Awesome Things to do in Fort Kochi | 4D Itinerary

Chinese nets in fort kochi during twilight

This list of “Top Things in Fort Kochi, India” perfectly complements my statement that “Every street in Fort Kochi is a page from a history book.

Heads Up : Read our post “Kochi Travel Guide” to know how to get here, going around, best season to visit and finding right accommodation.

pink water lilies in Malarikkal lake near fortKochi
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1. Take a Walking Tour in Fort Kochi

Instead of just using Fort Kochi’s scenic streets for social media, learn their unique stories. Before diving into Fort Kochi’s adventures, embark on a local-guided walking tour—it’s the best way to get acquainted with this beloved city.

Why is Kochi Famous?

The tales of Perumpadappu Swarūpam kingdom’s alliance with the Portuguese in the 1500s, the Dutch’s clash with the Portuguese, and the British pursuit of “black gold” in Kochi are like chapters of a gripping novel that you can read while exploring the streets of Fort Kochi. From strategic alliances to epic battles, it’s history that unfolds with every step.

The spot where Vasco da Gama met his end, the former Jewish quarters, and the vibrant Gujarati neighborhoods all contribute to Fort Kochi’s rich tapestry. It makes you ponder why this place remains underrated, despite its compelling history and breathtaking coastal and lakeside scenery.

It isn’t just history that the streets of KOchi tell – Right in front of the house where Vasco da gama died, you see the house where India’s and my mother’s favourite singer Yesudas was born.

During this walk, you’ll discover why Kochi is Queen of the Arabian Sea,” how its bustling harbor fuels its economy, and why combating the influx of drugs is a challenge. Plus, you’ll unravel the mystery of why there’s no actual fort in Fort Kochi.

Which is the Best Walking tour in Fort Kochi?

As is often the case, I decided to go with a renowned walking tour organizer, given my fantastic experiences in Vienna and Tokyo. Regrettably, our curator Neetu didn’t quite live up to expectations.

Nevertheless, my initial preference had been for the fine folks at The Kochi Heritage Project.” Regrettably, our spontaneous plans left us without slots for any of their tours.

These individuals are hometown connoisseurs, fueled by passion – as an architect, I can read it between the lines in their captivating blog stories. So, don’t make the same blunder as me; be wise and secure your spots with the Kochi Heritage Project at least 15 days in advance.

2. Watch the iconic Chinese Nets

When I typed ‘Fort Kochi India’ into the search bar, I was welcomed by images of massive nets hanging from wooden structures. These are the renowned “Chinese nets” – unofficial emblem of Kochi.”

I questioned if these nets were just for show, like the Sri Lankan standing fishermen. I was mistaken. These are the real deal, genuine fishing nets in action all over Kochi.

pair of chinese nets on vembanad lake

What is the Chinese fishing nets in Kerala?

Crafted by local hands and draped lazily over the water’s edge, these are colossal cantilevered fishing nets introduced to the people of Fort Kochi by the Chinese. A Mongolian explorer showed our Malayali community how to craft and utilize these nets somewhere between 1350 and 1450 AD.

Design and Mechanics of the Chinese Fishing Nets

birds inside chinese nets looking for fish

Although use of teakwood now restricted in Kerala, these unique Chinese nets are crafted using a combination of teakwood and versatile bamboo poles. These nets hang in the air, reminiscent of Newton’s cradle, but with a twist – as the net moves up and down, a pendulum swings left and right.

Each structure stands about 10 meters tall, firmly anchored in beach sand, with an extended arm holding a net. Counterweights, often hefty stones on ropes of varying lengths, gracefully choreograph the net’s rhythmic movements.

To add more allure and drama, the waters of Lake Vembanad glitter. As our folks pull up the fish-filled nets, the uninvited yet charming guests – the birds –flock to the net to grab their share of the meal.

Best time to watch Chinese nets in Fort Kochi.

man walking on chinese net base at fort kochi by the harbour

Sunrise is the best time to witness the ‘Cheenavala’ in action. If you aren’t an early bird, swing by da Gama Square at your convenience. Tourist-friendly fishermen congregate there, prepared to flaunt their techniques for a fee. You may even have the opportunity to engage in a tug-of-war with the ropes.

3. Mattancherry Palace

What might strike you as a modest abode, donning the classic Kerala style complete with clay-tiled, sloping roofs, unveils a treasure of indigenous artistry inside full of wall paintings and woodwork.

