Kochi/Cochin is part of Ernakulam district or Kerala.Popularly known as the ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’ Kochi is well connected with rest of the world and maintains its rich historical heritage along with diversity in culture.Here is a quick guide to places which you can visit in just a day.
How to reach Kochi: We took a direct flight from Bangalore to Cochin Airport.If you book almost a month ago; price will be somewhere around INR 2000.If you are coming from any other part of India flight price will vary.Also, you can take a train till Ernakulam Jn.
Where to stay in Kochi: I will recommend you to stay in Fort Kochi as most of the major tourist attractions are here only.Now Fort Kochi is around 44 kms away from Cochin International Airport and you may take an OLA which will cost around INR 800-1000.On your way you will find Lulu mall which is one of the largest malls in area.You will also get a glimpse of the sea and the ports.
As I was on a tight schedule and had just one day to see the must visit places here is how my day looked like
Arrival at the Cochin Airport: 9 am
Reached hotel at Fort Kochi: 10 am
Had breakfast and got freshen up: by 12 pm
We booked an auto for 400 bucks to show us all the tourist spots.Now here is a tip.If you are staying in Fort Kochi most of the tourist spots are within walk-able distance,even the sea beach.However, I will advise you to book a local auto as you will be able to cover a lot of places quickly but it is highly likely that they will take you to the spice stores or souvenir shops and force you you to buy something from there.So be careful with that and stick to your plan.
St Francis Church: This church was built in 1503 (yes, that old).Even Vasco da gama’s body was initially buried here and you will get to see the place there.However, his remains were later moved to Portugal. This church is a protected monument under Archaeological Survey of India and is a pleasant visit to see its architectural intricacy.There is no entry fee and it is open on all days(except Sunday probably) till 7pm. .
Santa Cruz Basilica: This is pretty close to St Francis Church and is among the nine basilicas in India.This church displays Indo-European architectural grandeur along with Gothic color schemes.It was originally built by the Portuguese.No entry ticket is required and this place is open on all days.Timings may differ on Sundays.
Indian Naval Maritime Museum: After that our auto took us to the Indian Naval Maritime Museum.This place is usually open from 10.30 am to 5 pm.However, 1.30 pm to 2.30 pm will be the lunchtime and hence, entry will not be allowed.Entry fee is required (40 -50 bucks per person).I personally liked this museum very much and if you have interest in Indian navy’s glorious past you will like it too.You don’t need any guide here as everything is explained through video clippings and display boards.Once you enter you will find two air-conditioned museums on your left and right where you will get to see various historical sculptors designed in a very nice story telling format,weapons,missiles,miniatures of ships,navy uniforms and badges.At the open area there is a well maintained garden and you will get to see a ship and a helicopter as well.I got to see some of the artifacts of the navy which I only heard about in history books or movies and that was really exciting.
Indo Portuguese Museum: After spending time in the navy museum we walked towards Indo Portugues Museum.There is a beautiful garden with fountains along with the bishop’s home, outside of the museum.However, the entry was not allowed for visitors.The museum is slightly towards the inner corner of the garden.I was honestly little disappointed to see this one as things did not seem very well maintained.The entry fee was 20 bucks for a person.There were two floors and on the upper floor you will get to see antique costumes and artifacts from the Portuguese era and at the basement there are remains of the original fort which stood there many years ago.
Paradesi Synagogue: The synagogue is one of the oldest active synagogue or Jewish worship house.It is located in the Jew town.It was built by Spanish speaking jews and hence is called Paradesi synagogue or foreign synagogue.You will find colorful Belgian glass chandeliers, lamps, hand painted beautiful porcelain tiles here.There is also a small well where you would find lots of fishes.It is open on all days except Friday and Saturday.
Jew Street: Once we came out of the synagogue we explored the Jew street.If you want to buy souvenirs this is one of the best place for shopping but things are little bit on the expensive side.You will find antique handicrafts,paintings,clothing items,embroidered table cloths and curtains but remember to bargain.
Mattancherry Palace: From the Jew street our auto driver took us to Mattancherry Palace.In this palace you will find beautiful murals, portraits, stamps, coins and many more exhibits of the Rajas of Cochin.Make sure to tell your guide or the local auto driver whoever is accompanying you to show you this palace as it gets closed around 4 pm.So adjust your timings accordingly.
Spice Market: There are plenty of local spice shops which claim to be Govt verified for quality.However, if you plan to buy a lot of spices at an affordable cost then make sure to visit the wholesale spice market.Our autodriver was not willing to take us there as most of the times they get commissions from their known local shops.You will varieties of tea, coffee(although I will recommend you to buy tea/coffee from Munnar),cinnamon,cloves,cardamom,black pepper,cashews,sandalwood soaps etc.
Chinese Fishing Nets: I will recommend you to come to beach at the end,preferably just before the sunset to see the Chinese Fishing nets; an ancient fishing practice.You can also buy some souvenirs like fridge magnets,small wooden handicrafts etc. from the street shops at a considerably affordable rate.You will also find a lot of fish stalls.So if you are a fish lover you are going to be here for a treat.
Fort Kochi Beach: The sunset time at the beach feels so beautiful.You can take a walk or just sit around to feel the beauty.I will recommend you to visit the beach at the end of your day and absorb all the fresh air.
So that marks the end of my one day trip.The next day I took a cab to Alleppey. That story will be told later 🙂
Hope you found this blog helpful 🙂