The history of India is a grand one with legends of majestic rulers
and their conquests. The age of these rulers can be said to be golden eras which can be seen even today in the form of forts, palaces and monuments that they built.
Among the numerous forts that tell stories of those erstwhile days, Fort Kochi is one that has changed many hands and is an educational place to visit.
Historical and Architectural Significance
Fort Kochi is a name given to a region in the city of Kochi which is located in the south Indian state of Kerala. The name Fort Kochi is derived from the fort that the Portuguese built known as Fort Emmanuel.
The area of Fort Kochi was granted to the Portuguese by the “Raja of Kochi” in gratitude of help he received from Afonso de Albuquerque to fight his arch enemy “Saamoothiri of Kozhikode”. The Portuguese built a wooden church too which today is known as the St. Francis Church.
Other than the Portuguese this place has been under the rule of Dutch and British too. The houses and architecture that you find here are of the colonial type that expresses mostly Portuguese and Dutch styled architectures. Another eye catching feature that you get to see and most probably will be taken to by the tour operators are the Chinese fishing net installations at the waterfront area.
This form of fishing is said to have been in traduced by the Chinese traders in the early 14th century and is practiced till date.Since the area has seen a lot of warfare among the colonial rulers a lot of monuments have been destroyed and rebuilt thus making the standing structures today a mix of different styles.
Attractions in and Around Fort Kochi
As the area was a major trade center and under colonial rule of different countries the architecture and influence of culture is foreign. Some of the main tourist attractions that one can find here are:- Indo-Portuguese Museum- Established by the late Dr. Joseph Kureethra who was the bishop Kochi,
this museum is an effort to conserve and showcase the Portuguese influence in Fort Kochi. This museum is located within the compound of the Bishops house and is a very interesting place to visit.
St. Francis Church- this is the oldest European church in India and was originally built in the year 1503. The famed explorer Vasco da Gama who died in India during 1954 was buried here for 14 years after which his remains were taken to Lisbon.
This church was originally a wooden structure built by the Portuguese and was the only such religious monument that the Dutch did not tear down when they overtook Fort Kochi.
Chinese fishing nets- located on the waterfront areas this is one of the most visited areas in Fort Kochi. These contraptions are said to be introduced by the Chinese traders in the early 14th century and is a picturesque sight to see.
Santa Cruz Basilica- this particular church is one of the grandest churches in Kerala and can be considered to be a heritage landmark of the area. Moreover this basilica is one of eight basilicas in the entire country thus making it a special place to visit.
The architecture and artistry that adorns the church is that of the Gothic style and is sure to amaze you. Other than these places the Mattancherry palace, Jewish Synagogue, the Dutch cemetery etc are interesting places to visit.
Since the place is a tourist hotspot you can find many hotels. You can find hotels according to your preference of budget and some of the best ones are Riviera Suites, Hotel Sealord, the Malabar house, North Pride etc.
Ecolodge Hotel is a premium hotel, Fort House Hotel is located just 5 minutes walk from the Kochi Beach, Hotel Sonetta Residency is located on the famous Princess street of Fort Kochi, Neemrana’s Le Colonial and Padikkal Residency are some premium and well known hotels in an around Fort Kochi, from which you can choose for accommodation as well as to enjoy world class hospitality.