When I say “grandeur” and “palace”‘ don’t compare it to Mysore Palace or Hofburg in Vienna. The place isn’t massive, but impressive.

mattancherry palace with white wall and mangalore clay tile roof

History of Mattancherry Palace

inside of mattancherry palace with wooden swing and highly crafted wooden ceiling

Constructed by the Portuguese in 1545 AD as a gift to the king of Kochi, this palace has undergone numerous renovations under Dutch influence. Instead of retaining its Portuguese identity, the palace eventually acquired the name “Dutch Palace.”

What is Mattancherry Palace famous for?

The palace is renowned for its excellent mural works adorning its interior walls and the exquisite wooden carvings that grace its ceiling.

wooden balcony rulings and flooring in mattancherry palace

The courtyard around which the palace is built speaks of Kerala’s Nalukettu style. But this palace shows a hidden fondness for European aesthetics. The flooring resembles black marble similar to that found in European mansions. However, it’s actually crafted from a blend of charcoal, lime, burnt coconut shells, botanical concoctions, and even egg whites – A recipe for flooring!

Ceilings with excellent wood artistry mandates you to look up. Don’t miss to observe the tiny pond outside. It’s like the palace’s personal air conditioner, sending breezy vibes through those cute little bay windows.

My favourite part of Mattancherry palace.

The walls are mansion’s canvas, depicting tales of Ramayana and Krishna Leela which is rare in Indian palaces. The story come alive vibrantly through natural dyes in shades of brick red, white, grey, and tea green. Gazing upon them, you could easily lose track of time in pure blissfulness.

The bay windows, often adorned with lattice designs, create an ideal spot to capture a refreshing breeze while watching the dazzling paintings and ceilings.

Things to know before you go to Mattancherry palace

  • Photography is not permitted within the halls housing the wall murals.
  • As of 2023, the entry fee for visitors is 5 Rs.
  • Due to ongoing restoration work, access to certain sections of the palace might be restricted.
  • An hour or a bit more is ample for exploring the palace.

4. Explore Jewish History in Fort Kochi.

entrance of pardesi synagigue and a man standing by

The diverse mix of communities in Fort Kochi adds an extra layer of intrigue to its stories. It’s like a cultural blend where Hebrew script rubs shoulders with Malayalam, a nod to the once-vibrant Jewish presence in Fort Kochi.

A mere 500-meter stroll from Mattancherry Palace along Jew Town road lands you in Synagogue Lane, or as I fondly call it, Fort Kochi’s most enchanting alley. Back in the day, this lane buzzed with Jewish families who relocated here from Israel. Today, their former homes have morphed into cafes, boutiques, and shops, all while keeping the Jewish spirit alive.

Jewish Heritage and their story in Fort Kochi

Jewish candle holders collection

The Kochi Jewish community believes they arrived in India post-Jerusalem Temple’s destruction. While the earliest documented proof dates to the 9th century, vibrant paintings depict the Kochi king gifting a copper plate to Jewish leaders and the construction of a synagogue near Mattancherry Palace.

Pardesi Synagogue

The Jews who settled in Fort Kochi were referred to as “Pardesi Jews” in the local dialect, and their place of worship became known as the “Pardesi Synagogue.” This charming synagogue houses precious Torahs in a teakwood Ark adorned with gold crowns. At its heart, a brass pulpit serves as the stage for the Rabbi’s recitations and sermons.

What truly captivates visitors is the exquisite flooring. After facing Portuguese exploitation and a Dutch restoration effort in the early 1760s, the synagogue underwent a splendid transformation. Besides expanding its size, the Dutch introduced the iconic “Willow Pattern White and Blue Ceramic Tiles” to grace the floors.

Can you meet Kochi Jews now?

In my quest to explore Jewish culture, I set out to find a Jewish family living in Fort Kochi. However, with only around 30 Jews residing here today, uncovering a Jewish family for insights into their Indian lifestyle demands thorough research. Another avenue to delve into Kochi’s Jewish history is by visiting Sarah Kohen’s home. There, I met Thaha, a Muslim man informally adopted by the Cohen couple, who holds captivating stories about these local-born Jewish individuals.

