A series of islands jammed between the roaring sea and the calm backwaters of Kerala is the ‘Queen of Arabian Sea’ or Kochi (well-known as Cochin). A city that is culturally and traditionally rich portrays its image as the commercial capital of the state and attracts many tourists. While a part of Kochi paces on the path of urbanization, Fort Kochi and Mattancheri preserves the serenity mixed with the vintage shades of cultural Kerala. Exploring Fort Kochi on foot is the best way to learn the city’s history and heritage.
People says the best time to visit Kochi is October to March, but I don’t agree. Kachi has something unique to gift her visitors on every month and on every season. April and May can be a bit hotter than other months but it is the best time to enjoy summer treats from roadside cafés and street kiosks in the city. Kochi can be wet from June until October, but that is the best season to experience the Monsoon days of Kerala. However, if your plan is to explore Fort Kochi on foot, I would suggest to avoid the months of April and May.
Are you interested to join Jaunt Monkey for a walking tour in Fort Kochi? See the tour itinerary and contact me for booking a Kochi Walking Tour in Advance.
Explore Fort Kochi On Foot: Places to Visit
A small strip of land blended in the flavors of European architecture and traditional fishing nets has occupied a prominent place in the history of India. Find out how this small fishing village of Kerala grew more than just a coastal town.
Are you looking for some mellow loamy time away from the bustling city? Cruise yourself to the centuries old churches of Fort Kochi in search of tranquility. Take a walk on the sandy beaches of this heritage land and relax with the view of lethargic Chinese fishing nets. Do not forget to enjoy the taste of European delicacies from the cozy cafés on the vintage streets of Fort Kochi.
Here’s our list of major places to visit in Fort Kochi when you are on a walking tour.
Visit the churches of Fort Kochi
Fort Kochi has some of the oldest churches in all over India. Though a few of them are architecturally European, they have stories to tell from the history of Kerala and India.
St. Francis Church – the resting ground of Vasco da Gama
The oldest among the European churches in India, St. Francis Church of Fort Kochi was originally built by Portuguese in 1503 as a Roman Catholic Church. Later it was transformed to Dutch Reformist Church in 1664 and finally become an Anglican church in 1804. The Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama was died in Kochi and buried in St. Francis church in 1524. During your Fort Kochi tour, St. Francis Church is an unavoidable spot.
Santa Cruz Basilica – for the real old world charm
Are you not filled by the historical importance of St. Francis Church of Fort Kochi? Then visit Santa Cruz Basilica, one of among the eight basilicas of India. Santa Cruz church was constructed over a 500 years ago and it was raised to the status of a Cathedral in 1558 by Pope Paul IV. Take your time and walk until the Basilica to adore the Indo-European and Gothic architecture. Do not forget to revel in and learn the life of Christ from the frescos and murals that festoon the ceilings.
While there are many more churches to visit in Fort Kochi, the two mentioned above cannot be avoided by any travel enthusiasts.
Play with waves and help with those Chinese fishing nets
Chinese fishing nets are almost a thesaurus for Kochi at least in the books of tourism. After finishing your expedition through the heritage churches of Fort Kochi, you must visit Vasco da Gama square and join the fishermen in trying your luck of catching a pearl spot or a few Crustaceans. Do not forget to take a few snaps of you with a backdrop of Chinese fishing nets and backwaters of Kochi.
Leave the nets and go to the sands to touch and play with the waves of Arabian Sea. Lend your strong arms to the arriving fishermen for taking their country boats to the sandy coasts. Not yet over… you can also try some of the best street food on the beach.
Walk and explore the Paradesi Synagogue at Mattancherry
One of the most visited attraction of Fort Kochi, the Paradesi Synagogue or the Jewish Synagogue has also stories to share with you from 1568. This attraction of Kochi is also significant being the oldest Jewish temple among all the Commonwealth Nations. Indulge in those Chinese tiles and Belgian chandeliers while studying the versus from Old Testament rolls. By the way, make sure that you are visiting Paradesi Synagogue on any day other than Fridays and Saturdays. On Fridays and Saturdays the synagogue will remain closed.
Learn a few Mudras of Kathakali and other Classical Arts
Visiting Kerala and not enjoying Kathakali is like traveling to Japan and not tasting sushi. You wont get a better chance to experience the traditional art forms of Kerala than on your exploration of Fort Kochi on foot. However, my suggestion here is to learn the story before you start watching Kathakali.
Embellish the Murals of Kerala at the Dutch Palace in Mattancherry
Popular as Mattancherry Palace, the Dutch Palace in Mattancherry is in fact a Portuguese palace built by Portuguese as a gift to the king of Cochin in 1555. Do not forget to dig out the renovations and extensions done by the Dutch on this Portuguese palace as you explore Fort Kochi on foot. The palace showcases its royal glory through a large collection of Murals portraying the traditional Hindu stories and culture.
Get absorbed by the café culture of Fort Kochi
Fort Kochi has a buzzing café culture which is growing day by day. Cafés of unique themes and concepts are joining the network and try exploring some of the best cafés of Fort Kochi as you Explore Fort Kochi on foot. Among the many, Kashi Art Café on Burgher Street stands unique and popular among the travelers.
Kochi, the booming city on the coastal line of Kerala, has a lot many places to visit. I would also suggest to traverse the weekend gateways of Kochi.
Author: E Jey
Just a passionate traveler who loves scribbling his expeditions @ www.jauntmonkey.com, www.outonroads.com, and www.blogthatall.com