Muziris was a historical Port in Kerala from where we used to export spices to countries across the world. This port existed 3000 years ago. The department of archaeology and many historians tried to search for its existence, but they failed. One day, heavy rains unearthed some materials at a small town near Kochi called Pattanam. Upon further investigations, it was found that these were the materials connected with the long-lost Muziris Port. We used to export valuable stones and spices from this port to Romans, Greeks and to other parts of the world. Muziris had seen many wars, cultural diversifications and civilisations because it was the entry point to most of the western countries. Muziris Heritage projects will give us 3000 years of vanished legacy and we will able to display that civilisation to the world.
Jewish Synagogue in North Paravoor
This Synagogue of North Paravoor is one of the oldest Jewish Synagogues in India. This was built in 1615. Jews came to Kerala for trading and they settled in and around Kodungallur. They got special permission from the local ruler to construct a synagogue for their prayers and offerings. The one in Paravoor is one of the spacious synagogues in Kerala and gives us significant details about Jews and their worships. The architecture is a mix of Portuguese and Kerala styles. The hanging fan is particularly a rare Portuguese hint. The Synagogue is located near the North Paravoor market. Earlier, many Jews were settled near the market. At present, there are a couple of Jew families in Paravoor.
Jewish Synagogue in Chendamangalam
Photo by Nagarjun
This is 2nd oldest Synagogue in India. This was built in 1420 and it got damaged because of fire. It was then renovated in 1614. This synagogue was closed after 1960 because there were no Jew families available. It is located in Kottayil Kovilakam, near Chendamangalam. Jews were very close to local people of Chendamangalam. You can see the exquisite wood work, pillars, rooms and designer stairs in the Synagogue. It is a brilliant showcase of the Jewish architecture and handicraft.
This palace was actually the home of Paliathachans. They used to be the prime ministers of Kochi kingdom. The Kochi Kingdom was a battleground during the 17th and 18th century due to Portuguese, English and Dutch intervention. Paliathachans were very strong and restricted them from getting into this region. When the Portuguese attacked the King of Kochi, he sought the Paliathachans’ asylum. After that, the palace came to be known as ‘Kovilakam’. The Kovilakam is made in Dutch and Kerala style. The senior-most person in the Paliam family becomes the head and called Paliathachan. The Kovilakam has two floors with all facilities where more than 100 people can stay peacefully and lavishly. It is not easy for the enemies to get into or attack this Kovilakam because of its architectural brilliance.
Photo by TheVinamra
The Nalukkettu of Paliam is another home or ‘Tharavadu’ of Paliam family. This is where the matrilineal joint family used to stay together. Nalukkettu is made such that women can enjoy and celebrate all their rituals and beliefs. This was built in 1786 for women and small boys. When these boys come of age, they move out and stay in a bachelors place. Only when they get married, they will be provided with independent houses by the Administrators. It is interesting to note that till recently Kerala’s Hindu families followed matriarchy, even when the rest of the world followed patriarchy.
Pattanam and Kottapuram Muziris Excavations
Pattanam is a place from where we came to know about the Muziris port and its civilisation. You can see colourful stones and other fossils at this place. The archaeological department has displayed the artefacts and pieces of vessels and weapons excavated for the tourists to explore. Kerala has Muziris heritage tourism packages that include boating and visiting these important locations in the area.
Cheraman Mosque Complex
This is the oldest Indian Mosque which was built in 629 AD. Cheraman Mosque is located at Kodungallur. The Mosque was built by Malik Bin Dinar. This mosque will give you a clear picture of Islam’s entry into the Indian subcontinent and its evolution. This Mosque has gone through many renovations but there is no major structural change as such. There is a lamp inside the mosque which will always lighted and devotees can offer oil for it.
Photo by Trilok Rangan
You can travel by boat to most of the places mentioned above and visit all Muziris heritage sites. This package includes your food and entry fees to the museums. The Muziris Heritage tour will open your eyes into the rich past of Kerala.
Featured Photo by www.davidbaxendale.com