In Fort Kochi heritage zone – nothing is quite as it sounds. There is a seaside, but it is not your average beach where people lie and tan, it’s a harbour where ships sail past. Fishermen work here, but they do so with a type of cantilevered net that came from China 600 years ago, not to be seen anywhere else in India. There is a church, but, not only is it 400 years old, build by the Portuguese, destroyed by the Dutch…. No less than Vasco da Gama was once buried here for a time. And just to round things off nicely, there has been a unique Jewish community here since 72 CE.
Fort Kochi wears all of this cosmopolitan aplomb this role in centuries of maritime and cultural religious history, this being a tourist heritage zone, with superb ease. It is till Kerala’s most cosmopolitan and visited city, boasting a mixture of Malayali Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and Jews… all engaged in some form of commerce. It’s also hard to resist the charms of Kochi’s unique geography – a mix island, small peninsulas, backwaters and a natural harbour. Mainland Ernakulam is the place of new shops and houses but the old parts like Fort Kochi or Mattancherry is where you can drink in the successive seaside influences of the Portuguese, Dutch and British in a unique ambience. The pretty islands (like Cherai) and the leisurely Vembanad backwaters nearby, not to mention the brilliant seafood, make all odes to Kochi (like this one!) a bit rapturous.