This morning Padma and I went for a stroll along the Fort Cochin waterfront to look at the old cantilevered Chinese fishing nets. Here fishermen were dispersing their overnight catch of fish to the various fish sellers.
The Chinese fishing nets are called cheena vala in Malayalam. They are used at high tide and take about four men to operate due to their huge size.
We then moved hotels to the Old Courtyard Hotel (www.oldcourtyard.com). We like changing hotels as it often gives you a different perspective of the same town. The rooms here are really gorgeous with crisp white sheets and lovely antique furniture.
We had a lovely walk down some peaceful lanes to visit the massive Catholic Santa Cruz Basilica in Peter Celli Street.
The interior is extremely ornate with streaked brown marble and pastel painted finishes. The Catholic Churches are just like all religious shrines and temple in India – colourful and eye catching.
If you wish to send your postcards there is a lovely old post office in Post Office road. It is open 9-5pm Monday to Friday and until 3pm on Saturdays.
We caught an auto-rickshaw around to Jew Town to visit the Pardesi Synagogue. The building was built in 1664 and houses some great paintings which illustrate the Jews history in Fort Cochin. The Synagogue itself was tiny and absolutely divine. We sat on old rattan pews and gazed up at the myriad of glass chandeliers and the old blue and white Dutch tiles on the floor are all individual and hand painted. The entry fee is 5 rupees.
If you are into antiques Jew Town is your place as old wares shops abound here.
We visited two great antique shops that I would recommend. They were Crafters, V1/141Jew Town, http://www.crafters.in and Classic Exports, V1/206 Synagogue Lane, Jew Town, http://www.theclassicantiques.com. Abraham at Classic Exports was lovely and a real expert on old religious antiques.
We also visited Little Queen Embroidery (1V/542 Synagogue Lane, Jew Town. It is a unit of the Village Women Work charity. All the divine embroidery is done by widowed fishermen’s wives.
We loved chatting to the very knowledgeable Mr Thomas. We bought some very delicate hand embroidered hankies.
We also did a spot of shopping at Manvi…The Handmade in Rose Street. Here they sell beautiful embroidered shirts and dresses.
After a tasty dinner at Koder House in Tower Road we returned to our hotel for Keralan bananas and Marsala chai…mmmmm…delicious. About 5 minutes after we returned to our room a huge thunderstorm broke. A deluge of rain fell and flooded the whole downstairs area. The restaurant where we had just sat was now a sea of water.
The owners are very used to the rain here and as the whole downstairs area is tiled they just opened the door and let the water flow out…