There is a very special atmosphere in Jew Town. Although very touristy, it is a great place to stroll around. The many, many shops selling 'antiques' en reproductions are wonderful to browse around.
This is also where you will find the synagogue.
The Pepper Exchange is another, unique place you will find in this area.
One can get to Jew Town spend around half a day to a day there (a day if you like shopping around in the many small antique shops around there).
One can visit the Synagogue and the Palace. Lots of history to the place, but you can read up most of it in your guide book if you carry one. Both the synagogue and the Palace are open between 3 and 5. And that's pretty much what it would take you to look there.
Best would be for you to get there for a relaxed lunch in one of the 4 places available, then get to the synagogue and the Place and walk around Jew town shopping at the many stores.
Oh. There is a post office if you need to send post cards, but ensure you do that by 3 or 4. I think they close after that.
Once you are done there, you can head to Fort Kochi in an autorickshaw. It is about a couple of kilometers. Or one can even walk it if you have the time.
Number of opportunities to take some good pictures.
It's thought that there has been a Jewish community in Cochin for over 2,000 years, when refugees from Jerusalem, fled persecution from Nebuchadnezzar.
Although many members have returned to live in Israel, a small group has remained. Sadly their numbers have rapidly dwindled, and only a dozen elderly members of the community remained at the time of my visit.
Jew Town has a number of antique and handicraft shops, a chance to try your bargaining skills!
Old warehouses, and shuttered houses, with intricate designed windows and balconies offer good photo opportunities. A scent of spices wafts in the air from the spice shops, as this is the centre of the spice trade!
The Kochi International Pepper Exchange was established over 50 years ago and is open to visitors.
The main attraction of this area is the Synagogue.
It can get pretty crowded with various tour groups!
If travelling independently, It's probably best to arrive early morning or late afternoon, to get a better feel of the place!
I enjoyed the short time spent here, and would love to return one day to explore at leisure, and without feeling so ill!
Please see my Synagogue tip for more info.
Neat old houses line Jewtown and many of those buildings were built by the Jews that had immigrated here. Today one will find many little shops, a tourist business and various crafts man that work here. An attractive area that is not very busy and good to be explored.
The streets of Cochin are relativley easy to navigate, and to be honest it isn't a huge place either so you shouldn't get lost.
There are plenty of small shops on the narrow streets to keep you entertained. Some of the streets here had very European characteristics, others very Indian and then we walked into Jew Town.
Small shops, traditional trades like lace makers were abundant here, and at the end of a small street was the synagogue - pretty amazing I thought.
Fleeing Roman persecution, Jews reached the shores of south India (about 30 kms from Kochi) around the year 72 A.D. Over the centuries Jews migrated in waves. They became prosperous bankers and traders and spoke a language called Judeo-Malayalam. In the 16th century, after persecution by the Portuguese, the Jews were forced to migrate to Kochi.
They once occupied almost all the houses on Jew Street. All but a couple of dozen Jews have since migrated to Israel. Today most of these Dutch-style residences house antique-shops.
I loved walking down Jew Street - the narrow lane ending at Paradesi Synagogue and the clock tower - lots of great windows and doors, Hebrew signs, - surrounded by - unfortunately - some touristy shops. Surprisingly, we weren't hassled by the shopkeepers.
The synagogue is absolutely worth a visit and so you will find yourself walking down Jew Street.
Jew Town is an area south of Fort Kochi, around the synagogue. It is one of the centres of the Kochi spice trade. Today it's home to lots of antique shops which are almost like museums than shops, art galleries and dilapidated buildings such as shops and warehouses which are home to wholesalers selling rice and spices.
Jew Town is a quarter of Kochi that, according to legend, dates back to the 2nd century AD when Palestinian Jews fled persecution by the Romans. More Jews came from Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries, particularly from Spain and Portugal after their expulsion (in 1492 and 1497 respectively). In the mid 1500's the Jews of the area sought protection from the Hindu king against Muslim oppression and he let them build their own quarter in Cochin. Today there is still a Jewish community, but it is small as many Jews have left to go to Israel.
Jew Town is the area around Pardesi Synagogue and was the centre of the Kochi spice trade. Today some of the families remain in the traditional spice shops and the air is filled with the aroma of ginger, cardamom, cumin, turmeric and cloves. The new shops target tourists with antiques, curios, handicrafts, and souvenirs. The antique shops can be really fascinating to wander around, but I've no idea how anyone would get most of it home with them!