Cochin

Cochin or Kochi to use its Indian name is a beautifully unique cruise destination and spectacular Indian port of call.  The arrival point into this destination is absolutely stunning and has inspired both artists and photographers for years.  You’ll notice the lines of fishing nets cascading gracefully from bamboo frames along the waterfront as the area adopted this famous Chinese fishing style when it was original taken notice of in India’s Kerala region.  It really is the most magical welcome to a mystical place when you arrive and this wondrous experience of cruising into Cochin simply sets the tone for what will certainly be a thoroughly enjoyable stay. 

The old town is a hugely popular place to visit with its fascinating array of sightseeing charms.  Known as Fort Kochi, the old town offers the opportunity to take in its 16th century Portuguese built church as well as the 17th century synagogue, which was constructed to welcome the smaller community of Jewish settlers who arrived to the location 2,000 years ago. 

The old town may be exciting but the new town is certainly no let down.  This location is known as Emakulam and also offers a thrilling range of exploration opportunities throughout the day.  In an ideal world you would combine the two locations along with leaving a little time to meander the gorgeous network of canals leading from the Vembavad Lake. 

The destination sits in the southwest of the Malabar Coast in a sublime natural harbour that took its form as a result of a severe flood in 1341.  The harbour is lit up by the many colourful local boats making their way from one side of the city to the other.  One thing we would highly recommend is setting your alarm in the morning here to make sure your up and about ready to see the magical sunrise, which shimmers across the misty water.  This really is a stunning experience and with the colourful boats passing through, provides a unique opportunity to capture a fantastic photograph. 

Cochin has a hugely intriguing history with a diverse range of influences over the years to make it the city it is today.  The original connections that formed were with China and Arabia, mainly for the purposes of trade links and it is believed this took place well over 2,000 years ago.  It was not until 500 years ago that the European influences began to arrive and in particular the Portuguese influence on the city, for example the aforementioned church at the old town.  The Portuguese Vasco de Gama was responsible for the sea route to India discovery and also oversaw the development of the first European fort in India known as Fort Cochin.  Both the British and Dutch also express influences on the city with the British arriving in 1635 followed by the Dutch in 1663. 

As we mentioned before, the city is divided into two halves with Mattancherry in the south and Fort Cochin to the north.  Ernakulam offers the opportunity to experience the modern haven of the city with many museums, shopping opportunities, restaurants and luxury hotels.  Many cruise passengers opt to spend the majority of their time in the southern areas as this is where the main historic sightseeing opportunities can be found but Ernakulam in the north is still very much worth visiting to witness the variances in older and more modern developments.  

The hardest decision you’ll have to make if wishing to do an excursion will be deciding between seeing Fort Cochin or taking in the Kerala Backwaters.  It is almost impossible to take in both in the same day and we would therefore recommend choosing one or the other and enjoying them properly with a slower paced tour to get the most from your time.


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