Excursions in Fort Kochi
Excursions in the vicinity of Fort Kochi
Organised tours in South India

Excursions in Fort Kochi
Chinese fishernets and sea front
The Chinese fishernets are said to exist here since the 13th century A.C., introduced by Chinese traders living at the court of Kublai Khan. These consist of heavy wooden constructions from which nets hang down. There are some of these fishernets at the northern headland of Fort Kochi. There you will find also a small sea front promenade which is of interest at weekend in the evening. Then a lot of inhabitants from the surrounding come for strolling around and admire sundown at the Arabian sea.

Dutch Palace / Mattancherry-Palace This palace was constructed by the Portugese by the then king (Raja) of Cochin. In return, this raja granted farreaching trade privileges to the Dutch. The Dutch renovated and enlarged the building in 1663. It is a typical ruler's building in old Kerala style. It contains wonderful wooden ceilings and and wall paintings with scenes of the classical Indian epos, the Ramayana. If you are not familiar with Hindu mythology, take a guide who explains the scenes. Do not miss the lower rooms where nice paintings can be seen especially in the bedrooms of the women.

Jewtown und Synagoge There is a Synagoge, built in 1568, in the Jewish quarter of Mattancherry. Although the Portugese destroyed the builing in 1662 partially, the Dutch rebuilt it two years later. There are extraordinary handpainted Chinese floor tiles. The pretty clock tower has been renovated carefully in 2005.
The quarter which extends from Mattancherry palace unto the Synagoge is packed with shops of different size. They mostly sell antiquities and replicas. Here you will find shops for arts and crafts of many different origin and also jewellery, spices, paintings, perfume oil. The antique shops offer really nice objects, and there is no problem with shipping the merchandise home to the West. Nonwithstanding some meddlesome Kashmiri sellers, the local businessmen are no hard sellers. They inform you about everything and don't worry if you leave the shop without buying anything. They know that you will come back if you a nice piece ... - At Sundays the traffic is low, thus you may have a walk from northern Fort Cochi down the River Rd., Calvetty Rd., and then Bazaar Rd.. This is no noble quarter but a historical trading center where you may find some treasures if you observe carefully.

Dutch Cemetery , eingeweiht 1724.
Parade Ground; used by the Portugese as well as by the Dutch and, later, the British soldiers for excercises. Today it is the ideal sports ground for all kinds of ball games.
Santa Cruz Basilica. This ancient church was built by the Portugese, destroyed 1795 by the British and rebuilt 100years later. It obtained the status of a basilica by Pope Paul II in 1984.
Bischop's residence and museum. This nice premises was built in 1506 as residence of the Portugese Regent. Tosay it serves as the summer residence of the Cochin Bishop. Attached to the house is the new Indo-Portugese Museum, a well turned out piece of Kerala architecture. Here you may see the remnants of the first Indian catholic church.
St. Frances Church Sie war 1503 die erste christliche Kirche Süd Indiens. Sie wurde erstmals von portugiesischen Franziskanern als Holzkirche erbaut und später von den protestantischen Holländern aus Stein errichtet. Unter den Briten wurde es eine Anglikanische Kirche, und heute wird die Kirche von den Christen der protestantischen „Church of South India“ benutzt.
Historical buildings: Here we show the buildings which today are being used as hotels or homestays which you may visit also from inside. Whoever likes the feeling to live in a historical building will here get one's money worth. Some of these houses have been renovated luxurously, and you may find such houses in all price categories.
You will find the exact addresses in our Section "Accomodation":
- Ballard Bungalow
- Koder House
- Old Harbour House
- Old Courtyard
- Vasco House
- Malabar Residency
- Delight Homestay
- Rosa-Rio Homestay
- The Spencer Home
- Bernhard Bungalow
- Chiramel Residency

Jain -Tempel and Gujarati - quarter The Jainas are one of the three still existing ancient religious groups of India besides Hinduism and Buddhism. A lot of Gujarati people adhere to this religion. There are three ethical basic principles: Non-violence to all living being, independance from unnecessary property, and truthfulness. Jains do not kill nor hurt living beings, therefore they are strict vegetarians. The Jainas very often donate money for splendid temple constructions which may be seen also at the niced properly cared for Jaina temple in Fort Cochin which is open for the public (just check in at the entrance). Every noon, there comes a man feeding the pigeons. When the pigeons arrive, they use to fly three times round the temple before they come down for their daily meal.
Fort Cochin has always been a town for ethnical minorities. The Gujaratis live around the Jaina temple in the Gujarati Rd. up to Palace Rd. Here the resraurants serve mainly vegetarian dishes even without using eggs. In Gujarati street, there is a fabulous sweet shop and, nearby at Palace Rd., a restaurant wih excellent parottas. You will even find a small shop serving fruit juice. I got all these information from Jithu, our intelligent Rickshaw driver (mobile phone: 9895155042). He lives in Gujarati Rd. and thus he knows every single corner of this region.

