FortCochin is an historical town with the fusion culture of Indian, Dutch, French, British, Portuguese, Chinese and Jew.
Cochin, Kerala’s prime tourist destination, comprises modern Ernakulam and the old peninsular districts of Fort Cochin and Mattancherry. While Ernakulam holds all the shops, restaurants and conveniences of a modern city, Fort Cochin is a time capsule of the city’s colonial past with its Portuguese churches and atmospheric old mansions. Fort Cochin holds several churches, such as St Francis’ Church where Vasco de Gama is buried, an important figure in Kerala’s colonial past; the church is thought to be the first that Europeans built in India. Cochin’s iconic Chinese fishing nets line the sea-shore, and the surrounding cobbled area, with its ancient trees, fish markets and ice cream stalls, is a popular socialising area for locals. Fort Cochin has several restaurants where you can try delicious Kerala style fish dishes and there are some good coffee shops in the appealing backstreets of the town, such as the renowned Kashi Art Café. Nearby is the district of Mattanchery and Jew Town, where you can walk through atmospheric streets with spice and handicraft shops towards the Dutch Palace and Pardesi Synagogue. This is also where you can find several antique shops with an array of items foraged from Cochin’s past.
Cochin is one of the best places in Kerala to witness kathakali dancing, in particular at the Kerala Kathakalli Centre in Fort Cochin. The town also has some unique festivals: Kochi Carnival in early January involves costumed processions and masked dances, whilst February temple festivals hold processions of up to 100 elephants. Cochin is Kerala’s cultural hub and in easy range of everything else Kerala has to offer, from backwater tours to wildlife parks.
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