The Thangal family, which traces its lineage all the way back to Prophet Muhammed. 

Before the advent of the European forces, Kochi had robust trade relationships with the Arabian Peninsula. 

The Thangal family, which traces its lineage all the way back to Prophet Muhammed is a proud bearer of this Arab legacy. 

According to the oral traditions, the predecessors of the Thangals came from present day Yemen. It is believed that the King of Kochi invited Sayyed Abdul Rahman Hydrosi, who after having embarked on a long and hazardous journey reached Ponani from Yemen through Surat in Gujarat in the 16th Century. 

The king allowed the Thangals to build a residency at the banks of the lake of Kochi, which is called Thakyavu. This word is a localized version of the Arabic word Taqiya which literally means ‘prudence of fear’.  

Thakyavu encapsulates the shrines of the predecessors who were great spiritual leaders. The place has now become a great spiritual center that is visited by people of all faiths in search of spiritual solace. 

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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