Today we’ll explore Cochin city proper. We’ll see remnants of the melting pot culture that emerged here as a result of the spice trade in the blend of Dutch and English architecture and in the elegant cheena gala (Chinese fishing nets) for which Cochin is known. We’ll stroll the intensely aromatic streets of the old Jewish quarter, once the center of the spice trade and today home to spice shops that sell cardamom, ginger turmeric, cloves, and cumin. As the scents mingle together, you may find it challenging to distinguish one from another, but the spices’ magnificent colors are nonetheless a feast for the eyes.
We’ll visit the Mattancherry Palace, also known as the Dutch Palace for its tiled roof and whitewashed walls. But the colorful murals we’ll find here—some of th best examples of Hindu temple art in India—are the main attraction.
This part of town is also home to one of the world’s oldest Jewish populations. At the Padres Synagogue, which was founded in 1568, be sure to have a look at the ornate, hand-painted Cantonese tiles decorating the floor, and see if you can decipher the love story depicted in the images."
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