A noodle-thin street winding its way between Mattancherry Palace and Jewish Synagogue, Jew Town is among the oldest spaces of the city that once hosted a blooming Jewish populace. Today, this bustling street is the best spot to stock up on unique handicrafts, fragrant spices and exquisite antiques. Soak in rich Jewish culture as vendors greet you warmly with Shalom, a Jewish greeting, and invite you to check out a fine selection of Jewish memorabilia, brass statues, Pashmina shawls, Chinese vases, candlesticks, rose water sprinklers etc. As you hop to the shops, don't forget to refresh with a mug of piping hot coffee and a bite of authentic cuisine in the various cafes perched atop the restored spice warehouses.

Legend has it that the king of Kochi gave a piece of land to the Jews who came to trade there. The place was called Mattancherry as 'mattan' is derived from a Hebrew word that means donation and 'cherry' in Malayalam stands for settlement. After a flood in Periyar river in 1341, the Kochi Port was formed that helped the town become a spice-trading hub. Until Israel was formed in 1948, Jew Town was a prominent Jewish settlement. Today, only a handful of Jews remain here.

A major attraction is the Paradesi Synagogue built in 1568. This imposing edifice is adorned with Belgian chandeliers that glow warmly. The floor of the synagogue is lined with willow-patterned and hand-painted tiles from China that are believed to be dating back to the 18th century. It is believed that the synagogue contains four scrolls of the Torah (First Five books of the Old Testament). These are encased in gold and silver chambers.

Other Attractions in Kochi