Chettiyars is Hindu caste in South India. 

Chetti is a surname is a common surname used by mercantile agricultural and land owning Hindu castes in South India. 

Chettiyars in Kochi is a Tamil speaking Hindu community who are mostly petty traders. 

There are no historical records suggesting their possible migration period in Kochi but the community members confirm that their forefathers came from various parts of Tamil Nadu during the course of the history. 

There are a number of garland shops that line the narrow road that lead to the Mattacherry Palace owned by Chettiyar families. 

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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In Kochi, they are a small community who have migrated from various parts of India in the recent past. 

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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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