Kochi, Kerala

Kochi, a region in Kerala, is a seaside town in south-western part of main Kochi which is known for its old-world colonial appeal. The leftovers of British rule all over the country could be seen here. This eccentric city is dotted with European structures and have an overall ambience that keeps reminding you of the colonial powers that once ruled over the place. Till day, it has the vibe of an age-old colonial city with its toy-town like streets, colourful and charming buildings, and a picturesque view out of the beach-much like the small towns of Southern Europe. The tourist attractions of this spot includes the Indo Portuguese museum, Fort Kochi beach, Cochin Thirumala Devaswom, St.Francis Church, Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Emmanuel, Jewish Synagogue, Mattancherry Palace, Jew Town and Princess Street to name a few. 

The Indo Portuguese museum was established by late Dr.Joseph Kuruthu, Bishop of Kochi and showcases the Portuguese influence on Fort Kochi especially, the Western parts of Kochi. The Fort Kochi beach runs along the Arabian Sea. Unique views and points of interest includes the “Cheenavala” or Chinese fishing nets and the fishermen working with them, and the jetty towards the Vembanad Lake respectively to the Kerala backwaters. A section of the beach is not accessible to visitors as it is under the control of the Indian Navy. The Cochin Thirumala Devaswom, also called Gosripuram, is the biggest and most important socio-religious institution of Gowda Saraswat Brahmins of Kerala. The temple is situated at Cherlai in the heart of  Mattancherry town Cochin area. The temple was established in the later half of the 16th Century. The St.Francis Church is one of the oldest European churches in India and has great historical significance as a quiet witness to the European colonial struggle in the subcontinent. The Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama died his third to India and was originally buried in this church, but after 14 years his remains were moved to Lisbon. The Santa Cruz Basilica in For Kochi is one of the nine Basilicas in Kerala and is one of the finest and most striking churches in India with historical purpose and is endowed with architectural and artistic grandeur and colours of the gothic style. The ruined fort situated at Fort Kochi beach in Kochi, Fort Emmanuel, is also known as Fort Manuel. It is a symbol of the strategic alliance between the Maharaja of Kochi and the Monarch of Portugal. Named after Manuel I, the king of Portugal, it was the first Portuguese fort in Asia. The first part of the present name of the location-Fort Kochi-comes from this fort. The Jewish Synagogue in Fort Kochi is the oldest active synagogue, not just in Kochi but in the Commonwealth of Nations and is also known as Paradesi Synagogue. Located in the Jew town area of Kochi, the synagogue was constructed in 1567 and is on of the seven synagogues of the Malabar Yehudan or Yehudan Mappila. The Mattancherry Palace is a Portuguese palace popularly known as the  Dutch Palace, in Mattancherry and features Kerala murals delineating portraits and exhibits of the Rajas of Kochi. The place was included in the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Jew Town is one of the oldest parts of the region where the Jews first settled in India in around 700 BC and were here till they moved to Israel. This area is famous for its architecturally solid synagogue that continues to stand till present day. The Princess Street is a fancy street in Kochi loaded with the vibrancy and grandiose of the old world charm. Located in the heart of the city, the palace is a inter mixture of ancient times and the new. Other spots worthy for a visit are the Sree Gopalakrishna Devaswom Temple(the only  Daivajna Brahmin Temple in Kerala), Jain Temple, Southern Naval Command Maritime Museum, Koonan Kurdish Old Syrian Church and Bishop’s House.
               The Cochin Carnival held every year in the last week of December at Fort Kochi includes competitions like beach bike race, beach football, wrestling, boxing, cycle race, bullet race, kayaking, swimming and marathon races. It is a combination of different cultures and has art shows, food festivals, colourful rallies and fairs that add to the festive spirit of carnival. Kochi-Muziris Biennale is an international exhibition of contemporary art held in the city of Kochi and, is the largest art exhibition in the country and the biggest contemporary art festival in Asia.