This compelling port city is layered with culture…
We start our tour on the western side of the peninsula to soak up the early morning activity. Strolling along the promenade you see the Chinese cantilever fishing nets in action and perhaps catch the fishermen mid song. A little further on is the fish auction selling everything from sardines, mackerel and bream to local prawns and lobster. Passing a dilapidated Portuguese fort, we reach Saint Francis Church said to be the oldest European building in India. During the course of its existence it’s been a Catholic, Protestant and Anglican church. Here, they ask you to remove your shoes due to the delicate 19th century tiles rather than for religious reasons after which you’ll see its incredible wood ceiling resembling the hull of a ship. People come here mainly to see the tombstone of Portuguese explorer, Vasco de Gama.
We then hop in a vehicle and drive past the Dutch Cemetery, one of the oldest cemeteries (1724) in the country. Then pass the southern naval headquarters and the local laundry place originally used to launder the uniforms of the Dutch army. We cross over to the eastern side of the peninsula to see the Dutch Palace, located in the Jewish quarter and gifted by the Portuguese to the King of Kochi as compensation for destroying a nearby temple. Inside you’ll see rich murals and beautiful Hindu art which is my favourite part.
Then it’s onto the Paradesi Synagogue praised for its beauty. There are chandeliers from Belgium and Murano as well as Chinese porcelain tiles. Under the protection of the Cochin Maharaja and the Dutch, the Jews were able to grow as a community and you’ll see the distinctive architecture with pagoda-like tiled roofs – and the Star of David outside. These are interspersed with shops selling petit point embroidery and of course local spices. The perfect place to shop for a souvenir.
Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Malcolm, who's travelled extensively in India. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember.
Freephone an expert 01306 744 656