The historic town of Fort Kochi, is a jewel in the crown of Kerala with its European heritage and true cosmopolitan temperament. A leisurely walk through its streets is one of the best ways to discover all that the city has to offer like archiectural marvels like 16th Century Basilicas, Dutch Palace,Pierce Leslite Bungalow, Synagogue of Jew Town, Indo-Portuguese Museum, Ancient Chines fishing nets, Libraries, Art Galleries, Cafe, Cultural Centers, Curio Stores, Kochi's natural harbor and many other historical & Cultural sites. A boat ride across the breathtaking blue lagoons and backwaters offers a glimpse of Kochi's rural life and its true beauty.
The beach in Fort Kochi is a popular place to hangout for both the Kochiates as well as the visitors. The age-old Chinese fishing nets overlooking the Arabian Sea and fishermen raising the net are a marvelous view to watch in for hours. The fishes caught are sold to the passers within minutes. The rain trees all along the path is an added beauty to Fort Kochi. The vast canopy provided by these trees is the habitat for hundreds of birds.
KERALA KATHAKALI CENTRE
forms are demonstrated in traditional style with its real sense and reality. The Kerala The Kerala Kathakali Centre is popularly known as school of traditional arts. It is the Kerala's foremost arts school and the only authentic theatre where Kathakali, music, martial arts and other dance Kathakali Centre will show you rich culture and experience the world’s greatest art forms.
The centre is near to the Santa Cruz Basilica in Fort Kochi. The centre also aims to discover new talents and enhance the training process through dedication and discipline. This place has Kathakali shows between 6:00 pm and 7:30 pm and live Carnatic music at around 8:30 pm. A visit to this place will truly be an enriching and phenomenal experience. The centre arranges hundreds of programmes each year for guests or visitors from all around the world.
The Mattancherry Palace is located about 12 km from Ernakulam. One of the finest examples of the Kerala style of architecture mixed with colonial influences, the Portuguese built it as a gift to King Veera Kerala Verma. It came to be known as the Dutch Palace as it underwent major repairs at the hands of the Dutch. It is among the most popular tourist destinations in the Fort Kochi area.
The palace is situated on the Palace Road in Mattancherry. It is one of the most visited structures by the travelers. The halls of the palace are so long and spacious with a central courtyard and it is also noted for the lovely collection of murals.The mural of Lord Vishnu sleeping on a snake is a great attraction. The mural paintings cover an area of almost 300 sq.km. Royal caps and the coins issued by the Kings can also be viewed here. The palace was the residence for the royal family, and all coronation events were conducted here.
The Maritime Museum in Kochi is India’s ode to the glorious past of its majestic Navy. Here we get a glimpse of the formidable sagas, genesis and dealings of one of the top 10 naval powers in the world today. Located on the INS Dronacharya, the history and evolution of our naval forces are on full display here.
On entering the museum, you will be absolutely amazed as you will be able to observe the glory and glaze of the Indian Navy. The place is full of history and the illustrations made using paintings are really amazing. Exhibits teach visitors about the maritime history dating back to Indus Valley Civilizations and Kerala’s famous naval hero Kunjali Marakkar. The timing to visit the museum is from 9.30 am to 6.00 pm and is closed on Mondays. There are so much to read and see around in the museum. It is very close to the beach also.
The Indo-Portuguese Museum situated in Fort Kochi tries to encapsulate this bond. Their influence on the art and architecture of the region is on full display here. The constant efforts of late Dr. Joseph Kureethra, Bishop of Kochi, played an integral role in its formation so that future generations could understand the Indo-Portuguese Christian Art heritage.
The museum displays the influences of the Portuguese on Fort Kochi and the nearby areas, where valued artifacts collected from various churches are displayed. The five main sections of the museum include Altar, Treasure, Procession, Civil Live and Cathedral. A piece of the altar made in teak from the Church of Our Lady of Hope, Vypeen, a chasuble from Bishop’s House in Fort Kochi, processional cross which is a mixture of silver and wooden from Santa Cruz Cathedral in Fort Kochi, Indo-Portuguese Monstrance from the Church of Our Lady of Hope, Vypeen are among the portions on display. And finally, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation has additionally contributed to the collection of the museum.
SANTA CRUZ CATHEDRAL BASILICA
The Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica at Fort Kochi is one of the eight Basilicas in Kerala. Counted as one of the heritage edifices of Kerala, this church is one of the finest and most impressive churches in India and visited by tourists the whole year round. It is a place of devotion as well as a center of historic significance, endowed with architectural and artistic grandeur and colors of the gothic style.
The church is very well-maintained and is a real Portugal wonder gifted to Kerala. It is situated nearby the famous St. Francis Church in Fort Kochi. It serves as the cathedral church of the Diocese of Cochin. The wooden paneling of the church is very impressive. The beautiful stained-glass windows are added attractions. Being the centre of historical significance, it’s a holy place gifted with artistic splendor and the colors of the medieval style. The church, for its inimitable beauty and grandeur, has become a must-visit destination in Fort Kochi.
CHINESE FISHING NETS
Chinese explorer, Zheng He, introduced the Chinese Fishing Nets to the fishermen in Kochi over 500 years ago. Even though he would leave, these would become staple sights in these parts. The Chinese fishing nets,or Cheenvala for the locals, have attracted visitors in the Fort Kochi area for centuries. Most tour guides swear that the Vasco da Gama Square is the best spot to get the perfect view of these massive structures.
Chinese fishing nets are considered to be the living monuments of Kochi and are used as a symbol of Kerala Tourism. Made with Bamboo and teak poles, these fishing nets work from a distance. The height of the fishing net is around 10 meters. A total of six fishermen is needed to work each of these nets. The fishermen placing the net in the water for a few minutes, and pulling the ropes are very interesting to watch in for hours.
Non-Stop Boat cruise during the time of sun set in the Kochi Harbour area with spectacular view of Marine Drive, Chinese Fishing Nets, Bolgatty Island, Willington Island and Kochi Harbour.
Private boat operators offers hourly cruises starting from Marine Drive that goes through many places around.The boat ride gives you a glimpse into Fort Kochi’s erstwhile colonial past. The mansions and old industries that line the coastal area are a sharp contrast to the bustling port on the other side. Varieties of fishing boats and fishing techniques are an interesting sight. Large variety of water birds can also be spotted. A boat ride is the perfect way to spend a day at Fort Kochi.