Thaha, once a souvenir vendor, now preserves Sarah’s knitting and stitching legacy with the Cohens’ support. From menorahs (traditional Jewish lampstands) to yarmulkes, all meticulously crafted by her, this unassuming museum offers a unique experience for history enthusiasts exploring Fort Kochi.

5. Watch Kathakali show

Kathakali performance of Keechaka and draupadi on stage

Kathakali, a traditional dance-drama from Kerala. It tells stories through intricate facial expressions – especially eyes and eyebrows, hand gestures, colorful attire, and elaborate makeup. It all happens without a word spoken by the performers!

Where can I watch Kathakali in Kochi?

You can catch Kathakali shows at various places in and around Fort Kochi. One renowned venue is the “Kerala Kathakali Centre,” located near Santa Cruz Basilica. You can call them or send a whatsapp message on +91 9895534939 to reserve the tickets. They also have shows on Kalarippayattu, classical music and dance, Odissi dance shows as well as classes for almost all kerala’s classical artforms.

The performance starts at 6 PM, with makeup preparations beginning at 5 PM.

two kathakali male artists wearing dhoti bare chested applying make up

It’s good to arrive a bit before 5 PM to secure the best seats and observe the artists during their makeup process. Along with your ticket, you’ll receive a printed summary of that day’s play, providing insight into the story and characters. This makes it easier for everyone to understand the upcoming performance.

Before the performance starts, the director provides an informative session on Kathakali. It includes its characters, history, and the significance of identifying expressions since performers don’t speak. The explanation highlights the use of natural materials and traditional tools for makeup application.

Makeup of Kathakali performers

The most striking attire belongs to the play’s villain, “Karum Kathi,” portraying Keechaka. It features a green face and white beard, created using a mixture of rice flour, lime, and tree gum – all sourced from nature’s depths.

kathakali artist playing villain roel getting makeup done

Specific stones are used, along with coconut oil, to achieve particular colors. Since the eyes are the “soul” of the performance, performers go to extraordinary lengths. They place a tiny seed beneath the lower eyelid two minutes before the show, giving their eyes a reddish hue and adding to the soothing coolness that envelops them.

What is the ticket price of Kathakali Fort Kochi?

kathakali play on the go with keechaka and bheema in full makeup and attire

The Kathakali show costs 500 Rs per person for a 1.5-hour performance. Traditional Kathakali plays can extend for 4 to 5 hours, but here, a captivating part of the play is presented for visitors. You can conveniently purchase tickets online or request your host to make the booking for you.

6. Explore Gujarati history

I’d heard about the Jews in Fort Kochi, but who knew I’d stroll past a Jain temple, spot a Gujarati sweet stall, and a Gujarati Degree college? On my way to the Ginger Museum Hotel, I unexpectedly found myself on “Gujarati Street,” uncovering an intriguing Gujju connection to Kochi.

Gujjus in Fort Kochi

While the exact date of the Gujaratis’ arrival in Kochi remains a historical mystery, it’s like they sauntered into town right alongside the British in the 1810s. They are known for their trading prowess and legendary haggling skills (Trust me, they are), No wonder, some of them ended up as the middlemen for the British East India Company. Others decided to hang up their trading boots charmed by Kochi’s vibe and spices.

Wandering down the bustling lanes of Gujarati Road and indulging in Gujarati delights like Dhoklas and Fafdas is a lesser-known thing to do in Fort Kochi. The locals, as friendly as can be, are more than willing to share tales of their ancestors’ grand adventures in this coastal paradise. If you’re lucky, you might catch them switching flawlessly from Malayalam to Gujarati faster than you can say “Gujarati Road.”

7. Spend a day at Kumbalangi village

If you’re a Malayalam movie buff, you’ve probably seen “Kumbalangi Nights” like Ashrith and me. That itch to discover if such an idyllic village exists in Kerala can lead you to one of the most stunning spots in the state, with wide backwaters, coconut trees dotting the skyline, and quaint village huts scattered about

What is Kumbalangi famous for?

The journey from Kochi to Kumbalangi is a magical experience. A narrow road runs alongside open waters on one side and the Arabian Sea on the other. Tiny islands with coconut trees dot the backwaters, while the Mangrove forests enhance the beauty of the open waters. This area is also home to hundreds of birds, and you’ll even find the iconic Chinese fishing nets of Kochi here.

