Traveling to God’s own country? The culturally diverse, Kochi is a place you cannot miss. Architecture, festivals, and religious traditions handed down from the Dutch, Portuguese, Arab, Chinese, Japanese, and British form an integral part of Kochi’s charm. However picking out the right spots to visit can be tricky, considering the plenitude of options available. Here’s a list of 5 must see places in Fort Kochi, all within 5 kms of each other so that you don’t lose out on your precious time on travelling.
1. Cheenavala (Chinese fishing nets): While taking a stroll on the Vasco da Gama Square at Fort Kochi you’ll find the coast line studded with wooden poles and nets tied together in an intricate manner. Legends have it, that the structures were a gift from an ancient Chinese emperor to the then king of Kochi and were once an extensively used mechanism for sustainable fishing.
2. Paradesi synagogue: One of the last remaining functional synagogues in the country and the oldest in the Commonwealth nations, the Paradesi synagogue certainly holds a place in the itinerary of every travellers in Kochi. It also has certain unique features due to the influence of local religious traditions.
3. Jew town and Spice market: Adjacent to the Paradesi synagogue is the Jew town, which hosts several antique and handicraft shops. The area is also famous for its aromatic spice stores. The aroma from these stores is guaranteed to stop you in your tracks and make you check the spices out for yourself.
4. St. Francis church: Built in 1503, the St. Francis CSI church is the oldest European church in India. It was the original burial place of Vasco da Gama before his remains were moved to Lisbon.
5. Mattancherry palace (Dutch palace): Built in the 14th century in traditional Kerala architecture (Nalukettu) by the Portuguese and later renovated by the Dutch, the palace today holds intricate murals depicting Hindu mythology. Also on display are weapons, furniture, and various other materials that were once used by the royal family.
So the next time you’re on an India tours, be sure to drop in at Kochi to experience first-hand a plethora of culture and traditions.