Kochi Tour

Over the past 600 years, this cosmopolitan port city has attracted spice traders and travellers from countries as diverse as China, The Netherlands, Portugal and Israel—many of whom turned settlers. Today, you can berth your yacht at India's first marina, tee off at the adjoining golf course, and soon, enjoy the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. Check into a plush hotel and explore the city's heritage precincts, old palaces, spice market, seafood restaurants and antique stores.
St Francis Church
Portuguese merchant Pedro Alvarez Cabral landed on Kochi’s net-lined shores in 1500, accompanied by priests and friars—explorer Vasco da Gama followed suit three years later. St Francis Church in Fort Cochin—India’s oldest European-built church—was built by friars and was used as the 14-year-long burial site for da Gama. After being rebuilt in stone, restored by the Dutch and finally the English, it came to have its present name.
Dutch Palace
Originally built by the Portuguese, Mattancherry Palace—commonly called Dutch Palace—was gifted to the then Raja of Kochi. After the Dutch defeated the Portuguese, this traditional Nalukettu-style palace was revamped to display a Burgher sensibility. Historians believe this palace was also the venue for a number of coronations.
Jewish or Paradesi Synagogue
Judaism is said to have come to Kerala directly from the Promised Land and the Paradesi Synagogue—located in the quarter of the city called Jew Town—is said to be one of its earliest homes. Scrolls of Law and even greater scrolls of the Old Testament are maintained at this synagogue. This is an ideal place to learn about a fascinating community that was a once-thriving minority.
Hill Palace and the Centre for Heritage Studies
This was once the palace of the Kochi royal family and is now a series of museums dedicated to archaeology, local heritage, pre-historic remains and a seemingly out of place deer park. Be sure to see the crown jewels housed here, along with other artefacts used by the royal family in this southern kingdom.
Kashi Art Gallery
Kashi Art Gallery and Art Café, founded by Anoop Skaria and Dorrie Younger, is a space designed to cater to the contemporary arts. Besides having put Kochi on the ‘new art district’ map of South India, this gallery also offers a unique three-month residency programme for both Indian and international artists.
Kashi, Burgher Street, Fort Kochi, Kochi (+91 484 221 5769;www.kashiartgallery.com)
Chinese Fishing Nets
Along the tip of Fort Kochi you’ll find the larger-than-life cantilevered cheenavalas, as they are known in Malayalam. These fishing nets were first introduced by visiting Chinese traders and are hung from bamboo and teak poles—at high tide a minimum of four men are required to properly handle them.
Greenix Village
In the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Fort Kochi is this centre dedicated to Kerala's performing arts: Kathakali, Kalaripayattu, Mohiniattam and other lesser known styles like Thayyam exist here. Every evening the centre hosts a performance integrating the various forms—a rare glimpse into the performing arts of the state. The Village also has a museum and art gallery, a curio shop and a bookshop. CNT tip: ask if you can arrive early to see the performers dress up, it's quite a sight!
Kalvathy Road, Fort Kochi, Kochi (+91 484 221 7000; www.greenix.in)
Cooking Classes
Nimmy Paul
For over twelve years, Nimmy and Paul have been keeping South Indian cooking traditions alive, thanks to their ‘At Home’ hospitality services. This gourmand couple offer multiple experiences—from eating and staying in their home to teaching guests the minute nuances of Keralite cuisine.

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