If you’re like us, hailing from South India’s rural areas, Kumbalangi is a serene spot to unwind and reconnect with nature away from the crowds.

How to get to Kumbalangi?

A private vehicle is essential for reaching and exploring Kumbalangi. You can rent a bike or cycle. or, like us, use your own car and navigate as you go. However, if you want to interact with local residents, witness their fishing activities, and join them on a boat trip, it’s advisable to opt for a guided tour.

8. Wonder at Malarikkal Water Lilly

No matter how much you plan, trips throw surprises your way. Just a day before we headed to Kochi, we stumbled upon a lake teeming with lotus blooms. The online photos seemed otherworldly.

We had our doubts—were these pics just edited for the ‘gram, or did such a beautiful place really exist? Once again, we were proven wrong, and Malarikkal Water Lily turned out to be the highlight of our Kochi trip.

Heads up: The lake blooms only during the monsoon season, so don’t plan for this during other times.

When should I visit Malarikkal?

Every year, the lotus bloom graces the paddy fields of Malarikkal village from the last week of July to the end of September. While online records mention a spread of 650 acres, don’t expect a continuous carpet of pink spanning the entire area. The Malarikkal lake reigns supreme, featuring vast patches adorned with pink lotus blooms, interspersed with patches of white lotus.

These natural wonders are at their finest during the early hours, ideally between 6 am and 9:30 am. They tend to retire gracefully under the scorching sun.

How do I get to Malarikkal water lily?

Having a private vehicle is the way to reach Malarikkal Water Lilies, located near the famous Kumarakom backwaters town. A slight right on Kumarakom-Kottayam road leads to a narrow, winding path just wide enough for a car and a bike.So take it slow and savour the journey.

When you arrive, you’ll notice that local residents have transformed their front yards and empty lands into makeshift parking lots. Pay a mere 30 Rs to park (stay as long as you like), then follow the crowd. Boom! You’ll stumble upon the pink carpet, with long narrow boats cruising while tourists soak in Mother Nature at her finest.

How to avoid crowd at Malarikkal lake?

A boat for up to 4 people costs 300 Rs and takes you on a 30-minute spin in the first lily bloom patch, where it’s crowded with tourists. But if you’re feeling fancy and pay 1500 Rs per boat, like we did. You get transported to the other side of the lake—a place so stunning it’s like it’s from another planet. There, you can enjoy the entire lake without the crowds.

9. Visit Kuthampully for Kasavu

White sarees with golden borders are iconic in Kerala’s tradition, and they are available in stores across South India. However, visiting the place where skilled artisans craft these fabric marvels by handloom is a pure joy.

What is kuthampully famous for?

Kuthampully is one of the three clusters known for crafting Kerala Kasavu sarees using handloom techniques. This village in Thrissur district, located 125km from Kochi, offers a glimpse into the world of handloom with GI tag. Read here to know more on the technical details of Kasavu weaving.

The picturesque small village of Kuthampully is enveloped in lush greenery, and every house here has a handloom in operation. If you’re unsure about where to explore in Kuthampully, feel free to reach out to weaver Mani at 06283851435. He’s a skilled saree weaver and a friendly local with exceptional handloom skills.

You can also combine this trip with a visit to Thrissur, where you can explore the beautiful traditional Kerala-style Sree Vadakkumnathan Temple.

10. Visit Churches of Fort Kochi

baroque style church with white facade and clay tiile roof in fort kochi

If you’re up for some historical digging in Fort Kochi, visiting these churches is one of the best things to do. Plus, they’re oases of calm and shade, a heavenly escape from Kochi’s heat.

Heads up: Keep in mind that these are active places of worship, so a little mindfulness and respect go a long way. Some churches might request you to wear a headscarf.

Saint Francis Church in Fort Kochi

saint franci church in fort kochi

Saint Francis, one of India’s oldest European-built churches, dating back to around 1500-1516, is famous in Fort Kochi. Its popularity lies more in historical significance than architectural grandeur. It served as the burial site for Vasco da Gama, who died in Kochi in 1524 during his third India visit. His remains were later moved to Lisbon.

Santa Cruz Basilica

With two towering spires and a bright exterior, this Portuguese construction from the 1500s not only welcomes visitors but also received recognition from the Vatican, becoming one of India’s 25+ basilicas.

santa cruz basilica with two spires and white facade

Inside, the bright white interior contrasts with a soft pastel theme, reminiscent of a fairytale castle’s chambers. The grand arches and a colorful altar complement a magnificent ceiling, resembling Fresco paintings between the wooden trusses.

