Thursday, 23 January 2014

January 20 - Kochi India

We spent 2 nights and 1 day in Kochi staying at the Bolgatty Island hotel - the former home of the British authorities during colonial days. We ventured out for the day to see a few sites. Of interest was the Jewish Synagogue, situated on Jew Street in Jew Town; perhaps not the way we would prefer to put it! Jews first arrived in the Kochi area soon after the fall of the Temple and the diaspora. For close to 1500 years they peacefully cohabited with the Hindus and Buddhists of South India. And then in the 16th century the Dutch and the Portuguese showed up and promptly destroyed the Jewish community in the name of Christ. (Sometimes it sucks to be a Christian.) The remaining Jews then found protection from the local Maharajah and built a synagogue on the  Raj's palace grounds. It, and the palace, still stands today.

The Synagogue outside.

And inside, with Amy's arm.

Kochi is also known for the 'Chinese Fishing Nets'. It was thought that these were introduced to the region by a Chinese explorer, but it is more likely that they are Portuguese in origin. Still they are captivating contrivances needing a number of people to haul them up and check-out the catch.

The nets.

The catch.

Unfortunately we also had to spend some precious time shopping at a western style mall; both our suitcases had been badly damaged in our travels and we needed to replace them. Thank you Samsonite! 

That evening we were treated to our  personal Kathakali dance presentation. Kathakali dance is an ancient form that tells stories through dance, But this is not jumping around dance; it is primarily though facial features and hand movements that the story is told. Before the performance we sat in on the makeup aspect of the event which was quite meticulous and time-consuming. And then the dance itself was unlike anything we had ever seen; the way the dancer manipulated his eyes and cheeks, and mouth,  and ears, was extraordinary. This is one of those times when we have to say 'you had to be there'.

The makeup.

The dance.

The photo-op.

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