Author Deepu Paul explores the best things to do and see in Fort Kochi. Enjoy the read!!
God’s own country as it is popularly known, Kerala is a geographically and culturally scenic state in the south of India. Each of its fourteen districts is uniquely beautiful and offers plenty to delight in for the tourists. Ernakulum is known as the cultural capital of Kerala
History of Fort Kochi
Fort Kochi in Ernakulum district is a beautiful, small town that preserves age-old cultural values and tells stories centuries old. The Cochin State came into existence in the year1102. It soon became the center of the first European settlement in India. In the year 1500, the Portuguese followed by the Dutch, made their presence conspicuous in Cochin. By 1814 the British took over the reins of Fort Kochi.
Historical places will always have different stories to tell each time we visit such destinations. If you are someone who is fascinated by the beauty of the ancient places and cultures, then touring Fort Kochi can be a detour to the past for you. The streets of Fort Kochi takes you to the architectural and cultural splendor left by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British. A fort built by Portuguese centuries back in Kochi gave Fort Kochi the popularity that it still has though the fort no longer stands.
A stroll through present day Fort Kochi
From Ernakulum town you can reach Fort Kochi by road or ferry in about 45 minutes. The bustle and hassle of Ernakulum town will gradually vanish as you inch closer to streets of Fort Kochi and an ambiance from the bygone era will envelop you.
Unlike most other tourist destinations Fort Kochi is not a happening tourist destination. The things to do and see in Fort Kochi primarily depends on your mood and time. It is not a large area and can be covered in a day’s time unless you wish to stay back. If you decide to stay back, the best things you could primarily enjoy are delicious seafood and Ayurvedic massages. There are several hotels and homestays available in the area.
If you are a traveler just passing through the town, the best things to do and see within a day is to just wander. Most of its pockets can be reached by waking and maybe that’s the best way to explore every nook and corner of the famed locations. Strolling along different streets like Rose Street, Princess Street, Tower Road and through the heart of Mattancherry is a wonderful experience.
Your things to do and see in Fort Kochi list should have Santa Cruz Basilica built by the Portuguese in the year 1505 and St. Francis Church which is one of the oldest churches built by Europeans in India.
Mattancherry Palace is another marvelous structure in the area. It was built by the Portuguese in the 16th century. The vicinity was once popular for the presence of the Jewish community. Now, however, their synagogue which is the oldest one in India is all that’s left along with a few shops selling antiques in Jew Town Road.
Towards evening it is best to move to Fort Kochi beach or to spots where Chinese Fishing Nets are in use. The first Chinese Fishing nets were erected in Fort Kochi in the 15th century by some of the first visitors to the Malabar Coast. Trying your hand on the nets is one of the best things you can do before leaving the area.
Visiting the Kochi-Muziris Biennale also should be in your list of things to do in Kochi. Biennale is the largest art exhibition in India and the first of its kind held in the country biennially. If you seek to indulge in diverse cultures and traditions, here you have the best platform to express and explore.
Best time to visit
Best things to do and see depend on the best time of the visit. Unlike in the past, God’s own country is no more a pleasant place to visit thanks to its hostile climate, pollution and traffic jams in most cities. The times have drastically changed. Since I have spent my entire school days in Ernakulam I can say, you must be prudent in deciding the when and where before travelling to Kerala.
The rains can be a murky affair in Kochi I would still say monsoon season (June-November) is the best time to visit Fort Kochi. If you are comfortable with tropical conditions, schedule your trip between December to February.
How to reach the place?
There are two railway stations connecting all major cities in India, metro rail service within the city and an International airport which Ernakulam beside the buses and taxies to ease your journey.
Things to do in Kochi can be nearly limitless if you have the time. Once you move back to the mainland of Ernakulum town, make sure to visit Marine Drive, Cherai Beach, Hill Palace, Munmbam Beach, Bolgatty Palace And Island Resort, Kuzhupilly Beach, Willingdon Island, Lulu Shopping Mall, and Kerala museum.
There are still a lot more interesting things to do and see in Ernakulam district, but the sweltering climate could be too much for you. Hence, retreat to any of the beaches to relax in the evening, enjoy plenty of tender coconuts before moving further away from the town.
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