Tuesday, July 21, 2015

3 Continent Adventure: Cochin, India 2015

April 12, 2015

Cochin is one of the three largest ports on the west coast of India, the biggest on the Kerala Coast and the southern gateway to India. The city has been a major seaport and trading center since before the Roman Empire.   

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Chinese Fishing Nets

Cochin is a cluster of towns and islands linked by ferries & bridges. Fort Kochi is where the fishermen still use their Chinese cantilevered fishing nets. These nets were introduced in the 14th century by Chinese traders from the court of Kublai Khan. We watched the fishermen man their nets, then took a stroll along Kochi Park


Fort Cochin is believed to be the oldest European settlement in India, dating back to the 1500s. St Francis Church, one of the oldest churches in the country was built by the Portuguese in 1510. This is the first church built in India. Vasco da Gama died in Cochin and was originally buried here, his tomb is now in the Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon.


The Dutch were the next to settle in Cochin. They took over the Dutch Palace which was built by the Portuguese in the mid 16th century. The Dutch Palace features beautiful Keralan murals that illustrate the Ramayana and Puranic legends.

In the 6th century Kerala experienced its first immigration of Jews. The Jewish quarter is located in Mattancherry. We visited the Paradesi Synagogue which dates back to 1568. The floor of the synagogue is covered in hand-painted Cantonese tiles. We also strolled along the alleys, browsing in the spice shops and other merchandise in the Jewish quarter.

Synagogue Interior
Jewish Synagogue

Jewish Quarter shop

The Tower House, marking the spot of a 17th century light house was revitalized to become one of the few heritage hotels in Fort Kochi. This hotel faces the Chinese fishing nets. The scallop-walled twin-house looks somewhat like a ship. 

The Santa Cruz Basilica was built originally by the Portuguese and elevated from a Cathedral to a Basilica by Pope Paul IV in 1558. This basilica serves as the cathedral church of the Diocese of Cochin, the second oldest Diocese of India.

An exotic little city with a rich history.

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