Welcome to a tiny cluster of peninsulas and islands along the Arabian Sea Bathed in glorious history, nurtured and shaped for over centuries by foreign influences such as the Dutch, Arabs. Chinese, British and Portuguese; welcome to Kochi! Considered to be the biggest city in Kerala, the port city of Kochi is a must-visit for anybody wanting to learn and understand the rich colonial history of India in its entire trading prowess. Other than driving down in your self drive car Kochi is accessible by bus from nearby South Indian cities or from the airport in Ernakulam. What to do in Kochi you ask? Read on to find out more.
Exquisite Chinese Fishing Nets
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Start your day early in Kochi with one of the port’s finest popular sights of the Chinese fishing nets. It is said that these nets were brought from Emperor Kublai Khan’s courts in China and introduced to the fisherfolk in Kochi in the 14th century. Used ever since, you can pay the fishermen a small fee to learn or watch how to use them. Definitely a fun experience, the cast nets are a mesmerising sight against the rising sun. Later in the day, you can also taste the cooked catch fro the nearby shacks and enjoy the breath-taking sunset.
Artistic Mattancherry Palace
Popularly called the Dutch Palace after the Dutch created extensions and carried out renovations in this Portuguese built architecture, the Mattancherry Palace was constructed as a token of appreciation to the Raja of Kochi in 1555. The double storey palace is a perfect blend of Portuguese architectural style and the Kerala temple architecture that includes sloping roofs and wooden balconies. This palace is currently utilised as an art gallery that portrays some of the best paintings and murals of India.
Considered to be one of the oldest areas in Kochi, Princess Street is a perfect amalgamation of the modern and traditional. Located right in the centre of the city, you can notice the evident influence of the colonial intruders on either side of the street. Stroll down the path that is dotted with homes and buildings of European architecture along with Portuguese, Dutch and British structures. This street is also the best place to indulge in some street shopping at the bookstores, stop at the artsy cafes and mingle with local people.
Visit St. Francis Church
Considered to be a landmark monument, the St. Francis Church is the oldest European-built church in the country. Built in 1503, this structure stood as a silent spectator during the colonial conflict and domination in India. The church is the burial spot of explorer Vasco De Gama, attracting many visitors from all over the world.
While you can choose many transport services such as Zoomcar that offer luxury car rental Kochi is easily accessible by foot and bicycle. Other popular spots to explore on your weekend getaway include the Pardesi Synagogue, the elephant Training Centre and experiencing a Kathakali Performance.