The vibrant southwest coast city of the Indian Peninsula is a welcoming concoction of history, heritage and natural beauty
For centuries, settlers have left their indelible mark on Kochi, India. The seaside port city flanked by the Arabian Sea has had its share of European and Asian influences over the years, which has turned Kochi into a virtual melting pot of cultures and diverse heritage. This, combined with its scenic and natural beauty as well as its Indian roots, has undoubtedly made Kochi one of the most attractive places to visit on the west coast of India. Begin the tour here.
STROLL ALONG FORT KOCHI BEACH
Walking along Fort Kochi Beach will not only offer a memorable experience but also delivers a glimpse into the local life. A regular gathering place for residents, the beach is peppered with small stalls and eateries, all of which offer a scenic view of the coast dotted with Chinese fishing nets with vessels putting about on the calm waters. Some of the freshest seafood can be found in this area as well, which also makes this beach one of the best places for a feast in Kochi.
VISIT HERITAGE BUILDINGS
Owing to its history and heritage, Kochi is rife with a number of buildings that reflect back on its early settlers. Located just beyond the Fort Kochi Beach is St. Francis Church, one of the oldest churches in Kochi, which was built in 1503 by Portuguese settlers. The Santa Cruz Basilica can also be found within the same area along with Vasco House, which is believed to have been the home of renowned Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama.
EXPLORE THE DUTCH PALACE
Also known as the Mattancherry Palace, this building located in the western part of the city of Kochi was constructed in the mid 1500s by the Portuguese in exchange for trading rights. In 1663, the Dutch renovated the building, which gave way to the name it adopts today. These days though, the building serves as a museum that houses a wide collection of murals, paintings and artefacts from the 17th century, offering visitors a perspective of Kochi’s deep storied history.
CRUISE THE BACKWATERS
Numerous tiny islands pepper the backwaters between Ernakulam and Mattancherry, making the area perfect for an exploratory boat ride. There are several operators in the city that conduct backwater village tours on traditional boats, which can take up to two to six hours. Some operators also offer overnight excursions on a house boat as well for a truly unforgettable experience.
TAKE IN A TRADITIONAL KATHAKALI PERFORMANCE
Largely considered a must-see attraction in Kochi, Kathakali is a centuries-old dance performance that is based on ancient Indian lore. The dance form, which utilises elaborate costumes, facial expressions, hand gestures and spellbinding moves, is practiced and showcased in several venues throughout the city, with the Indian Foundation, Cochin Cultural Centre and Art Kerala offering performances every evening.