The ceiling resembles a storybook, featuring a captivating rendition of the well-known painting, “The Last Supper.”The graceful arched windows with stained glass further enhance the ambiance. This colorful yet elegant space made me appreciate this building even more than the famous Saint Francis Church.

Koonan Kurishu Church

This Syrian Orthodox church, not usually a tourist attraction but significant for pilgrims, holds a certain fascination for several reasons. If you’ve been to Nubia or have knowledge of Nubian vaults, you’ll instantly recognize the architectural connection.

Koonan Kurishu Church with nubian vaults and bricks

Situated in a predominantly Muslim neighborhood, the church features a sprawling lawn where the arched walls seamlessly transition into the roof.

History of Koonan Kurishu Church

In the foyer, you’ll spot the “Coonan Cross,” a granite Patriarchal cross secured to nearby columns by a rope. Its history is intertwined with this very rope.

Centuries prior to the arrival of the Portuguese in Kochi, a group of Kerala residents had embraced Syrian Orthodox Christianity. However, in the early 1600s, the Portuguese initiated the burning of Syrian Christian texts and sought to bring them under the Pope’s authority through a council, provoking unrest among the Syrian Christians.

In response, a large gathering of distressed Syrians assembled before an ancient cross in Mattancherry. They attached a long rope to the cross, firmly pledging their allegiance against following the directives of the Latin Archbishop or the Jesuits. This solemn pledge is known as the “Oath of the Coonan Cross” and is a pivotal moment in Indian Christian history.

In 2017, a Nubian magic appeared on the site with rammed earth, bricks, neither cement nor steel, to renovate the old church.

11. Stay at a heritage mansion

The kingdoms of Kochi, colonisers, and migrant communities have all left their mark on Fort Kochi’s local culture, traditions, and architecture. The fusion of European styles with traditional Kerala architecture and the incorporation of Jewish elements into these historic structures transport you to another era.

Every creaking floorboard, intricate architectural detail, and weathered brick carries echoes of stories from the past. Therefore, staying in heritage buildings is one of the finest things to do in Fort Kochi.

Heritage Hotels in Fort Kochi

Staying in Fort Kochi’s heritage structures doesn’t have to break the bank. You can find luxury hotels like Brunton Boatyard-cgh Earth by the lake side or Postcard Mandela, which is a former Jewish home converted into a hotel.

For budget-conscious travelers, there’s Vasco Homestay, which is the residence where Vasco Da Gama passed away.

12. Explore Cafes

Cafe culture isn’t a big deal in India; we’re all about street food, right? But Fort Kochi defies norms. Here, cafes come alive until 11 PM every day (well, some of them).

Heritage buildings transformed into cafes dish out Western treats like pudding and croissants, with a surprise twist of local gems like Pazhampori. Some even sweeten the deal with a mini-library or an art gallery.

It’s not just foreign travelers; even the young crowd from India is all in. So whether you’re into selfie-taking or quietly admiring artists at work, Fort Kochi’s cafes have got it all. But if you’re watching your budget like we do, make sure to check those prices before you settle in!

Some of the best cafes we tried in Fort Kochi are

a long glass full of kiwi,strawberry, custard apple with cream and icecream at Jaji Ali in Fort Kochi

Haji Ali – Jacob Road boasts a low-key juice bar that may not win any beauty contests, but it’s the hidden treasure trove of fruit-based desserts you never knew existed!

Loafers Corner Cafe on Princess Street: Old house, flowery windows, 90 Rs for Cappuccino—worth it.

Lila – Curated Experiences on Ridsdale Road: Fancy Kombucha, fancy art gallery, historic vibes.

The renowned Kashi Art cafe– Overrated.

The “Premam” movie-famous Pepper House- Closed in the offseason, with only the boutique open.

13. Indulge in Kochi Local Delicacies

Leaving Kochi without savoring local treats? Unthinkable! Cafes are cool, but the real flavor of Kochi is in its streets and restaurants. Being a harbor city, it’s a seafood lover’s dream. Ashrith devoured some aquatic souls which he claims were juicy and divine). I indulged in veggie delights, albeit on a more modest scale.

