future generations of Centre Countians, Penn Staters and other lovers of the outdoors. Its all-volunteer membership conserves 800 acres of land, maintains 8 miles of trails and ...



Tallahassee.com

Outdoors: Beware of Mr. Gray
Tallahassee.com
It's Shark Week! It's Shark Week! For some folks it's the most wonderful time of the year. Sharks are a symbol of dread. An apex predator. Something to be feared. A target for teenagers and adults to prove their worth and dominion over the worst nature ...

and more »


Outdoors almanac
Akron Beacon Journal
Seeking events β€” If you have an outdoors event planned, please submit the information to the Beacon Journal for inclusion in the Outdoors Almanac. Minimum information needed is: type of event, date, time, place (please include an address), cost and a ...



Minneapolis Star Tribune

Outdoors celebrity Steven Rinella embraces the wild within and without
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Steven Rinella says that if it weren't for the fun and the food, he wouldn't hunt, but it's hard to imagine the outdoors celebrity doing anything else. With a back-story of hunting squirrels and whitetail deer as a youth in Michigan, he burst onto the ...



KSTP

2018 X Games at US Bank Stadium Celebrate Minnesota's Outdoors
KSTP
Thursday night, the Vert competition is slated to happen outdoors. X Games officials say they are holding regular weather meetings throughout the day and monitoring it closely. The safety of the athletes and spectators are the number one priority. If ...



Johnson Outdoors to Release Fiscal 2018 Third Quarter Results on August 7, 2018
GlobeNewswire (press release)
RACINE, Wis., July 19, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- JOHNSON OUTDOORS INC. (Nasdaq:JOUT), a leading global innovator of outdoor recreation equipment and technology, will release financial results for the Fiscal 2018 third quarter on Tuesday, August ...

and more »


Chron.com

Tips for safely exercising outdoors in extreme heat - Houston ...
Chron.com
As high school football season gets closer to the first days of practice and recreation sports leagues continue to compete outdoors this summer, it is important to ...

and more »


Kankakee Daily Journal

Outdoors: At a Glance
Kankakee Daily Journal
State Park events. Kankakee River State Park will celebrate the reopening of its visitor center with open house weekend events from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Discover interactive displays and learn about all the park has to offer. Nature ...



Huntsville Item

OUTDOORS: East Texas Fishing Report for July 19, 2018 | Sports ...
Huntsville Item
Local angler David Russell says the bite has slowed down with the influx of fresh water from last week's rain; bass are are tough to locate. Fishing has been ...

and more »


Kankakee Daily Journal

OUTDOORS: Fishing derby action brisk
Kankakee Daily Journal
β€œIt seemed like every time I answered the phone, someone was reporting another tagged fish caught,” Northern Illinois Anglers Association President Ken Munjoy reported at last week's awards night for the 35th annual NIAA Kankakee River Fishing Derby.


Google News

home | site map | Ocean Photography
© 2006