Top Destinations in Kerala

Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi is situated about 13 km from Ernakulam and is famous for Chinese fishing nets, picturesque beaches and architectural style of the buildings. European style is clearly evident and that makes this small town stands apart from other towns in Kerala.

Although most visitors end up staying in Ernakulam, For Cochin and Mattancherry are the focus of interest, where the city's extraordinary history of foreign influence and settlement is reflected in an assortment of architectural styles.

During a wander through their narrow lanes, you will stumble upon spice markets, Chinese fishing nets, a synagogue, a Portuguese palace, India's first European church, Dutch homes, and a village green that could have been transported from England's Home Counties. The city is also one of the few places in Kerala where, at any time of year, you can be assured of seeing Kathkali dance,either in one of several special tourist theatres,or at a more authentic performance by a temple based company.

Kochi was born in 1341,when a flood created a natural safe port that swiftly replaced Muziris (Kodungallur,50km north) as the chief harbour on the Malabar coastline.The royal family transferred here from Muziris in 1405,after which the city grew rapidly,attracting Christian,Arab and Jewish settlers from the Middle East.Its name probably derives from kocchazhi,meaning the new, or small,harbour.The history of the European involvement in Kochi from the early 1500s onwards is dominated by the aggression of, successively, the Portuguese,Dutch and British,competing to control the port and its lucrative spice trade.From 1800 the state of Cochin was part of the British Madras Presidency; from 1812 until Independence in 1947,its administration was made the responsibility of a series of divan, or finance ministers. In the 1920s, the British expanded the port to make it suitable for modern ocean-going ships; extensive dredging created Willingdon Island, between Ernakulam and Fort.

Moving northwest from Mattancherry Palace along Bazaar Road, you pass wholesale emporia where owners, sitting behind scales surrounded by sacks of spices, may well be prepared to talk about their wares. Keep walking in a northerly direction, over the canal and then westwards into Fort Cochin. The architecture of the quiet streets in this enclave is very definitely European, with fine houses built by wealthy British traders, and Dutch cottages with split farm house doors. At the water's edge there's a bus stand, boat jetty and food and drinks stalls.
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