The city of Kochi perfectly reflects the eclecticism of the state of Kerala - mosques stand beside 16th century Jewish synagogues with 500-year-old Portuguese and Dutch cottages lining the winding streets. Off the coast giant Chinese fishing nets hover over the waters, a legacy of Kochi's importance as a port and centre of Indian spice trade for a number of centuries that attracted Arab, Chinese and European traders. The Portuguese founded the first European colony in Kochi, formerly known as Cochin in the 16th century and the Dutch quickly followed as did the British later on.Read More
The cosmopolitan mix of cultures makes the city a fascinating place to visit. This is particularly apparent in the old sections of Mattancherry and Fort Cochin, which are approached by regular ferry from Ernakulam, the modern city section of Kochi. In Fort Cochin you'll find St. Francis Church, India’s oldest European-built church constructed in 1503, as well as the huge Santa Cruz RC Basilica that dates from 1902. In the Mattancherry area is the 16th century Mattancherry Palace, also known as the Dutch Palace, which features wonderfully preserved Hindu murals with scenes from Sanskrit epic poems. Nearby is the Pardesi Synagogue, the oldest active synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations.
Kochi makes a fantastic base for visiting the surrounding backwaters or alternatively makes for a worthy day trip for those basing themselves in the backwaters. A number of islands dot the waters between mainland Ernakulam and historical Fort Cochin including Willingdon Island, the largest artificial man-made island in India, linked by a network of ferries and bridges.
Here are some popular itineraries that include a visit to Kochi. Alternatively, if you would like to include a visit to Kochi on a bespoke touring itinerary to India, take a look at our tailor-made holiday planning section.