About & History:
Fort Kochi, unlike its name, is not a typical colonial fort but just a region or neighborhood in the southwest of Kochi/Cochin. The name is derived from Fort Manuel which is considered to be the first Portuguese fort in Asia as a part of a strategic alliance between the King of Kochi & Portuguese counterpart. The city was under Portuguese rule until Dutch took over and later was captured by the British, till then most parts of the fort & bastions were destroyed and only the ruins can be seen now. Fort Emmanuel for Fort Kochi is located alongside the Fort Kochi beach where the ruins and some parts of the fort ramparts are restored and converted into a tourist place.
Fort Kochi served as a very important and strategic harbor as it held a powerful economic and political stand in the medieval era. It has a good amalgamation of culture from Portuguese, Dutch & British due to colonial rule but also shares a rich connection with China as well. The Chinese & Arabians came here before Europeans in the 14th century which resulted in an important trade center between countries and culture sharing. In fact, the name Cochin stating "Co-Chin" means China alike, was also derived from China due to its geographical resemblance to water-bound islands and mangrove forests.
During the early time, Arabian and Chinese traders sourced spices, especially pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, sandalwood, etc. from the Kochi region. Cultivation and trade of these valuable goods shaped the history of the region. Even today, Kochi is an important center of spice export. The Arabian traders were the first to know about these spices, and they carried the highly wanted merchandise to Europe. Centuries later, they were followed by the Portuguese, then the Dutch, and afterward the British. The first Portuguese ships which were seeking a sea route to the Indian subcontinent berthed on the coast of Calicut & Fort Kochi in 1501. The famous explorer Vasco da Gama was buried here and the remains were later taken back to Portugal. Post the arrival of Europeans the town developed into one of the most important harbors on the West Coast of India.
How to Reach:
Enough with the history already! I know. Let's get started with tour now shall we?
Fort Kochi is easily accessible via Air, road, and railways. The nearest airport is Ernakulam airport which is roughly 35-40kms. Budget buses run from the airport to different parts of Kochi city regularly or you can get private cabs or autos as well.
Where to Stay:
Fort Kochi is flocked with plenty of appealing hostels, homestays, hotels, etc. From budget hostels to aesthetic home stays to lavish colonial-era hotels you can easily find a good stay on this seaside island in every budget.
If you are traveling solo then you can get a pretty good deal at Zostel, goStops, or Santa Maria hostels. Otherwise, you can check out Roses Inn, The Killians, Rossitta wood castle, and Bastion Bungalow if you want a nice comfy hotel stay. The hostels will set you back between 300-1000 for bunk beds while for hotels you shall have to shell out starting with 1.5k till 10-15k.
You can also get a moped or bike for 300-500 per day to move around the town, the rental shops are located at almost every junction.
Things to do:
Fort Kochi has tons of things to offer for every kind of traveler be it touristic or laid back and serves as a melting pot due to its colorful colonial history. This charming seaside region is known for its Dutch, Portuguese, and British colonial culture & architecture. Unique bamboo fishing nets, street art, colonial & historic monuments and museums, fancy eateries and uber-chic cafes serving delicious seafood, quaint shops selling cloths, spices, and handmade souvenirs, heritage buildings and house contemporary art galleries.
Good enough to add this to your next travel plans???
1. Chinese Fishing Nets
This has to be your first tourist stop in Fort Kochi. These large bamboo-made fishing nets are very unique and unusual and are said to be influenced by Chinese traders to came here centuries ago.