A city full of stories untold, streets quaint and old - All about Kochi.

Tripoto
12th Apr 2018
Photo of A city full of stories untold, streets quaint and old - All about Kochi. by Shreya Nair

Kochi - This Indian port city is a patchwork of contrasting cultures, shrouded in layers of colonial history and elements that are still reminiscent of Kerala’s indigenous culture.

After an hour and a half long journey from Vaikom (a town in Kottayam district) when I finally reached the city,

I was faced with the seemingly daunting task of deciding where to begin all the exploring with!

Photo of Kochi, Kerala, India by Shreya Nair
Photo of Kochi, Kerala, India by Shreya Nair

As I stood there, trying to make up my mind I took a deep breath, a familiar scent filled my nose, the air was pregnant with the smell of salt and also reeked of fish - It was the smell of the seashore! And as I followed the gusts of salty wind brushing against my face I soon found myself at the Fort Kochi beach. That is where I learnt that Chinese fishing nets - colloquially known as "Cheena Vala", are one of the popular tourist attractions here. These fishing nets were brought to Kochi centuries ago by the Chinese explorers and are still in use.

Chinese Fishing Nets / "Cheena vala" - The nets are down, fishermen hopeful, a new day bringing in the promise of a good catch.

Photo of Fort Kochi Beach, Kochi by Shreya Nair

I sauntered down the road and came across the St. Francis Church - The oldest European Church in India. It has a great historical significance. Not many people know but renowned Portuguese explorer - Vasco Da Gama breathed his last in Kochi. It was in this church where his remains were buried but later taken to Lisbon, making him a traveler even after death.

Photo of St. Francis Church, Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala, India by Shreya Nair

A few kilometres from the church you'll find the much talked about - Mattancherry Palace also known as Dutch Palace - Your one stop destination for the history of Kochi. It houses fascinating portraits and possessions of the Kochi royalty.

After getting acquainted with the city’s rich history, I decided to spend the afternoon taking a stroll down the Jew Street in Jew town. The cozy homes with chalky white walls on the periphery of the narrow lanes of the Jew Street and the flower pots hung out of their beautiful windows of colonial times with blossoms of vibrant hues on it, made it hard to believe that I was in India. The wall murals here give great aesthetic pleasure and the flamboyant colours used to create them makes this space lively.

Photo of Jew Town Road, Jew Town, Kappalandimukku, Mattancherry, Kochi, Kerala, India by Shreya Nair
Photo of Jew Town Road, Jew Town, Kappalandimukku, Mattancherry, Kochi, Kerala, India by Shreya Nair

As I scoured every single antique shop to get the perfect shot of those exquisite pieces of art and antiques, I reached the end of the street where the Synagogue stood. A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. The one located in Kochi - Paradesi Synagogue - is the oldest in the entire British Commonwealth. The beautifully-laid hand painted porcelain floor tiles here were imported from China by a Jewish businessman.

Jew Street

Photo of Paradesi Synagogue, Synagogue Lane, Jew Town, Kappalandimukku, Mattancherry, Kochi, Kerala, India by Shreya Nair

Jew Street

Photo of Paradesi Synagogue, Synagogue Lane, Jew Town, Kappalandimukku, Mattancherry, Kochi, Kerala, India by Shreya Nair

Paradesi Synagogue

Photo of Paradesi Synagogue, Synagogue Lane, Jew Town, Kappalandimukku, Mattancherry, Kochi, Kerala, India by Shreya Nair

Jew Street

Photo of Paradesi Synagogue, Synagogue Lane, Jew Town, Kappalandimukku, Mattancherry, Kochi, Kerala, India by Shreya Nair

By the time the synagogue tour ended my legs were beginning to give up. To end the trip on a relaxing note, I chose to head to Kochi Marine Drive for an hour of boating in the backwaters of Vembanad lake which left me feeling calm and content.

Photo of Marine Drive, Kochi, Kerala, India by Shreya Nair
Photo of Marine Drive, Kochi, Kerala, India by Shreya Nair

All-in-all, the lanes and bylanes of Kochi are a treat for the lovers of history, art and architecture.

I, for one, know that I will not be able to move on from Kochi, there is just too much history!

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