Cochin , heart and soul of Kerala – God’s Own Country in South India is perhaps the most scenic place in India. This lovely sea side city has incredible historical marks left by Arabs, Portuguese, Dutch, French and British and Chinese. Cochin, the Queen of Arabian Sea is also called as Gateway to Kerala as it is the starting point to explore serene beauty and diversity of Kerala and synthesis of present and past.
Giant Chinese fishing nets, centuries old Jewish synagogue, ancient mosques and churches , houses of Portuguese and Dutch period and Keralan Dance forms – Kathakali makes Cochin a heaven to tourists from all around the world.
Fort Cochin or Fort Kochi is a small region in Cochin City in Kerala and is first European township in India. Along the Arabian sea , Fort Cochin has marks and memories of cultures gained and cherished since 15th century AD. A walk through the streets on Fort Kochi will transport you to different time period of Arabs , Chinese and European who all occupied this. Old European mansions here have been converted into comfortable hotels.
Chinese Fishing Nets in Fort Cochin are stationary lift nets are also called as Cheena Vala. Legends has that famous Chinese traveler Zheng He gave these nets to local fishermen about 500 years before. Since than, these fishing nets are being operated and are the most scenic and photographed during sun rise and sun set.
Mattancherry Palace or Dutch Palace is small double storey structure in Cochin near Fort Kochi. This Portuguese Palace was built and gifted by the Portuguese as a present to the king of Cochin around 1555 AD. Later Dutch also carried out some extensions and renovations in the palace in 1663 AD, and thereafter it was popularly called Dutch Palace. The Palace has portraits of Kings and royal families of Kerala along with murals depicting stories from Hindu epics- Ramayana and Mahabharata.
St. Francis Church Or Church of Vasco-Da-Gama in Fort Kochi is another historical site and is one of the oldest European churches in India was built in 1503 AD. Great Portuguese explorer Vasco-da-gama was originally buried here before his remains were taken to Lisbon. Listening stories about Portuguese and expansion of Christianity in Kerala along the Malabar coast is a real experience.
Jewish Synagogue or Paradesi Synagogue in Cochin is an active synagogue of Jewish community in India. Jewish in India have been having relations with Jews all around the world for centuries. This Jewish synagogue built in 1568 AD in Jew Town of Cochin attracts numerous visitors. One step into its divine hall leaves a person enthralled with the rare antiques on display including chandeliers & lamps and hand painted blue willow patterned tiles. A walk around the art galleries from clock-tower through streets of Jew Town is very interesting.