4 Nov 2012

36 Hours in Kochi

The city that hosts one of the major ports of south India is Kochi or Cochin. Cochin is home to the Southern Naval Command of the Indian Navy. For centuries, it was the centre of the Indian spice trade. 

Cochin was occupied by the Portuguese in the 1500s and St. Francis church here hosted the grave of Vasco da Gama, until his remains were returned to Portugal in 1539. The Dutch then occupied Cochin, after which it was conquered by Hyder Ali in the early 1700s. It was then part of the British-colonized India until India’s independence. Kochi thus holds a lot of historical importance, besides being an important port city.

If you have 36 hours to spare, make sure you see all the sights that Cochin has to offer:
Mattancherry Palace  (Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)
- Mattancherry Palace - Built by the Portuguese in 1550, it is also known as the Dutch palace because of the extensive repairs and extensions the Dutch made to it. However, neither occupied it.
Jewish Synagogue  (Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)
- Jewish Synagogue - This was built in 1568 AD and is a popular tourist destination.
St. Francis church (Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)
- St. Francis church - Besides being the temporary burial site of Vasco da Gama, it was built in 1510 AD and thought to be the oldest church built by the Europeans in India.  
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica (Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)
- Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica - This is one of the oldest churches in the country, built by the Portuguese.  
Bolghatty palace (Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)
- Bolghatty palace - Built by the Dutch in the late 1700s, this is now a hotel. Definitely a must-visit.
Chinese fishing nets (Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)
- Chinese fishing nets - Said to have been brought from China to India by the traders of Kubalai Khan’s court, they are used by the Kerala fishermen. It is a beautiful sight to see these nets lining the coast, and makes for great pictures as well.
Fort Kochi Relics (Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)
- Fort Kochi - This is a great place to visit to do some shopping or even just sit in a cafe, eat good food and read a book.  Accessible by ferry, it is part of Cochin, but a twenty minute ferry ride away. The fort after which this place is named,  Fort Emmanuel, was destroyed by the Dutch.
Thirumala Devaswom  temple (Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)
- Cochin Thirumala Devaswom  temple and  Sree Gopalaswamy Devaswom temple - A must visit for any tourist, religious or not!

There are many museums and art galleries in Cochin as well, that are worth a visit. A must-visit port town, Cochin is well connected by air,  ferry, rail and road. The simplest way to reach Cochin quickly is to take a flight to the Cochin International Airport. You can then hop onto a ferry or take any public transport for a beautiful trip that you will not regret!