Now that you have decided to go to Kochi, I can guarantee you that it is going to blow your mind. In this blog i’m gonna show you the best places to see and the best things to do in one day and tips on where you should stay when you are visiting Fort Kochi
Before we dive into the exploring part, understanding the history of this region is super important as it really influences how this area is built.
Kochi was a fishing village in the Kingdom of Kochi in the pre-colonial Kerala. The territory that would be later known as Fort Kochi was granted to the Portuguese in 1503 by the Rajah of Kochi, after the forces of Afonso de Albuquerque helped him fighting the forces of Saamoothiri of Kozhikode. The Rajah also gave them permission to build Fort Emmanuel near the waterfront to protect their commercial interests. The first part of the name Fort Kochi comes from this fort, which the Dutch later destroyed. The Portuguese built their settlement behind the fort, including a wooden church, which was rebuilt in 1516 as a permanent structure, today known as the St Francis Church. Fort Kochi remained in Portuguese possession for 160 years. In 1683 the Dutch captured the territory from the Portuguese, destroyed many Portuguese institutions, particularly Catholic including convents. The Dutch held Fort Kochi in their possession for 112 years until 1795, when the British took control by defeating the Dutch. Foreign control of Fort Kochi ended in 1947 with the Indian independence.
That is why this area is unique in India as it has influence from the Dutch, the Portuguese, the British and of Indian cultures. This fusion of different cultures can be seen in the architecture, the layout and the way in which the entire area is built. This was super interesting this kind of mixture so rare to find in India.
When you’re traveling to a new place, where you stay plays a major role in contributing to your experience of the entire travel. That is why I choose by accommodation wisely. The area of Fort Kochi has many hotels and guest houses. But one that stood our for me was Hotel Forte Kochi.
You just cannot miss this place when you are walking around Fort Kochi. It is this beautiful yellow building, with very European architecture which has been renovated into a boutique hotel. Previously it was a home that has been converted into a hotel. The bedrooms are now rooms, the large courtyard serves as the common swimming and lounge area. The Living room has been converted into the reception and the main dining area and everything has a very European feel to it.
The best part about this hotel is its location. It is so centrally located that all major tourist attraction are literally just 5-15 minutes walk away. I think that was made it possible for me explore the Fort Kochi area in just a day.
I simply fell in love with the entire look and feel of this entire place. Be it the yellow walls, the retro flooring and the tiles, the tinted glasses, an old staircase for taking you to the first floor, everything was so unique and yet the place had all the comforts and luxury of a five star hotel.
There are three room categories, the difference being in space, amenities and cost. The night we stayed, the management had arranged for a cultural show in the courtyard where talented musicians played classical music while we enjoyed our candle light dinner by the pool. A special mention to the food. It is by far one of the best Keralian food I have ever had. And i have had my far share of this food as my boarding school is very nearby in Coimbatore. We asked the manager to just surprise us and serve us the best local food the chef could make and surprise us they did. The Kerala paratha, the appam and stews were beyond words. The flavors of coconut and spices were so perfectly balanced with the chewiness of the bread, it was simply delicious.
The staff was super helpful and thoughtful, they had arranged for transportation and they gave me some really nice suggestions and local secrets on where to go, what to do and explore the place like a local. Now that is my kind of travel.
That is why i highly recommend, for people who want to explore and experience the real Fort Kochi, this truly is the place for completing your experience.
If you want to book your rooms you can check out this link right here
Things To Do
Once you are checked in and refreshed it is time to head out. Fortunately everything you want to see and explore in this place is literally 10 minutes walking distance from the hotel.
1. Chinese Fishing Nets –So the first place that you will want to go is the area where they have big Chinese fishing nets. It is really awesome place to come and see the local fisherman going about their daily routine in a harmony with the ocean. Interesting fact about why these are called Chinese fishing nets is that long back, even before the Portuguese it was Chinese who had come to this fishing village first and started fishing. They named the place Kochi which means “Like China” in Mandarin (Ko-Chi). The locals learned this technique and it is being used ever since.
2. Beach Promenade – Once you are done with the fishing nets, continue on the same path the takes you along the Mahatma Gandhi Beach for a beautiful view of the ocean, with ships in the background and the sun setting in the distance. The best time to come here is during sunsets.
3. Dutch Cemetery – After walking down the Promenade, head to the dutch cemetery.The cemetery, built in the style of the Dutch architecture of the time, is surrounded by walls and the year 1724 is engraved on the entrance pillar. The epitaphs and tombs, numbering 104, carry the authentic records of hundreds of people of Dutch and British nationality.
Many of the tombs are made of granite and red laterite and have no cross. There are big as well as small tombstones and the inscriptions on the epitaphs are in the old Dutch script.
4. St. Francis Church – Once you are done with the cemetery head to the St. Francis Church. The St. Francis Church, well-known for its beautiful structural design and ambiance, has an important place in history. It is here that the famous explorer, Vasco-da-Gama, was originally buried. His remains would be taken back 14 years later but to this day, the exact spot is clearly marked. The place is known for its deep Dutch and Portuguese influences and is an architectural marvel in itself.
5. Santa Cruz Basilica
This amazing construction has two lofty spires that welcomes all even from a distance. The exterior is white-washed and astonishingly bright and the interior is pastel-coloured. The interior of the church has Gothic style architecture with its overwhelming arches and an awe-inspiring altar. The main altar was decorated by the renowned Italian painter Fr Antonio Moscheni and his disciple De Gama of Mangalore. Their contribution is still vivid in the columns that are decorated with frescoes and murals. The seven large canvas paintings including a beautiful reproduction of the ‘Last Supper’ by Leonardo da Vinci are a real feast for the eyes. The ceilings of the church are adorned with paintings that depict scenes from the Via Crucis of Christ. The beautiful stained glass windows are another attraction.
The church, for its inimitable beauty and grandeur, has become a must-see destination in Fort Kochi.
6. Jew Town – I would not say this is in walking distance, but a short tuk-tuk ride will take you there for 100 Rs.
Jew Town, a narrow street between Mattancherry Palace and the Synagogue, is a favorite haunt of antique hunters. Some of the most pristine and historically relevant artifacts of our times have been unearthed by our visitors here. While a huge bronze vessel catches your eye first, each of the shops here contains beautiful items with quirky and interesting stories. They are like fractions of history, waiting for the right person to come and finally claim them. It is a perfect place if you want to take souvenirs back home from Kerala.
In the evening when you are tired after all these activities, head to the many beer gardens which serve chilled beer and wine along with snacks. The streets of Fort Kochi are lined with such beautiful places and just walk in to any of them to round up the evening.
So i hope this blog gives you an idea on how to explore the area of Fort Kochi and for a more visual experience, check out this video below and Subscribe to the Blog and YouTube channel.
And until the next time, keep on traveling