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Karthik Raja | profile | all galleries >> Galleries >> Incredible India >> Fort Kochi, Mattancherry, Kerala tree view | thumbnails | slideshow | map

Fort Kochi, Mattancherry, Kerala

Cochin, is a major port city on the west coast of India by the Arabian Sea and is part of the district of Ernakulam in the state of Kerala. Fort Kochi is part of an island toward the south-west of the mainland Kochi, and includes the Mattancherry area. Enter Fort Kochi via ferry from the mainland or over the bridges from Willingdon Island.

Fort Kochi is the tourist nerve-center of Kerala. It is one of the most visited cities in India and its history over the last 1000 years has shaped its people, its culture and its soul. Vasco Da Gama square has the most prominent hotels, but we chose to stay in the only hotel on the beach, the Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel. Harbour engineer Robert Bristow was brought to Kochi in 1920 under the direction of Lord Willingdon, then the Governor of Madras. In a span of 21 years, he transformed Kochi to one of the safest harbours in the peninsula. His house built in 1927 was converted to the present day Bristow hotel.

Fort Kochi is best explored on foot. We checked-in, and refreshed ourselves with authentic Kerala fare, Kerala paratha, eggs added to give it fluffiness, with a side of avial, vegetables cooked in coconut, sweet dessert of banana fry with coconut slices and cardamom tea to wash it all down. We then started our walk along the beach, past the old gun ruins of the fort to Vasco Da Gama square, where the Chinese fishing nets gave us the first glimpse of the old Cochin. It was earlier thought that the nets might have been introduced by the Chinese explorer Zheng He though recent research shows that they were introduced by Portuguese Casado settlers from Macau. The slow, rhythmic rise and fall of the nets, catching fish at every dip is a perfect metaphor for life in Cochin. Slow, relaxed, purposeful, beautiful.

Around Vasco Da Gama square are various traders, selling the daily catch, trinkets and souvenirs and anything else a tourist might want. Walk through town to St. Francis CSI Church, built in 1503, the oldest European church in India and once home to the remains of Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama who died in Kochi in 1524 when he was on his third visit to India. His body was moved 14 years later to Lisbon. Another must see church is the Santa Cruz Basilica. It was built by the Portuguese and elevated to a Cathedral by Pope Paul IV in 1558, was spared by the Dutch conquerors who destroyed many Catholic buildings but later demolished by the British. Bishop D. João Gomes Ferreira commissioned a new building in 1887. Consecrated in 1905, Santa Cruz was proclaimed a Basilica by the Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1984. The interiors are adorned with paintings of the Jesus' crucifixion and needs more than a few minutes to appreciate.

We stopped over at the tourist hyped Kashi Art Cafe on Burgher street and then proceeded by auto to Mattancherry. The Mattancherry palace was built by the Portuguese and presented to Veera Kerala Varma (1537–65), Raja of Kochi, in 1555 AD. The Dutch carried out some extensions and renovations in the palace in 1663, and Hyder Ali and the British East India Company all made renovations. Today it houses some of the most exquisite hindu temple mural art. The Paradesi Synagogue built in 1568 by the Malabar Yehudan people, is the oldest active synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations. It shares a wall with the Pazhayannur Bhagavathy Temple and the palace and symbolizes another aspect of Cochin, the coming together of secular beliefs. On the road to the synagogue are antique shops of Jew Town, most of whose inhabitants have since migrated to Israel and have now become home to Kashmiri traders.

The Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2012, an international exhibition of contemporary art was in progress and was set in spaces across Kochi, Muziris and surrounding islands. There are shows in existing galleries and halls, and site-specific installations in public spaces, heritage buildings and disused structures. We kept our eyes open for the many exhibits around Fort Kochi.

The geographic beauty of an island, the stress-free pace of life, the confluence of cultures east and west and the sumptuous food makes Fort Kochi a perfect place to start your explorations into God's own country.

