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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Kerala tour

Later transfer to the backwaters of Cochin, which run from the sea inland through lush tropical countryside. It could be compared to a cruise down the eAmazon with jungle foliage hanging from the banks. This relaxing boat trip is fascinating, as our guide discussed the history of the early explorers and traders who used this as a main artery to the sea. Even the locals board and disembark, coming and going from village. Return to Cochin and afternoon spent exploring the unexpected and isolated Jewish community.
It was a main area for spice trading. Scores of small companies huddle together in old buildings, with the air filled of ginger, cardamom, cumin and clove scent. Local potters load carts of spices running up and down narrow lanes for transport.
One street - long area is the Mattacncherry section, used to occupy virtually all Jewish homes, the oldest synagogue in the former British Empire. Cochin is one of the most fascinating cities of coastal south India. It is a city with indelible marks of Christian, Islamic, Hindu and Jewish traditions. The true character of the city us to be found in the older part of the Fort Cochin area which remains as it used to be a 1000 years ago.
This part of the City reflects an unusual bled of medival Portuguese, Dutch and English life grafted on to the tropical Malabar coast. A unique feature here is isolated Jewish community, whose origins date back to AD 52. Evening we go to watch the famous Kathakali Dance Performance.


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