Kochi, presently part of Kerala, was an important spice trading centre on the west coast of India from the 14th century onward. This port town came to prominence after the decline of port MuchiRi, during the 13th century. The modern Kochi port was built by the Rajarshi of Cochin. Mattancherry is an island, with a major spice market, connected with the mainland Ernakulam city. This dockland has a pluralistic culture, owing to the many interactions between people from different cultures who had visited and settled here. Even now, people from diverse cultures co-exist here, including Jain, Jew, Gujarati and Konkani communities. Dutch, Portuguese and British architecture, art, and knowledge has greatly influenced the local history and culture. This series of portraits of local people was taken by photographer Shaji N Jaleel.
Photography © Shaji N Jaleel / 35 mm digital camera