Click here... for Alleppey district, Kerala photos
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Chinese Fishing Nets, Cheena vala, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Chinese Fishing Nets, Cheena vala, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Chinese Fishing Nets, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Chinese Fishing Nets, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Fishing, Chinese Fishing Nets, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Fishing, Chinese Fishing Nets, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Chinese Fishing Nets, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Chinese Fishing Nets, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Arabian Sea, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Arabian Sea, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Mahatma Gandhi Beach, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Mahatma Gandhi Beach, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Painting, Mahatma Gandhi Beach shore, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Painting, Mahatma Gandhi Beach shore, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Arabian Sea, Fort Kochi Beach, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Arabian Sea, Fort Kochi Beach, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Mahatma Gandhi Beach, Kochi Refineries, Oil container, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Mahatma Gandhi Beach, Kochi Refineries, Oil container, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Fort Kochi Beach, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Fort Kochi Beach, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Fort Kochi Beach, Kochi Refineries, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Fort Kochi Beach, Kochi Refineries, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Kochi Refineries, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Kochi Refineries, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Fort Kochi Beach, Sunset, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Fort Kochi Beach, Sunset, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Fort Kochi Beach, Sunset, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Fort Kochi Beach, Sunset, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Fort Kochi Beach, Sunset, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Fort Kochi Beach, Sunset, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Fort Kochi Beach, Sunset, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Fort Kochi Beach, Sunset, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Fort Kochi Beach, Sunset and the fisherman, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Fort Kochi Beach, Sunset and the fisherman, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Fort Kochi Beach, Sunset and the fisherman, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Fort Kochi Beach, Sunset and the fisherman, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Thoppumpady Bridge, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Thoppumpady Bridge, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Old gunnery ruins of Fort Emmanuel, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Old gunnery ruins of Fort Emmanuel, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Outside facade, Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Outside facade, Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi, Kerala
The main hall, Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi, Kerala
The main hall, Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi, Kerala
The Altar, Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi, Kerala
The Altar, Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi, Kerala
The altar, Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi, Kerala
The altar, Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Ceiling with paintings of Jesus' crucification, Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Ceiling with paintings of Jesus' crucification, Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Ceiling with paintings of Jesus' crucification, Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Ceiling with paintings of Jesus' crucification, Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi, Kerala
The Last Supper, Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi, Kerala
The Last Supper, Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Ornamentation, Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Ornamentation, Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Mosaic, Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Mosaic, Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Interior decoration, Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Interior decoration, Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Interior decoration, Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Interior decoration, Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi, Kerala
St. Francis Church, Vasco Da Gama's first burial site, Fort Kochi, Kerala
St. Francis Church, Vasco Da Gama's first burial site, Fort Kochi, Kerala
St. Francis Church, Vasco Da Gama's first burial site, Fort Kochi, Kerala
St. Francis Church, Vasco Da Gama's first burial site, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Paradesi Synagogue, Oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth, Jew Town, Mattancherry, Kerala
Paradesi Synagogue, Oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth, Jew Town, Mattancherry, Kerala
Jewish Synagogue, Jew Town, Mattancherry, Kerala
Jewish Synagogue, Jew Town, Mattancherry, Kerala
Clock, Jewish Synagogue, Jew Town, Mattancherry, Kerala
Clock, Jewish Synagogue, Jew Town, Mattancherry, Kerala
Jew Road, Jew Town, Mattancherry, Kerala
Jew Road, Jew Town, Mattancherry, Kerala
Folklore Museum collections, Mattancherry, Kerala
Folklore Museum collections, Mattancherry, Kerala
Dutch Palace, Mattancherry, Kerala
Dutch Palace, Mattancherry, Kerala
Pazhayannur Bhagavathy Temple, Dutch Palace, Mattancherry, Kerala
Pazhayannur Bhagavathy Temple, Dutch Palace, Mattancherry, Kerala
Water Tank, Dutch Palace, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Water Tank, Dutch Palace, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Thirumala devaswom temple, Mattancherry, Kerala
Thirumala devaswom temple, Mattancherry, Kerala
Thirumala devaswom temple tank, Mattancherry, Kerala
Thirumala devaswom temple tank, Mattancherry, Kerala
Thirumala devaswom temple gopuram, Mattancherry, Kerala
