Fort Kochi is often overlooked in run of the mill Kerala trips or at max treated as a stopover while visiting the Munnars and Alleppys of Kerala. But Kerala has much more than beautiful backwaters or the lush green tea estates and Fort Kochi is one such gem of a charmer, a quaint little town tucked away from the busy city of Cochin.
With no specific agenda, we had headed to Kochi around the beginning of the year on a weekend we had nothing else to do. Thankfully we did, and the love for the place took us back within a year itself. From what I’ve gathered exploring Fort Kochi, here are my two cents on the 5 best things to do to make the most of your visit.
Drown yourself into Old World Charms:
Put your best foot forward and explore Fort Kochi the ‘Vasco Da Gama’ish way on foot with a map (well, Google Maps to be more accurate) in hand. Picture perfect neighborhoods lined with Dutch and Portuguese houses, innumerable cute and artistic cafes serving mouth-watering delicacies, centuries old synagogue, smell of the spices that fill the air as soon as you set foot on the Marine drive and many more of these old world charms are the best reasons that make Fort Kochi stand out.
Grab a cycle, pick a lane, and pedal away to glory! Fort Kochi is best explored cycling, trust me. And cycles are available for rent at almost every other corner for a reasonable fare.
Treat your eyes with quirky graffiti along the streets of Fort Kochi:
The streets of Fort Kochi are filled with amazing street arts and that just multiplies the charm of this place a thousand times. Ranging from classical Kairali forms to abstract to quirky quotes, you would discover a new one in each corner. Goes without saying, this is a cause enough to make Fort Kochi become an Instagrammer’s Mecca in no time.
Chinese Fishing Nets and Sunset:
This quintessentially symbolizes Kochi. The Chinese Fishing Nets that Kublai Khan brought to India almost 500 years ago, still remain THE emblem of Fort Kochi. This is an ingenious way of fishing and it’s a real treat to watch how a single fisherman operates one of these huge fishing nets single-handedly.
You can spend about an hour here and you can catch these fishing nets live in operation. Come in the afternoon so that you can catch the sunset too, that is something not to be missed while in Kochi.
A perfect place for a Fishy Affair
Being a Bong and staying in Bangalore for half a decade now, I have been deprived of good fish grossly and I’m pretty sure that it plays in my subconscious whenever a trip to Kerala is on the cards. Kerala is like the twin sister of Bengal when it comes to fish (add, ‘fresh, jumping out of the water kinda’) and nobody fries them better than these sisters. Period.
Strewn along the promenade of Fort Kochi you will find fresh catches and small shacks who will fry them for you in delicious spices. If you love fish, this is something you should not miss. If you don’t, well, at least enjoy the sight of what fresh fish means!
Give yourself a cultural boost with a dose of authentic Kerala Performing Art:
Give yourself a cultural boost with authentic Kerala Performing Arts:
I had heard about the brilliance of these forms of art as a kid and couldn’t stop myself to experience it for real when I had the chance. It’s a must have experience when in Kerala. Right from the precision of putting on their make up and dressing up to performing live, it’s a treat to watch the magic of these performances and get a taste of the authentic charm of Kerala. Well, be ready for the shock of your life if you are seated in the front rows during the Kalaripayattu performance. I won’t divulge the secret as that would take away the surprise factor out of it 😉
Tickets cost around INR 300 per show and are readily available unless it’s a long weekend or a high tourist season. We watched the shows in Kerala Kathakali Centre, probably the most popular place to experience Performing Arts in Kochi. Kerala Kathakali Center is located near the Santa Cruz Basilica. Few others which you can give a try are:
- Kairali Kathakali located opposite the Brunton Boatyard Hotel.
- Folklore Museum located near Thevara ferry in the southern side of Ernakulam.
- Greenix Village located opposite the Fort House in Kalvathy road at Fort Cochin.
Do soak in the charm if you call yourself a traveler, cause the tourist in you might always shy away from giving Fort Kochi a try, a try that’ll very likely drag you back to the place many a more times!!
If you are looking for a local to take you through these local experiences book a experiential tour here with Johann Binny Kuruvilla of Escaping Life
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