Kathakali dancing theater There is an Kathakali dance center at the beginning of River Rd. You should in any case see a performance in this centre. (See information under "Odds and Ends"). If you have got this opportunity only once, you should choose the special performance where they comment on the mimic art of Kathakali.
To beginning of page

Trips to places near Fort Kochi

Kerala Backwaters and Spice Garden Only from an airplane (or, by Google Earth) you will realize the vast dimension of the Backwaters of Kerala. The sea, lagunes, lakes, and rivers merge into each other, and they form an intertwined system of water surfaces. This is unique to keral, and you will obtain a feeling for thsi extraordinary region and the special form of life of its inhabitants. Going by boat, you will dive into a completely different world, consisting of nature and people belinging to it.
Princess Street in Fort Cochin hosts many small travel agencies which offer Backwater tours. You really do not have to go to Aleppy zo start such a tour. In most cases, backwater tours include a visit of small spice gardens, where they show you all those plants and herbs which rendered the Malabar coast into a highly desired regions since thousands of years.

Traveling by ship in the lagunes between Ernakulam and the island of Bolghatty, Vallarpardam and Vypeen To go by ship at the lagunes in front of Ernakulam is an unforgettable experience. You get a good impression regarding the life of the fishermen, and - which occurs very often in India - you feel sandwiched between old and modern times. On the one hand, there are hundreds of anient Chinese fishernets, and at the same time you will realize the numerous powerful motor ships of the high seas fishermen.
The tour: Starting from Ernakulam, Marine Drive, then navigating through the waters between Bolghatti and Vallarpadam island, then round the northern cap of Vallarpadam, and finally back along the east coast of Vypeen to Fort Cochin.
Boat jetties: You can hire a boat at the promenade of Marine drive. You get there by taking a ride withe the ferry connecting Fort Cochin to Ernakulam High Court (not to Main Boat Jetty). Yoe can go by group, which is very cheap, or rent a ship for your own which will cost around 100 Rupees for about two hours. If this is too expensive for you, try to bargain - the success will depend on whether it is off season or not.
Vypeen and Cherai Beach Cherai Beach on Vypeen is a favourite place for the local people. To me it seems to be a place too dangerous to swim, but, nebvertheless, it is a preferred bathing place.
Women: Attention! No one in Keral is used to see a woman in a bathing-suits! Young men from nearby villages come to the beach by special buses to enjoy the sight of white women dressed in swimsuits. This has happened to me once because of ignorance (see the photo of gaping men at the beach - they were staring at ME!). I have learnt my lesson well.
Around noon it is much too hot at the beach, because you will not find any tree at the enless narrow beach. If you go there at the weekend in the evenenig, you will see the bathing habits of the local people: Young men ware bathing slips, but women use to stand in the water fully dressed. Most of them do not swim but just enjoy the water waves. One may take the Ferry to Vypeen from northern Fort Cochin (near Brunton's hotel) in front of the bus station. From there, you take the bus along Vypeen, and the bus drivers will show you out correctly. From there, you have to take a Rickshaw to the beach of Cherai. The other possibility is to go by Rickshaw or taxi directly from Fort Cochin to cherai beach, of course also using the ferry from Fort Cochin to Vypeen. Try to find a driver with some English knowledge - wich is possible.
On the way back from Cherai beach one should not miss the opportunity to drive along the small road along the west coast of Vypeen as far as possible. This road gives many pleasant view to the open sea. Since the Tsunami in 2004/2005 people have built large stonewalls against the sea waves, and at many places you have to surmount thesese walls in order to see the beach. The people here live on a very small and flat strip of land amidst of water.
To beginning of page

Organized tours

Our experiences are restricted to tours organized by
Marvel Tours
Panampilly Nagar
Kochi - 682 036
Tel: 0091-484-2312505 / 2323610
email: cochin@marveltour.net
This agency is normally busy in organizing large groups of travellers, for example groups from cruise liners. But they also organize individual trips through South India. Our German friend here in Cochin, who live here since many years, always rely on Marvel tours. They made the best experience with drivers, cars, and accomodation. This year we travelled with guests of ours, and Marvel Tours cured for everything. We were very satisfied with the service we got, and we even obtained better prices for hotels through Marvel Tours than e would have got by booking directly.
> Popular destinations from the location Cochin:
Ooty - Munnar - Periyar Lake - Madurai - Varkala, and Kollam
To beginning of page