The city of Kochi can be paradise for lovers of both history and shopping if you look at the right places. If you are a tourist who is interested in a blend of both, then head straight to Jew Street in Kochi.
The iconic location is located roughly 10 kms away from Ernakulam and because it is an important tourist spot, tourist vehicles as well as Rickshaw drivers will take you to Jew Street. The place has a history of its own along with a rich influx of Indian and Jewish culture.
Once visitors reach Jew Street, Kochi, they will have to pass through winding roads which is filled with the hustle and bustle of the array of souvenir shops on both sides of the road. On Jew Street, one can pick up exquisite antiques at fabulous prices.
Most of the shops on Jew Street are operated by Kashmiri merchants who sell a variety of collectibles like wood carved instruments, wooden boxes, curios like Kashmiri snake boats and other house beautification objects like antique lanterns and carved statues.
If visitors spend extensive amount of time in the Jew Street market, they might be lucky enough to pick up objects that are not available anywhere else. Hardcore shopping addicts will love the unimaginable variety of collectibles available on Jew Street. But make sure to drive a hard bargain as the shopkeepers quote extremely high prices anticipating the haggling which is to follow.
At the end of the street, you will reach the main attraction of Jew Street- the Pardesi Synagogue. Officialy known as the Cochin Synagogue, this holy place an important point of worship for many Jews and people of other faith as well.
The synagogue was built in the fourth century and has been rebuild many times over the years, but it still manages ot retain the old world charm. The beauty of this place is the amount of antiques you find inside the main worship area. From ancient scrolls, hand made gold sculptures and ancient wooden furniture, Pardesi Synagogue offers a lot to the artifact loving tourist. The serene aura of the place is reason enough to visit the Pardesi Synagogue.
There are other points of interest on Jew Street like the Kochi International Pepper Exchange, one of the very few of its kind to exist in the whole world. Although most of the trading takes place online now, it is still fun to take a peek into the place. Apart from these various book sellers can be found who sell old as well as new copies of interesting books.
While going to Jew Street, make sure to carry your camera as the old walls of the single storied buildings are aesthetically appealing. Apart from this, you might even get a glimpse of some historical marking on sides of the road. If you plan to visit Pardesi Synagogue on Jew Street, make sure to wear full length pants as shorts are not allowed inside the holy place.