Historic Synagogue street in Kochi’s Jew Town to get a facelift

The Synagogue lane flanked on either side by heritage buildings at Jew Town in Kochi being readied for renovation.   | Photo Credit: THULASI KAKKAT

The historic street at Jew Town in Mattancherry leading to the 450-year-old Paradesi Synagogue will shortly be paved using cobble stones, while a duct is being readied at the centre of the road to carry power cables and other utilities.

The work is being done as part of the Cochin Smart Mission Limited (CSML) project to upgrade roads and drains at Mattancherry and Fort Kochi heritage towns. The agency decided to include the street that ends at the synagogue in the purview of works in Jew Town following demands from heritage enthusiasts, sources said.

“Semi-polished cobble stones will be laid on the street for tourists and others who walk to the synagogue, while polished cobble stones will be laid on one side for wheelchair access. Polished stones on the entire stretch could result in visitors slipping and falling during rainy weather. It was decided to ready a duct through the centre of the street which is flanked on either side by heritage buildings. Trenching the sides of the lane for duct or drain work could affect their structural stability,” they added.

Heeding to demand from local residents and traders, CSML will install cast iron street lights in keeping with the town’s heritage status. The rest of the roads in Jew Town will be black-topped once work on drains is completed. They will be topped using dense bituminous macadam (DBM) by the end of September, it is learnt.

Welcoming CSML scooping out the street’s surface to lay cobble stones, Thaha Ibrahim, a close aide of the iconic Jew Sarah Cohen who lived at her house beside the lane until her death in 2019, said it would help retain the level, preventing rainwater from entering houses and shops in the vicinity. “Remnants of roof tiles that could date back to over 400 years were discovered when the centre of the stretch was trenched by around two feet. The tiles follow a pattern that was in use in West Asia and will have many stories to narrate,” he said.

Fort Kochi

Meanwhile, CSML has promised that all road and drain work that it had taken up in Fort Kochi, barring construction of half-a-dozen smart roads, would be completed by the end of the year. “We are unable to re-tender pending work to upgrade K.B. Jacob Road and a few other roads into smart roads, since the contracting firm has procured an order from the Kerala High Court permitting it time till October,” sources in the agency said.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 3:59:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/historic-synagogue-street-in-kochis-jew-town-to-get-a-facelift/article36439897.ece

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