Tag Archives: Cochin

Fragrance of Culture in Kochi

Fort Kochi - Chinese Fishing Nets

Fort Kochi – Chinese Fishing Nets

While Kerala is infamously popular for its backwaters and magnanimously known for being GOD’s Own Country, there are many other facets that describe the beauty of Kerala. One such part of the state that adds a spice of it’s own to this beautiful God’s own country is Ft. Kochi. Kochi was a fishing village in the Kingdom of Kochi in the pre-colonial Kerala, has a mix of old houses built by the Portuguese, Dutch and British in these colonial periods line the streets of Fort Kochi. St Francis Church was built in 1503 by the Portuguese as a Catholic church. 

An Ancient building in Ft. Kochi

An Ancient building in Ft. Kochi

One of the first things you’ll notice when you set foot off the boat, that arrives from Marine drive is the fragrance of the spices. Since early days Arabian and Chinese traders sourced spices, especially pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, sandal wood etc. from the Kochi region. Even today, it is hugely important for it’s spices. But other than that, from a traveler’s point of view there are far more interesting things that you’d love to take a look at.

In fact, Ft. Kochi is a place that’s far more different than any other places in Kerala. Much different from the beautiful, landscape full of trees and water, different from the valley of coffee plantations, certainly a sight far closer to the beaches of Kovalam, and yet has a distinctive look and feel about it that you can’t really spot a place like it elsewhere in Kerala.

Oldest Jewish Synagogue lies in India at Fort Kochi - Pardesi Synagogue

Oldest Jewish Synagogue lies in India at Fort Kochi – Pardesi Synagogue

St. Francis Church - Ft. Kochi

St. Francis Church – Ft. Kochi

A Hindu Temple on Dutch Street in Ft. Kochi

A Hindu Temple on Dutch Street in Ft. Kochi

The ancient, historic confluence of the Church as well as the Jewish Synagogues,  a Hindu temple on Dutch street and the Chinese Fishing nets will mesmerize you while the sun sets across the shores and the most beautiful roadside stalls on Jew Street offer a cultural expose that even the Merchants of Venice would have been envious of.

Jew Street

Jew Street

Sunset at Fort Kochi

Sunset at Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi has a thing of it’s own to offer to most travelers. You have got to experience it in a way that you’ll never experience any other place across India. And while you’re at it, you must breathe in the synchronicity of rich heritage and various cultures that still forms part of this magnificent country that I’d like to call India!

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Final destination… Fort Kochi…

So it was the end of #SriniOnTour… My final destination was Fort Kochi… Yes, there have been a lot of detours and a couple of locations missed, a couple of them replaced by others… But come hell or highwater, I was not going to miss Fort Kochi… Visiting Fort Kochi was something I had to had to do…

So I decided to head off around 11:00ish because it apparently would take me around 2.5-3 hours to reach Cochin and from there I was not sure how long to reach Fort Kochi… So I headed towards Kottayam… and took a bus to  Ernakalum bus stand… Around 70 kms from Kottayam.

Alert: If you are in Kumarakom, there is a cheaper and a faster route to reach Ernakalum bus stand aka Cochin…  Go to Cheratala which is 15 kms from Kumarakom and take another bus to Ernakalum bus stand, which is 40 kms from there.. You save about 14 kms and certainly 1 hour of travel time…

Now, since I didn’t know this at the beginning and found out when I boarded the wrong bus while I came back… I made this amazing discovery… Funny how discoveries of most kinds are through accidents… or synchronous incidents I must say… 😛

So anyways after I reached the Ernakalum bus stand, quickly had some lunch in the nearby restaurant… one which I was not so pleased about, but that is another story… I walked across to Marine Drive… which was like 1.5 km from the bus stand… I was trying to figure out how to reach Fort Kochi from there, SmSd a few friends, tweeted out… and again, stumbled upon a boat jetty that takes me to Fort Kochi… WoW isn’t that amazing?? Just discovering things and stumbling upon stuff randomly… Wait, there’s more…

 

 

