India Currents

Fort Kochi Travelogue

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Visiting Kochi amidst the pandemic helped me see the city in a new light, sans the tourists in its heritage quarter.

I have visited Kochi several times and my recent trip, one of my first visits after the peak of the pandemic was on a cruise from Mumbai to Kochi on The Empress by Cordelia Cruises.

Black headed Ibis
Black headed Ibis

After a day’s sailing, the ship docked at Kochi’s International Cruise Terminal and the sight of the Chinese fishing nets triggered a sense of déjà vu instantly.

After disembarking, I set off for a harbour cruise on a large motorboat that had two levels. Watching the unhurried pace of life of the fisherman we passed by Vypeen, Gundu, Vallaradam and Bolgatty Islands. The river itself was dotted with water hyacinth which our guide explains is a non-native species that multiplies rapidly but dies when it meets the ocean’s saline water. The rains however have reduced the water salinity that have allowed them to thrive. The hour-long cruise had me spot a whole lot of black headed Ibis and sea gulls as well.

Chinese Fishing Nets
Chinese Fishing Nets

Some sights you must see include:

  • St. Francis Church, the first European church to be built in India with the oldest European settlement of Fort Cochin.
  • The Pardesi Synagogue, that is over 450 years old and happens to be the oldest in the Commonwealth region.
  • Mocha Art Café for some quick bites and browse through the small art gallery on site. Pick a seat next to the window and see life go by in Jew Town.
  • Shop at Jew Town. This is the best place to also scout for antiques, it will pinch your pocket but you will find something rare.
St. Francis Church, Fort Kochi
St. Francis Church, Fort Kochi

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