In historic Fort Kochi, you can see giant Chinese fishing nets, a 450-year-old synagogue, grand European churches and crumbling Raj-era architecture all in one day.
The historic area of the old port city of Kochi in India’s Kerala state, Fort Kochi is an intriguing place of Dutch, Portuguese, Arab and British heritage. With dedicated tracks and walkways, it’s a rewarding place to explore on foot or by bicycle.
One of the most iconic sights in Fort Kochi are the cantilevered, 10-metre-high Chinese fishing nets that line its northern shores. These nets, which take up to six people to operate, are believed to have been gifted to King Kochi by a Chinese Emperor in the 14th century. Head to Fort Kochi Beach to watch this unique fishing technique in action - a particularly beautiful display at sunset.
Built by the Portuguese as a gift in 1555, Mattancherry Palace is another must-see attraction of the area with its ornate frescoes, mythological murals and portraits of the Rajas of Kochi. It was renovated by the Dutch about 100 years after construction which led to the building also being known as the ‘Dutch Palace’. Nearby you’ll find the 450-year-old Paradesi Synagogue and the oldest European church in the country, St Francis Church, which stands as a fine example of Portuguese colonial architecture. It’s also the original resting place of Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama.
Whilst here you should also experience the vibrant art and cafe scene, watch a traditional Kathakali dance performance, and enjoy a sunset boat cruise.