Fort Kochin

Today we walked to the fort rather than take a rickshaw. It was a long haul and we stupidly did it during the hottest part of the day. What a lesson! The fort is an interesting place, you could spend days there and not see it all. It is believed to be the oldest European Settlement in India and we started out in Jew Town, going in and out of little antique shops. Some charged exorbitant rates for Made in Japan good while others had dirt cheap authentic stuff. It’s too bad I only have a back pack because I would have bought tons of stuff if I didn’t have to carry it. You could furnish an entire house with Indian Antiques! I also found some more mythology postcards that I would like to have framed.

The most amazing thing was Mattancherry Palace, which was originally built in 1555 by the Portuguese and given as a gift to Veera Kerala Varma, the King of Kochi. This gesture gave the Portugese exclusive access to Kerala and many other Southern Indian states.

The palace is most famous for its intricate murals depicting scenes from the Ramayana, Marabharata and many of the legends of Krishna, Kumara and Durga, Siva. Most of the murals are in excellent condition, except the ones of Parvotti, which were sandblasted off the walls. Kali / Parvotti worship was banned in India because her followers were linked to the Thuggee cult, a network of robbers known to frequently kill travellers. In the 1830s, the English infiltrated and systematically destroyed the cult; and, Thuggee worship was banned. That said, one of the tour guides figured that the images were sandblasted off the walls because all contained images of Kali’s wedding and showed images of her with naked breasts.

Scenes towards the back of the Palace show Krishna with several women in foreplay, he had seven or eight arms each one is pleasing a woman. Under it is a scene of forest animals having sex and somehow the two are related. There are also scenes with Siva and another goddess, Vishnu-Maya, on his lap. Parvotti sees him while she is sitting on a cow and she is furious. Parvotti is a goddess who gets jealous.

There are other scenes also of Siva and Parvotti in love. There is a scene explaining the incarnations of Vishnu and how one of in incarnations is of Krishna. In what is, I think, the Marabharata, they show the beginning for the Ramayana and the birth of the heroes.

In a royal bedchamber are scenes of Siva and Parvotti: passion, hate and love. There is Krishna with Gopis in suggestive scenes. Outside the bedchamber is Parvotti’s wedding to Siva. Upstairs is the coronation of Rama, a painting of Vishnu, and a painting of the white lotus is the mother of the universe and from it the ancient heroes are born: Rama, Bharatha, Lakshmana, and Satrughna.

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