I am not a huge fan of “Things to do” posts. But there are times when these listicles come very handy. There are places which cannot be tethered under a “Things to do” post. On the other hand, something like this can be very easily listed for a few destinations. Fort Kochi definitely falls in the latter category. I can easily list down “Things to do in Fort Kochi” without fearing any unjust to the place. I remember when I wrote “Unfolding Pondicherry Layer By Layer” I clearly mentioned how you cannot implement the “Things to do” list in Pondicherry. However, Kochi, on the other hand, can be easily enveloped in a “Things to do list”. So here is the list of Things to do in Fort Kochi.
Kochi is a visual coherence of diversified histories and cultures.
Rich is historical and architectural trivia with no feudal baggage, Kochi has something for everyone. St Francis CSI Church and Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica are the living examples of how the Dutch and Portuguese architecture coexist in peace and harmony. The Chinese fishing nets at the Fort Kochi beach is also a prominent example of the foreign influence and settlement over Kochi. Let us not beat around the bush any more and drive right into “Things to do in Kochi”.
Church hopping in Fort Kochi:
Kochi is bestowed with numerous beautiful churches. It is a good idea to spend some time admiring these striking churches. St Francis CSI Church and Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica are the two most sought-after churches in Kochi. When in Kochi, you cannot miss these two churches.
Watch Chinese Fishing nets live in action at Fort Kochi beach:
This is a must do when you are in Kochi. Kochi is the only place in India, which has Chinese Fishing nets installation after China. All the more reasons to watch the nets in action. A good time to see the nets live in action would be early in the morning. The catch is generous and the beach is scarce. However, evenings are also surreal at the Fort Kochi beach. While you are at Fort Kochi beach watching the magnificent Chinese nets, be sure not to get duped by the local fishermen in exchange for pulling the nets from the sea. The whole functioning of Chinese Nets are very intriguing and you would want to fall into the trap. Before you do that read The Good Bad and Ugly truth of Chinese Fishing Nets of Kochi. I will let you decide for yourself.
Watch Sunset at Vypin Beach:
Though you can witness an incredible sunset at the Fort Kochi beach itself. But Vypin beach takes the sunset experience one step further. All you have to do is hop on a ferry (run by the Government) and a 5 min ride will get you to Vypin beach. It is right across the Fort Kochi beach. The sunset view is spectacular and you can watch the huge orange ball dropping down the horizon. The view is pretty much in-your-face and direct with no hindrances to the jaw-dropping scenery.
Watch Kathakali Dance Performance in Fort Kochi:
Squeeze some time out from your schedule during the evenings to watch the enthralling Kathakali Dance Performance. The dance performance is actually a story play. A variety of poses (mudras) emotes different emotions and feelings. Not just the performance but also the striking makeup, masks and colourful costumes make it look like a poetry in motion. If you are wondering where to watch the performance then Kerala Kathakali Centre is the answer.
Kerala Kathakali Centre is conveniently located near St Basilica Church. You can either walk up to it or just take an auto. The centre is quite popular and thus easy to find. All you have to do is walk in buy the tickets for the show and enjoy the spectacle. Before the performance, you can also watch the artists doing their own makeup. The striking colours on the face are the result of hours of meticulous effort. You can walk in early and watch the whole process happening live.
The Maritime Museum:
The Maritime Museum is an ode to the glorious past and present of Indian Navy. Conveniently located in Fort Kochi, the museum is easy to find. The museum houses anything and everything related to the history and evolution of our naval forces. If you have the slightest of the interest in Indian Navy, this should be definitely on your list. My favourite section is the one, which is dedicated to post-independence naval victories. On showcase are the ensembles related to Junaghad Operation, the Goa Liberation, Indo-Pak Conflicts of 1965 and 1971, Operation Cactus, Operation Pawan and the strategic manoeuvres of Kargil War.
Eat and shop at Burger and Princess Street:
Burger and Princess Street are the reflections of the British era of Kochi. Lined with quirky cafés and shops, these streets are heaven for food connoisseurs. My personal favourite is the Kashi Art café. Both the streets are in juxtaposition to the Fort Kochi beach. All you have to do is just walk across the road and you will arrive at one of these streets. Both these streets run parallel to each other and very easy to find.
Visit Mattancherry Palace Museum/Dutch Palace and Paradesi Synagogue:
The Mattancherry Palace Museum is inside one of the oldest Portuguese palaces. The Portuguese build the palace. It was later presented to the then ruling king as a compensation for plundering a nearby temple. When the Dutch came, this palace underwent a major repair and hence it is known as Dutch Palace as well. The palace is a two storey quadrangle building which mainly consists of long halls. The upper storey mainly houses the museum. It displays coronation halls, bedchambers, ladies chamber, royal dining halls and other rooms. For me, the most fascinating was the murals depicting edifying scenes from Ramayana. The murals are intricate and when seen closely you can easily decipher the incident. Also to help the visitor, the events in the murals are written in details on a wooden board kept at the bottom of the wall.
Roam around Jew Town:
By now, we know that the current Kochi resonates a potpourri of culture and histories. Jew Town, a narrow street between Mattancherry Palace and the Synagogue, is all about Jewish vibe. Visiting the town is must purely because of the pristine and historically relevant artefacts that one would unearth here. This town houses many antique shops selling some of the most unique and quirky bronze artefacts. There are many shops selling spices as well. My interesting find is the wooden cow heads and colourful doorknobs. Both of these artefacts are literally all over the Jew Town.
One of the narrow lanes of Jew Town will take you to the famous Paradesi Synagogue. Being the oldest active synagogue in the Commonwealth Nations, this site boasts a huge number of visitors every day. A synagogue is the place of worship for the Jewish community. And hence entering the synagogue barefoot is a mandate. Always check for the timing of the synagogue. To my misfortune, the synagogue was closed the day I visited.
Houseboat/ Backwaters Adventures:
Though you cannot go for the Backwaters and Houseboat trips in Fort Kochi but yet I am listing it here. Purely because you tread on all these activities by just travelling a little outside of Fort Kochi. Vaikom, a small town located in the Kottayam district of Kerala is a popular backwater site. Being just 65 kilometres away from Fort Kochi, the site can be easily reached in a couple of hours. So when you are done with all the above-listed activities, hire a cab and head to Kottayam to enjoy the scenic backwater rides.
- The Good Bad and Ugly truth of Chinese Fishing Nets of Kochi
- Fort Kochi: A Visual Coherence of Diversified Histories and Cultures
- Medical Tourism, My Recent Discovery
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