Strolling through the stone paved streets, the passing centuries are visible on the standing buildings; which speak in great volumes about the rich history of the place. The streaks of legacies of ancestors passed on to their children are evident in the multitude of ancestral homes turned into hotels, restaurants, art galleries and cafes. It would be of interest to know that Fort Kochi was just a fishing village and this territory was gifted to the Portugese in 1503 by the Raja of Kochi. Since then, the Portuguese, the Dutch and the Britishers have invaded and lived here and left behind a storehouse of heritage.
My first stop for the day was St. Francis Church, which was built by the Portugese but remodeled in 1516 to what we know of it today. It is perhaps the oldest church in India. It is a quaint old building with many encryptions telling stories of its affluent past. The grave of Vasco Da Gama was buried here, before being sent to Lisbon and it lies inside the church. Just outside, there are some vendors who sell fridge magnets amongst other stuff. If your fridge adorns the souvenirs from all the places you have traveled to, this is the place to buy them. Then I headed down to the Santa Cruz Basilica, one of the eight basilicas in India. Boasting of a Gothic architecture, it is a magnificent structure and makes your awe over the fact that this excellence was reached in 1558.
I then took a walk on the beach, with the sun kissing my skin and the saline air in my mouth and saw the Chinese fishing nets, which date back to the 12th century and are the legacies of the first foreigners that set foot in Fort Kochi. By then it was 1:00 in the afternoon, and I was just mooching around in the streets when I stumbled upon the David Hall. It is a Dutch architecture built in 1695 and has been converted into a beautiful art gallery. There is a pretty little café in the backyard and I had their freshly prepared margherita pizza baked in a hearth oven, with ice tea. It was exceptionally tasty and this is one meal I am going to remember for a very long time.
After my yummy lunch, I took an auto to go to the Jew street. Here there are a lot of shops which sell spices, tea, coffee and vintage jewellery and I splurged some money in buying some of these. After which I visited the synagogue, which is a Jewish praying centre (just a heads up, it remains closed on Friday afternoons, Saturdays and Jewish holidays). My day ended with a lip smacking coffee at Pepper House, with a book to keep me company, and what a marvelous day it was!
There are so many other places that one can visit while on a trip to Fort Kochi. I have enlisted them below:
Sree Gopalakrishna Devaswom Temple
And do try out the Dal Roti restaurant if you love North Indian food!
For the cultural buffs and people who love everything pretty, this melting pot of cultures, Fort Kochi, is the place to be.