Jew Town situated around the synagogue in Mattancherry falls within the city limits of Cochin now known as Kochi. Jew town is a totally different shopping bazaar from other conventional markets. Jew town shopping area is not a very big market but is a small narrow lane located between Mattancherry Palace and the Pardesi Synagogue. Jew town is mostly noted for its antique and spice shops dotting on both the sides of the streets.
Apart from these shops there are old world charm colonial buildings which are of great attraction to the shoppers and tourists who are coming to the Jew town. Jew town is a very quaint area which is of great delight to the shopaholics coming here. Jew town is highly appreciated by the natives and the foreigners for they house the beautiful curio shops in the city.
This place got the name Jew town in 1524 when the Jews migrated from Kodungallore where they were given a shelter in the land of Mattancherry by the King of Cochin. The land allocated to the Jews in Mattancherry was very much close to the palace and soon it was referred by the local people as Jew town. But later during the 20th century many Jews migrated back to their own country Israel. As a result of this many houses occupied by them became empty in the Jew town. Because of the migration of the Jews back to their native not only were the dwellings unoccupied but also their things were all left behind.
Antiques such as carved wooden furniture and vessels, as well as curios from these dwellings were collected and kept for sale in the shops on Jew Town. This is how the antique shops emerged in Jew town and also slowly got established. The demand for the Jews' products slowly increased both among the natives of Cochin and also among the tourists who came to visit this place. This demand for the antique products led to the coming up of many antique shops in Jew town selling lot of antiques and other curios of Indian, European, Chinese and Arab origin. As Jew town slowly became an area of shopping interest to both the local populace and also the outsiders there were also emergence of other handicraft and garment shops of ethnic products.
Many Interesting Things Sold in the Market:Off late the Jew town also caters to the latest trendy requirement of the people coming to this place for shopping. There are many interesting things sold in the market of Jew town especially in the antique stores which includes anything and everything that can be described as antique and that may catch the eye of a tourist. Some of the most common items found in the shops of Jew town are jewellery, rockery, wooden pillars, curios, wooden and metal figurines, statuettes, carved wooden furniture and handicrafts like wooden elephants, mirrors, wall hangings, and paintings. So you name it here and they have it. There are also lamps, Chinese urns, door frames, vintage photographs, and glass and porcelain ware that were once part of churches or homesteads of noble families.
Some of the other things which can be purchased from the Jew town other than antique items are sculptures, handmade toys, embroidered garments, floral oils, and chandeliers which are at times even sold on the pavement shops at a really reasonable price. The major attraction of the Jew town and no one should miss it on their shopping is the big vaarpu which is nothing but a bronze vessel with handles on both sides and measures about almost three meters in diameter. So Jew town is a place where we can breathe antiquity. Jew town is a very promising shopping area which has to offer something for everybody visiting this place.
Curio and Antique Shops Along the Street:The curio and antique shops along the street are capable of enchanting the visitors with their wide display of things which are quite rare collection and also of different varieties. At any part of the day in Jew town we can witness foreigners and tourists taking a stroll around the streets of this beautiful shopping bazaar looking for some of the rare souvenirs like colorful masks, carved wooden boxes loaded with different aromatic spices, wooden padukas (slippers) and wooden kitchen utensils. This bustling port area of Cochin is also noted for its spice trade.
Scores of small firms huddle together in old, dilapidated buildings and the air is filled with the biting aromas of ginger, cardamom, cumin, turmeric and cloves. There are many shops in Jew town which exclusively deals with hand crafted shawls where even the most renowned pashmina shawls are also available. Apart from these there are shops which sell beautiful elegant chunky silver jewelry and also papier mache produced in the cold climes of the mighty Himalayas. Jew town is a treasure town from where we can unearth lot of goodies which will leave us spoilt for choices.
Antiques are got from the Old Traditional HousesAntiques which are got from the old traditional houses called Tharavadus in Kerala area are also sold in the shops of Jew town. Some of the remote areas in Kerala are into homemade soaps and perfumes which are sold at very reasonable prices in the shops of Jew town. Most of these shops also sell variety of aromatic spices. Jew town is a place to buy crocheted clothes created by last surviving Jewish families, or exquisite hand embroideries specially the petit point famous in Kerala as 'convent embroidery', and Ayurvedic concoctions.
Bustling Area of Jew Town:If we are good at bargaining then this is the best place to strike very cheap deals for most of the shop owners at Jew town react very cool to the whims and fancies of the shoppers. The alleys in Jew town is fringed by number of antique shops, where anything, varying from old ship parts, grandfather clocks, gramophones, old English tea sets to crystal chandeliers, could bargain your interest. This market is specialized in antiques like hardware, tools, wooden carvings, brassware, statues, figures, silver coins, engines, old timepiece, jewelry, etc .
Thus if you are a lover of antique items then this is the most ideal place to be visited in Cochin. The shops here remain open from 11 in the morning to 8 in the evening. It is always better to do shopping of the antique items in the day light. All local transports make an easy access to the bazaar in Jew town. This is one of the best destinations in Cochin to buy all types of goods like Brassware, kitchenware, Electronic Gadgets, Hardware, Tools, Meats, Fashion, Footwear, Bronze items, Furniture, Cane goods, Vintage goods and much more.
Bargaining helpsA person who is good at bargaining can make very good deals at Jew town because it is the tendency of the shopkeepers to sell the products at an extremely high price where most of the tourist and the new comers to city fall in prey. Whereas most of the natives of Cochin and also those who are good at bargaining will only quote half the price of what the seller is quoting and will also succeed in buying the same.
One Particular Shop sells a host of items:There are no specific item sold in one particular shop for almost all the shops at Jew town deal with products like brassware, ceramics, handicrafts, books, pens, swords, cameras, army badges, brooches, compasses, figurines, stamps, coins, glass lamps, clocks, gramophones, old maps, paintings, dowry chests, coffee tables, rocking chairs, and everything else under the sun. You name it and you get it here in Jew town.
There are lot of shops in Jew town dealing with different hues of footwears and many leather items. The products sold in the Jew town which matches to the latest trend and add a good value for money. Lot of souvenirs can be carried from the Jew town as gifts for the loved ones and friends and family members. Jewellery boxes are the most common among souvenirs. The shops at Jew town provide lot of scope for buying variety of quality products.
Jew Town Promises to Offer Good ProductsAs any other market in Cochin, Jew town promises to offer good products in the economical ranges. But however of late lot of other trinkets which sounds of great interest to the shoppers in Jew town like the psychedelic T-shirts and colorful earrings and much more which are of great attraction to the college goers and youngsters are getting popular in the shops at Jew town. This is a place where you can one go-to shop and enjoy time. There are lots of shops in Jew town which along with clothing materials also caters the people with home furnishing items like bags, bed spreads, cushion covers, wall hangings, etc.
There are lot of antique jewellery shops in Jew town which are mainly specialized in handmade beaded necklaces and bangles. Since these are handmade they are available in all sizes, shapes and colors they are priced quite high because most of them involve intricate handmade designs. There are lot of shops in Jew town which deal with handicraft items and it mainly pulls the tourist crowd which comes to the market. The handicraft items include the carved wooden statues of gods and goddesses, brass wares and decorations items. There are exclusive shops in Jew town which mainly deal with puja items especially the incense sticks, incense cones and Indian tea.