Get caught in the fishing nets and setting sun on the beaches of Cochin; with serene backwaters, beautiful lagoons, wooded isles and a magnificent landscape, Cochin is indeed the Queen of Arabian Sea
Cochin, known as the Queen of Arabian Sea, the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala has one of the finest natural harbors in the world. Ancient mariners from Arabia, China, Holland, Britain and Portugal have all left their mark on this beautiful island city. A conducted cruise through the winding waterways will take you to several quaint spots.
Walking through Fort Cochin will transport you back to the last years of the 15th century. When the adventurous Vasco da Gama and valiant Cabral let their religions to this land lured by the fabulous riches of Malabar Coast and established flourishing trade relations.
Bolgatty Palace one of the oldest existing Dutch Palace outside Holland. A Dutch trader built this quaint mansion way back in 1744. The building was then the Governor’s palace for the Dutch and later in 1909 was leased to the British. In 1947, when India got her independence, the palace became the property of the state and later converted into a heritage hotel resort and is now run by the KTDC (Kerala Tourism Development Corporation).
Chinese Fishing Nets
The Chinese fishing nets, a mechanical method of catching fish by local fishermen in Fort Kochi, are the only ones of its kind in India. Erected here between 1350 and 1450 AD by traders from the court of Kublai Khan, these nets are set up on Teak wood and bamboo poles. The best place to watch the nets being lowered into the sea and catch being brought in is the Vasco da Gama Square, a narrow promenade that runs along the beach.
The Dutch Palace was originally built by the Portugese. Later, in 17th century, the Dutch modified it and presented to the Raja of Kochi in the year 1555 AD. It was later taken over by the Dutch who improved it through extensions and repairs in 1663 AD.
The palace has a fine collection of mural paintings depicting the scenes from the Hindu epics Mahabharatha and Ramayana. On display in the palace are, the dresses, turbans, weapons and palanquins.
Fort Kochi beach
A stroll along the beach, particularly at sunset with the Chinese fishing nets and sailing ships in the background, is a fine experience. Many European style bungalows can be seen along the shoreline. A leisurely walk through the lanes of the city is the best way to discover historic Fort Kochi.
Built in 1865 by Raja of Kochi, the palace has been converted into a museum displaying a fine collection of articles used by the Rajas of Kochi apart from many archaeological findings.
In the Ethno – Archaeological Museum, are oil paintings, murals, sculptures in stone and manuscripts, inscriptions, coins, belongings of the Kochi royal family and royal furniture including the simhasana (throne). Also exhibited are over 200 antique pieces of pottery and ceramic vases from Japan and China. The museum also houses a gallery of contemporary art.
The synagogue, magnificently decorated by Chinese tiles and Belgian chandeliers, was built in 1568. Giant scrolls of the Old Testament can be found here. The exquisite hand painted blue Chinese tiles offer an interesting sight. Not one of the nearly two hundred year old tiles resembles another. In mid-18th century, the clock tower was added. There are several finely wrought gold and silver crowns gifted to the synagogue by the various patrons.
Museum of Kerala History
This ‘live’ Museum is not just a retelling of the past but is a Light and Sound show of three-dimensional visuals. 87 figures who shaped the history and culture of Kerala in the last two thousand years have been represented here in Light and Sound Tableaus. The story, from the Early peoples of Kerala to the modern age is interspersed with Social, Cultural and literary facets is a fascinating one.
St. Francis Church
It is the oldest church built by European in India. On his 3rd visit to Kerala, Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese trader who reached India from Europe by sea, fell ill and died in Kochi. He was buried in the St. Francis Church. Later his remains were taken back to Portugal. In spite of that the exact place where he was buried has been marked out inside the church
The loveliest part of Fort Cochin; in earlier centuries a thousand Jews lived here. Most are gone-many old houses are now antique shops for foreign tourists, but the quarter remains the nerve center of Kerala’s spice commerce.