Boat Jetty Building @ Marine Drive

Boat Jetty Building @ Marine Drive

Anyways so I took the ticket to Fort Kochi and certainly was excited that this boat trip would be more scenic than getting a bus or an auto to Fort Kochi… One thing was sure, looking at the expanse of the sea, the wait till the sunset was certainly going to be amazing.. And I made sure I cover all the other spots i.e. Synagogues, Dutch Palace, Jew Street etc before I head towards Chinese FishingNets and the Fort Kochi Beach… right at the time of the sunset…

 

 

Enroute Fort Kochi via Ferry

Enroute Fort Kochi via Ferry

 

A view from the streets

A view from the streets

You will find a lot of trucks, a lot of export stuff, a lot of spices and a lot of art work on the streets of Fort Kochi… That’s their primary way of living….

On the streets of Fort Kochi

On the streets of Fort Kochi

A hindu temple inside Dutch Palace

A hindu temple inside Dutch Palace

This is a temple inside the courtyard of the Mattancherry Dutch Palace, also near the Indo-Portugese Museum…

Temple

Temple

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Very peaceful… the place and the surroundings… You can really relax out there on the lawn after taking darshana of the God inside the temple..

 

 

Jew Street

Jew Street

 

This is the Jew Street, on your way to the Paradesi Jewish Synagogue… You will truly find a very different setting out here and experience a completely amazing feel while walking on this street.

 

 

Black Cat on Jew Street

Black Cat on Jew Street

Found this beautiful cat sitting around with other cats on the Jew Street…  Wonder what it was thinking??

Paradesi Jewish Synagogue
Paradesi Jewish Synagogue

Courtsey Wikipedia:

The Paradesi Synagogue is the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations,[1] located in KochiKerala, in South India. It was built in 1568 by theMalabar Yehudan people or Cochin Jewish community in the Kingdom of CochinParadesi is a word used in several Indian languages, and the literal meaning of the term is “foreigners”, applied to the synagogue because it was historically used by “White Jews”, a mixture of Jews from Cranganore, the Middle East, andEuropean exiles. It is also referred to as the Cochin Jewish Synagogue or the Mattancherry Synagogue. The synagogue is located in the quarter of Old Cochin known as Jew Town,[1] and is the only one of the seven synagogues in the area still in use. The complex has four buildings. It was built adjacent to theMattancherry Palace temple on the land gifted to the Malabari Yehuden community by the Raja of Kochi, Rama Varma. The Mattancherry Palace temple and the Mattancherry synagogue share a common wall.

 

St. Francis Church

St. Francis Church

 

St. Francis CSI Church, in Kochi , earlier called Cochin, originally built in 1503, is the oldest European church in India[1] and has great historical significance as a mute witness to the European colonial struggle in the subcontinent.[2][3] The Portuguese explorerVasco da Gama, died in Kochi in 1524 when he was on his third visit to India. His body was originally buried in this church, but after fourteen years his remains were removed toLisbon.[4][5] (Wikipediea)

Cheena Vala aka Chinese Fishing Nets

Cheena Vala aka Chinese Fishing Nets

Wikipedia: The Chinese fishing nets (Cheena vala) are fixed land installations for an unusual form of fishing — shore operated lift nets.[1] They are mostly found in theIndian state of Kerala. Huge mechanical contrivances hold out horizontal nets of 20 m or more across. Each structure is at least 10 m high and comprises a cantilever with an outstretched net suspended over the sea and large stones suspended from ropes as counterweights at the other end. Each installation is operated by a team of up to six fishermen.

 

Fort Kochi Sunset

Fort Kochi Sunset

 

After having travelled so many locations, endured so much of travel especially carrying the heavy backpack… Travelling around wandering around like a nomad for 15 days… this was a thing that was waiting to happen… A feeling of bittersweet, telling me  that my journey has come to an end… just like this sun that was setting, telling me it was time to wrap up #SriniOnTour – South India Trip…

 

#SriniOnTour ends… but the journey begins now… What do you think about the overall trip.. Do let me know your comments, suggestions and tips for many more such trips to come 🙂 What say folks??