Kochi Journals

Four days in Kochi

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A May 2013 trip to Kochi by phileasfogg

Cochin Cultural Centre Photo, Kochi, India More Photos
Quote: The 15th century traveller Nicolo Conti said that "if China is the place to make money, Cochin is the place to spend it." Today officially known as Kochi, Cochin is still one of India’s busiest, most throbbing cities—and it has plenty to recommend it to the traveler.

Kochi: An Overview

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Bastion Bungalow Photo, Kochi, India
Quote:
Kochi (or Cochin) has its own special place in history, because this was one of the biggest, busiest and most prosperous cities on the early spice route. It acted as an entrepôt for the spices—cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, long pepper, turmeric, etc—which grew all along the Malabar coast (of which Kochi is a part). It also acted as a port for ships coming in from Arabia and Africa from the West, China and the Malaccas from the east. This was where it was happening back in the days of Vasco da Gama and the hectic spice trade.This is where it’s still happening. Kochi is one of India’s major ports. It is home to an international airport; home, also, to the only Indian shipyard that is part of a city; and ...Read More

Mattancherry Palace/Dutch Palace

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Attraction | "A museum about Kochi’s royalty"

Mattancherry Palace/Dutch Palace Photo, Kochi, India
Quote:
Till India’s independence from British rule in 1947, Kerala (like most Indian states till then) was highly fragmented, with different regions—sometimes just cities and the area in their immediate vicinity—being ruled by separate dynasties. Kochi was ruled by a royal family that had arrived in this city during the 1400s, fleeing from the town of Mahodayapuram after being threatened by invasions from the ruling Zamorin of Calicut (Kozhikode).The royal family, having set up house in Kochi, soon found visitors arriving at their doorsteps: the Portuguese came in 1500. The Raja of Kochi allowed them to trade, and to establish factors in Kochi—eventually leading to the Rajas of Kochi becoming vassals of t...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 16, 2013

Mattancherry Palace/Dutch Palace
Ernakulam District
Kochi, Kerala

Paradesi Synagogue

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Attraction | "The oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth?"

Paradesi Synagogue Photo, Kochi, India
Quote:
When it comes to religious communities in India, Jews—always a minority—are among the smallest, and yet were once the most visible (quite literally; early Hindi cinema had more than its fair share of Jewish actors and actresses). Kochi is one of the very few cities that can boast of a Jewish heritage. And, even though the Jewish community in Kochi has dwindled to only about twelve families, the city has a handful of synagogues. Of these, the oldest and most famous is the Paradesi Synagogue in the Mattancherry area. It is the oldest synagogue in India, and is believed to be the oldest in the British Commonwealth too.The Paradesi Synagogue is about 4 km from ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 16, 2013

Paradesi Synagogue
Jew Town Rd
Kochi, Kerala
271628

Indo Portuguese Museum

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Attraction | "A small but interesting museum"

Indo Portuguese Museum Photo, Kochi, India
Quote:
My husband and I love to visit museums. Since the Indo-Portuguese Museum was only about ten minutes’ walk from our hotel, and since we’re completely nuts about history, we decided we couldn’t give this one a miss. Unfortunately, our schedule was so packed that we ended up having to leave this museum for our last day in Kochi, when we had a couple of hours to spare before we needed to leave for the airport. Thankfully, it proved small enough to be enjoyed in that much time—including our walk to and from the museum—and it was a great way to end our sightseeing in Kochi.If you’re walking from the Chinese Fishing Nets, passing St Francis’s Church, you walk down towards the Bishop’s House, which ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 16, 2013

Indo Portuguese Museum
Fort Cochin
Cochin, India

Cochin Cultural Centre

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Attraction | "An absorbing introduction to Kathakali"

Cochin Cultural Centre Photo, Kochi, India
Quote:
Kathakali is one of the most distinctive of the performing arts of India—once you’ve seen even one photograph of a traditional Kathakali dancer (let alone watching a performance), you’re unlikely to mistake it for any other dance form. With ornately painted faces, heavy costumes (including voluminous skirts, flowing false hair and much costume jewellery) all-male dancers perform dance dramas enacting stories from Hindu mythology. The Mahabharat, Ramayana and the Param Purana are among the main sources for these stories, which generally depict the triumph of good over evil.We had been keen on watching a Kathakali performance, and knew that daily performances are held for the benefit of visitors at a...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 16, 2013

Cochin Cultural Centre
Sangamam
Kochi, Kerala 682016
0091-484-2356366

Santa Cruz Basilica

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Attraction | "One of India’s eight basilicas"

Santa Cruz Basilica Photo, Kochi, India
Quote:
Fort Cochin is home to two major churches (there are plenty of other, smaller chapels, shrines and churches, but these are the biggest and most important): the Catholic Santa Cruz, and the Protestant St Francis’s Church. Of the two, the newer church is the Santa Cruz Basilica, tucked away a little beyond Princess Street, on the intersection of a sleepy little lane and a somewhat busier main road. This is a twin-spired building, cream-coloured and ornate with plaster statues, a coat of arms, and repetitive patterns on the outside. There are polished wooden doors and arched windows, and the ground outside are shaded by coconut palms. Seen from the outside, it’s a quiet, serene place.The Santa Cruz Ba...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 16, 2013

Santa Cruz Basilica
Parade & KB Jacob Rds
Kochi, Kerala

St. Francis Church

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Attraction | "India’s oldest European-built church"

St. Francis Church Photo, Kochi, India
Quote:
Most people, only somewhat aware that India does have religions other than Hinduism, think that Christianity was brought to this country by the Europeans—the Portuguese, Dutch, French, and English (and others) who arrived on these shores in the wake of Vasco da Gama’s discovery of the sea route around the Cape of Good Hope.Not really; European missionaries had arrived well before—by the land route, and by the sea route from Arabia, coming all the way from France and Armenia to ‘bring salvation to the heathen’. Even earlier than them—and this might surprise many—Christianity, in its earliest form, had been brought to India by St Thomas (‘Doubting Thomas’), who baptized the first Indian Christians, f...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 16, 2013

St. Francis Church
Fort Cochin
Cochin, India