Gaud Saraswat Brahmins traces its lineage back to the Konkan coast. 

Multiple historical records suggest that the Gaud Saraswat Brahmins in Kochi are the descendants of those who migrated from Goa during 16th to 18th centuries, fleeing forceful religious conversions by the Portuguese.

Upon reaching Kochi, they were allowed to build their own settlements and were granted rights to engage in trade, which eventually led to their integration into the cosmopolitan Kochi society.  According to the official data, there are approximately 2,000 Gaud Saraswat Brahmins families living in the area. Even though priesthood was their traditional occupation, in Kochi they were involved in trade and commerce.

According to the legends, it is believed that pappadam (crispy Indian wafers usually made from lentil seeds), which has now become an integral part of festival feasts in Kerala, is their contribution. To this day, many Gaud Saraswat Brahmins families are involved in the production and trade of varieties of papadums. The community also boasts of luminaries who have been endowed with highest civilian honors for their contributions in various fields including linguistics.  

PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION BY BIJU IBRAHIM: COMMUNITIES OF KOCHI

Places have souls and Mattancherry in the city of Kochi has a mystic one. Biju Ibrahim discovered this while documenting the lives of Kochi’s 38 communities through black and white pictures. Distinct in layers of identities – caste, faith, language, ethnicity and region – these communities have been welcomed over centuries and have, in turn, infused Mattancherry and Kochi with a rare and rich heritage. Historically, it has been home to Muslims, Christians, Jews and Hindus. The sea and port attracted sailors, traders from Arabia and Gujarat, preachers of Semitic faiths, colonisers such as the Dutch and Portuguese, political refugees and migrant labourers. A cross-section of India lives here in a radius of 5 kilometers. 

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AUTHOR & PHOTOGRAPHER

BIJU IBRAHIM

He captures the essence of rustic geographies, the people who are now becoming archive of the earth, the mythic & mystery of spaces & places, alleys of now filled with the density of then or before.

ART ORGANISATION

URU ART HARBOUR

URU art harbour is a cultural hub situated at Kochi. URU seeks to be a space for collaboration and a continual hub for artistic, cultural, and intellectual exploration. Founded by Riyas Komu and Zoya Riyas.

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