Travelers Guide to Fort Kochi or Cochin Fort

A favorite holiday spot among tourists, both domestic and international, Kerala is a South India’s most serene holiday spot. Covered in the layered landscape – stunning sea beaches, beautiful tea gardens, a glittering network of backwaters, hill stations and so much more – Kerala boasts of royal heritage. The cities like Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram) and Cochin (Kochi) showcase the historically rich legacy of the state.

If you happen to be at Kochi, then visit Fort Kochi or Cochin Fort to witness the beauty of the colonial era. While Ernakulam is Kochi’s cosmopolitan center, the Fort Kochi represents the stunning historical side of the region. Decked with stunning historical buildings and colonial aura, the place is one of the popular tourist spots of the region.       
The given write-up is dedicated to exploring the fantastic Fort Kochi and its surrounding areas.

Fort Kochi at a Glimpse

Fort Kochi - A Seaside Town
Fort Kochi - A Seaside Town
The colonial seaside town of Kerala, Fort Kochi, is a welcome change from the noises of the popular tourist destinations of Kerala. Steeped in old school charm, the area is decked with beautiful colonial buildings that make Cochin Fort a spectacular destination.

The area has seen the rise and the downfall of the European colonial powers – Portuguese, Dutch, and lastly British. A tour through the area would take you back to an era when everything worked at its own pace. The serene surrounding of Fort Kochi relaxes the hungry soul looking for an escape.

Fort Kochi: History

Located on a stunning estuary, Kochi has been an important trading town for ages. As one travels across this historical town, they would find a beautiful mix of heritages and ideas – starting from massive Chinese fishing nets, ancient mosques, four centuries old synagogue, and a Portuguese built church.  
According to historical records, the Chinese came here during the 14th century and named the region Cochin. Due to its proximity to the sea, Kochi evolved into an important trade center of India with traders coming from different parts of the Middle East for fragrant Indian spices and condiments.

The area around Cochin Fort was primarily a fishing village with an Indian ruler. Later on, the area was granted to the Portuguese Royal Army, after they helped the local ruler to win over the ruler of Kozhikode. The Portuguese established the Fort Emmanuel and St Francis Church (both the monuments were subsequently rebuilt – first by the Dutch and later by the British).       

List of Places to Visit at Cochin Fort

1. Fort Kochi Beach

Located on the Malabar Coast, the Fort Kochi Beach offers a stunning view of the Arabian Sea. While standing on the coast, one can imagine how ancient traders came to this fabled land to try their luck. The streets around the beach are dotted with colonial buildings including the Emmanuel Fort. While here, tourists can explore the unending seashore or head for sightseeing. Including the Chinese fishing nets on the sightseeing, the list is a must. Also, do sample the fresh sea catches that are sold on the beach. Exploring the countless mini islands close to Cochin Fort beach is recommended.

Fort Kochi Beach
Fort Kochi Beach

St. Francis Church
St. Francis Church

2. St. Francis Church

Initially commissioned by Portuguese, the St. Francis Church is probably one of the oldest colonial buildings of the Fort Kochi region. Later on, the structure of the church was rebuilt during the Dutch and the British era. Probably, that is the reason why the architecture of the place reflects the archetypal features of these regions. The serene interior of the church is quite in sync with the colonial charm of the area. One of the prime attractions of the region includes cenotaphs of fallen war heroes of the Great War of Kochi and the burial ground of Vasco Da Gama (before the remains of the explorer were shifted to Portugal).       

3. Chinese Fishing Nets

Another important fixture in the landscape of Kochi is the Chinese nets (Cheenavala) – a popular identification mark of the Cochin. Set up by the Chinese explorers who settled came here in the 14th century. The ten-meter high structure is still used by the local fishermen for looping in the freshest catch.

Chinese Fishing Nets
Chinese Fishing Nets

Kathakali Center
Kathakali Center

4. Kathakali Center

The Kathakali Centre of Kerala is one of the important hubs for the traditional form of dancing. Close to the Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica, the dance school is the harbinger of the Carnatic School of music and dance. Also, Kalarippayat – Kerala’s martial art – is practiced and taught here.   

Other popular landmarks include

•    St. George Orthodox Koonan Kurish Old Syrian Church

•    Southern Naval Command Maritime Museum

•    Bishop's House

•    Jewish Synagogue

•    Jain Temple

•    Kochi-Muziris Biennale

Tips for Visitors

1. Kochi’s weather could get hot and humid, so packing accordingly is important

2. Drink lots of water or tender coconut water to stay hydrated

3. Sun protection is must – pack a good sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses

4. Dressing moderately, without showing too much skin is advisable, in order to avoid staring gaze

5. Try the local delicacies

6. Shop for knick-knacks from the local shopping districts

How to Reach Kochi

The Cochin Fort is accessible via road and ferries from the Mattancherry peninsula. The nearest airport is located at Cochin and the Ernakulam train station is the nearest railway station.             

More Popular Attraction in Kerala:

Kanan Devan Tea Museum in Munnar

Munnar Top Station

Kerala Backwaters in Alleppey(Alappuzha)