Friday, December 30, 2011

Vishrambaug, Pune

Built in 1811, Vishrambaug served as a pleasure palace for the entertainment of the last Peshwa, Baji Rao II. Baji Rao's parents orchestrated the brutal murder of their young nephew Narayanrao, in order to gain the title of Peshwa. When Baji Rao became Peshwa, he was widely despised and reviled by his subjects as being the son of murderers. During his reign, the Maratha Empire came to an end, after nearly 150 years of rule.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Puchkas, Kolkata

Kolkata is very famous for its street food culture-the most popular being Puchkas! Almost every nook and corner has this delicious mouth-watering snack; right anytime of the day, and any season too! Visit Kamla Puchkas and let your taste buds go for frenzy!

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bamboo Crafts at Burud Ali, Pune

Typical products sold at Burud Ali - blinds, baskets of different sizes, brooms, and a flat pan-like kitchen implement used for winnowing rice/wheat or for drying things.

Shopping in Fort Kochi

The streets of Jewtown are full of souvenir shops like these. The ground floors of old houses have been converted to shops in many cases. If you like shopping, it is fun to stroll through and check out the wares. The owners employ ushers to stand outside and call out to you, but you need to learn to ignore it :) If you do go in, remember to bargain! And don't buy at the first shop you see! Go to multiple shops, look around, get a feel for the prices, and then buy.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Cafe Teapot, Fort Kochi

If you're in Fort Kochi and feel like a cup of tea, you may like to try the quirky Cafe Teapot on Peter Celli Street. There are more types of tea than there are teapots in this photo of a corner of the cafe.
Styled out of an old house, you may like to to see it even if you aren't a tea-drinker.The pace is slow, the surrounds simple and the place, much beloved. They serve food as well and that's good too.


Fishing in Fort Kochi

Chinese Fishing nets- A very unusual method of fishing, the Chinese fishing nets are constructed with bamboo and teak poles and resemble a hammock lowered into the sea.

He he, Julieta and Alan have a go at the fishing nets!

It's fun to work the nets!

And see what you can catch!

The catch! No pain, no gain.

Portrait of a fisherman. 
The "Madras checks" he is wearing have now got a fashion make-over  as Deepa's friend Chryselle writes: 

Jewish Synagogue, Fort Kochi

Jewish Synagogue at Matancherry- Also known as the Paradesi Synagogue, it is located in a section of Old Cochin in Jew Town.

The soothing interiors of the Matancherry synagogue with huge bauble-like candle-holders is a must-see. A visit to the venue unfolds the story about the arrival and assimilation of the Jewish communities in Kochi long before Israel was formed. Plan your visit with care since the synagogue is closed on Fridays and Saturdays and other Jewish holidays. 

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Malabar Jews meet the king of Cranganore

The year was 70 AD. Rome had attacked Palestine and rent the land asunder. Handfuls of the Jewish people fled in small boats with whatever little they could. One of the boats landed on what was then called Shingly (now Cranganore or Kodungulloor), a trade center for spices, ivory and coconut along the Malabar coast. 

The people on the boat disembarked with gifts forth for the king, who had arrived - all dressed in finery and shaded by a royal umbrella. He permitted the people on the boat to make Cranganore their home. Not only that, he granted them social standing in his kingdom. The group made the new place their home and came to be called the Malabar Jews. Years passed and once Israel was formed, many of them opted to return and their numbers in this country dwindled. 

The Ethnic Passage, an art gallery in Mattancherry is holding an exhibition on "Jews of Malabar" from Dec-1 to Dec-8. It is a subject of active interest to people from different parts of Kochi. 

Locals who have worked with the Jewish people and forged close ties with them and members of different religious denominations have contributed to setting up the event. Visit the exhibition and recreate a part of history - of a time when rulers were inclusive, visitors were grateful and peace reigned for a while.

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St. Francis Church, Fort Kochi

St Francis Church- One of the oldest European churches in India, the gravestone of Vasco De Gama, the first European to come to Cochin, lies there.

Inside the St. Francis Church. 
See the old-style hand-pulled punkhas on the right and left side of the room. The church was built in 1503 and has an interesting history.

Spice Market in Fort Kochi

Spices being sold in Fort Kochi- Cochin was a thriving centre on the ancient spice trade route. You can buy fresh spices at many stores in Fort Kochi.