Jew Settlement in Kochi. The Jew Street. Kochi is the Economic capital of Kerala and its busiest city. Many people know about the cultural hot spot hidden deep in the heart of Kochi, the Jew Street. History says that Jews came and settled in Kochi as early as in the 12th Century AD. Even though Jews exists in many part of India, the Jews in Kochi constitute the oldest Jew settlement in India. Many historians date back the Jew settlement in Kochi to the period of King Solomon. However, later their reference is seen in many old history books as the Malabari Jews.
History of Jews in Kerala
The Malabari Jews built many Synagogues in different parts of Kerala as part of the Jew Settlement in Kochi. In the 16th century a few Jew families Iberia migrated to the Kochi coast. Alhambra Decree expelled the Jews from Israel in the 15th century. They were searching for a safe place and migrated to different parts of the world. The Kings of Kochi offered Jews protection and allowed land for them.
Paradeshi Jews belong to a category of Jews from the foreign land. The word Paradeshi Jews means, which means non-native Jews. They and the Malabari Jews remained different in their identity all the time. After India gained freedom from the British, the Israel too became a nation. During this period in the 1950s, many Jews migrated back to Israel. Those Jews were lineage of their Jew ancestors who came to India centuries back. Even though these people were born and brought up in India, they strongly believed that they belong to Israel. Many Paradeshi Jews migrated to other countries including Australia too.
The Jewish Synagogues in Kerala
Many Synagogues that the Jews built in Kerala still exists. Some of these synagogues are now other utility buildings after the Jews Migrated back to Israel and other countries. The only practicing Synagogue presently existing is the Paradeshi Synagogue in Kochi. This is now a relic of the golden age of Jew Settlement in Kochi. This is also an architectural monument that attracts lot of tourists every day. Another restored Synagogue in Chendamangalam in 2006 is a museum now. This Museum demonstrate the cultural lineage of Jews in Kerala. This Synagogue was transformed in to a museum that displays the lifestyle and history of Jews in Kerala.
Jew Street, the History of Jew Settlement in Kochi
The Jew street at Kochi is a place worth visiting. It speaks about the Jew Settlement in Kochi. One can feel the history of Jewish heritage by just walking through the streets. There are many antique shops that sell curios to the tourists. The Mattanchery Palace and Synagogue are the top attractions for tourists. The visit to the Jew Street will make you forget that you are in Kerala. You feel you are trapped in a time warp and the place is really exotic. The saddest thing is that even though many foreign tourists visit the place, People from Kerala rarely consider this as a tourist spot. If you have not visited make a plan and go after the Covid pandemic is over.