Culture, natural beauty, history and delectable cuisine come together to provide a soulful experience in God’s Own Country’s most buzzing city. By Ananya Bahl
Begin your sojourn in Fort Kochi, the city’s historic and heritage-infused area. After a hearty breakfast at the Kashi Art Café, walk towards the St. Francis Church. Believed by many to be India’s oldest European-built church, it was constructed in the early 1500s. It served as the first burial place for the famous explorer, Vasco da Gama. Then, make a stop at the Indo-Portuguese Museum to know about the Portuguese influence on the region. Through the efforts of the late Dr. Joseph Kureethra, Bishop of Kochi, we can now explore exhibits that showcase Indo-Portuguese Christian art here. From there, you can head to the Paradesi Synagogue, established to cater to the Jewish community of the city. Don’t miss its mesmerising Belgian chandelier and striking clock tower.
For a sumptuous lunch, look no further than the hullabaloo of the Chinese fishing nets. They came to India by Chinese explorer Zheng He in the 14th century, the locals say. They are a sight to behold. It’s fun to help the fishermen catch fresh seafood and carry them to the shacks nearby, which are prepared in authentic Kerala style. End the day with an enchanting performance at the Kerala Kathakali Centre. Finally, follow it up with an intimate meal at Oceanos Restaurant.
Start your day with a light takeaway breakfast from your hotel’s coffee shop. Then embark on an exciting walking adventure through Fort Kochi. The city has a rich appreciation of the arts. Nowhere is that as clear as when you are strolling down the streets of this part of town. Walls are the city’s canvas, and the artists have showcased their talent liberally. It is also a great way to gaze at the architecture Fort Kochi is known for, with unique buildings and houses around every corner. All this activity will work up a grand appetite. Head to Fusion Bay in the Fort Kochi area. Sample some mouth-watering and homely Kerala Syrian Christian dishes like spicy fish mappas and pollichathu (fish doused in masalas, wrapped in a banana leaf and grilled).
For some leisurely post-lunch sightseeing, visit the Kerala Folklore Theatre and Museum. It houses more than 4,000 artefacts and an in-house theatre. Alternatively, you can also spend some time at Fort Kochi beach before it gets too crowded in the evening. Kochi is home to its own set of backwater channels. A calming boat ride would make for a befitting end to your trip in the city. Make this day perfect with a meal at the charming Old Harbour Hotel Restaurant.