Thirumala devaswom temple gopuram, Mattancherry, Kerala
Inner courtyard, Thirumala devaswom temple, Mattancherry, Kerala
Inner courtyard, Thirumala devaswom temple, Mattancherry, Kerala
Inner yard, Thirumala devaswom temple, Mattancherry, Kerala
Inner yard, Thirumala devaswom temple, Mattancherry, Kerala
Dharmanath Jain Temple, Mattancherry, Kerala
Dharmanath Jain Temple, Mattancherry, Kerala
David Hall, built 1695, named after David Koder, venue: Kochi Muziris Biennale 2012, Fort Kochi, Kerala
David Hall, built 1695, named after David Koder, venue: Kochi Muziris Biennale 2012, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Old Harbor Hotel, Vasco Da Gama square, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Old Harbor Hotel, Vasco Da Gama square, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Kashi Art Cafe, Kochi Muziris Biennale 2012, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Kashi Art Cafe, Kochi Muziris Biennale 2012, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Kashi Art Cafe, venue: Kochi Muziris Biennale 2012, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Kashi Art Cafe, venue: Kochi Muziris Biennale 2012, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Road through Mattancherry, Kerala
Road through Mattancherry, Kerala
Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Pool, Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Pool, Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Ghorpade Suite, Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Ghorpade Suite, Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel, Fort Kochi, Kerala
View from the Ghorpade Suite, Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel, Fort Kochi, Kerala
View from the Ghorpade Suite, Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Bench, Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Bench, Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Christmas Tree, Lobby, Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Christmas Tree, Lobby, Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel, Fort Kochi, Kerala
New House painting, Fort Kochi, Kerala
New House painting, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Doors, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Doors, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Windows, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Windows, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Windows, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Windows, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Indian Pond Heron, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Indian Pond Heron, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Banana Leaves, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Banana Leaves, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Pineapple, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Pineapple, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Sapota, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Sapota, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Shells, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Shells, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Rock paintings, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Rock paintings, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Muruku maker, Rooms, Taxis, Websites anyone? Fort Kochi, Kerala
Muruku maker, Rooms, Taxis, Websites anyone? Fort Kochi, Kerala
Molaga Seller, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Molaga Seller, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Fresh catch, fish, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Fresh catch, fish, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Catch of the day, fish, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Catch of the day, fish, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Ornaments, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Ornaments, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Houseboat craft, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Houseboat craft, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Statue, Vasco Da Gama square, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Statue, Vasco Da Gama square, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Murals, skeleton eagle, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Murals, skeleton eagle, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Murals, Colorful parrot, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Murals, Colorful parrot, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Art, Mandalay Hall, Kochi Muziris Biennale 2012, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Art, Mandalay Hall, Kochi Muziris Biennale 2012, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Revolution, Burma, Mandalay Hall, Kochi Muziris Biennale 2012, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Revolution, Burma, Mandalay Hall, Kochi Muziris Biennale 2012, Fort Kochi, Kerala
The Buddha, Mandalay Hall, Kochi Muziris Biennale 2012, Fort Kochi, Kerala
The Buddha, Mandalay Hall, Kochi Muziris Biennale 2012, Fort Kochi, Kerala
A book pretending to be a camera, David Hall, Kochi Muziris Biennale 2012, Fort Kochi, Kerala
A book pretending to be a camera, David Hall, Kochi Muziris Biennale 2012, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Mountbatten's mark, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Mountbatten's mark, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Statue, Art, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Statue, Art, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Statue, Art, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Statue, Art, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Art, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Art, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Art, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Art, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Kerala cuisine - avial, kerala paratha, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Kerala cuisine - avial, kerala paratha, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Kerala cuisine - banana with caramelized walnuts and cocunuts, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Kerala cuisine - banana with caramelized walnuts and cocunuts, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Kerala cuisine - cardamom tea, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Kerala cuisine - cardamom tea, Fort Kochi, Kerala
Cochin International Airport, Kerala
Cochin International Airport, Kerala