Must try food in Kochi are

Non vegetarians

  • Meen Pollichathu – Fish in banana leaf wraps
  • Kappa and Fish Curry – Tapioca and fish fiesta
  • Fish Biryani with Fish Roast
  • Appam with coconut chicken curry
  • Paratha with beef curry (Ashrith opts out, but it’s a hit with locals, including Hindus and foreigners)


  • Pazhampori – Deep-fried ripe banana, perfect for snacking, breakfast, or as a meal side.
  • Puttu with Kadala – Steamed cylindrical rice cakes paired with spicy coconut gravy and black chickpea curry.
  • Appam with vegetable stew – Lacy rice pancakes with crispy edges, served alongside a creamy coconut milk-based vegetable stew.
  • Paratha with Kurma – Paratha bread with flavorful Kurma curry.
  • Kozhukkatta – Rice dumplings filled with jaggery and coconut.

Best places to eat in Kochi

Food street at Tower Road near Vasco Da Gama Square is a fantastic spot for midnight seafood feasts.

Sree Muruga Cafe in Ernakulam is a must-visit for local favorites. This iconic spot is popular among the working crowd and families. Their star dish is beef fry with Pazhampori, but their FISH Biryanis are equally irresistible. It’s super affordable and serves authentic Kochi cuisine.

Jetty Restaurant in Fort Kochi – Oldest hotel on Princess Street, perfect for fine Kerala-style dining, especially vegetarian meals.

Postcard Mandela Cafe – Pricey but worth it, located in an ancient Jewish home, serves authentic Kerala dishes like Kozhukkatta and fish Kada.

Ginger Museum Hotel – Average taste, but stunning seaside views.

14. Quench your thirst with Kulukki Sarbath

In Fort Kochi, you’ll spot lots of kiosks and carts labeled “Cool bar.” Many of them offer “Goli Soda,” while some craft the iconic “Kulukki Sarbath,” originally from Kozhikode but widely popular in Kochi.

What is Kulukki Sarbath made of?

A distinct taste, like a flavor explosion, crafted by vigorously mixing zesty lemon juice, alluring basil, Chia seeds, a touch of sugar syrup, a hint of fiery ginger, and a green chili into plain water, all topped with ice cubes. Ashrith loves it, being a spice enthusiast and was a bit strong for my mild tongue.

15. Go to aromatic Spice Market

Colonisers flocked to Kochi in pursuit of spices, and while the spice trade has evolved, its essence lingers.

In Fort Kochi’s Mattancherry neighborhood, spices have been a way of life for centuries. Along Bazar Road, near the Mattancherry ferry jetty, you’ll find around 100 spice shops. But the ultimate spot to see, smell, and buy spices is the “Women’s Co-operative Society – All Spice Market”

All Spice Market on Bazar Road, Mattancherry

Step through a faded light blue double wooden door with an arched entryway, and you’ll enter a spacious courtyard. On bustling days, you’ll witness hardworking Kochi folks hauling bags of meticulously sorted spices here. Yet, on a lazy afternoon, the scent envelops you. Perhaps ginger or black pepper, the “Black Gold” the colonisers coveted.

Inside, you’ll find warehouses where women meticulously sort and clean spices. If you’re fortunate, they might demonstrate how they separate the good pepper from the bad and clean dried ginger.

Ascend the undulating, century-old wooden staircase to the upper floor, where women offer a vast array of spices. You name it; they have it. And to make it even better, they provide masala powders with recipes written on them, like Biryani masala and sambar powder.

Hailing from the Western Ghats and growing up on a spice farm, I assure you, the cinnamon, ginger, and asafoetida you find here are of exceptional quality. I highly recommend you purchase these.

16. Wander in non-touristy areas

Sometimes, we’re so caught up chasing touristy hotspots that we overlook hidden gems where the locals hang out. Enter Fort Kochi, a historical wonderland dripping with charm at every corner. But if you’re itching for a taste of modern Kochi, shift your focus to neighborhoods like Thevara.

Here, those iconic pitched-roof heritage buildings have surrendered to the allure of skyscrapers. Tech parks, towering apartments, and shiny glass-fronted malls grace the wide streets, painting a familiar cityscape. Yet, the real magic unfolds by the shores of Lake Vembanad, where a string of bridges offers a nice view of the city.

Sure, modern Kochi may not offer a ton of things to do, but the Folklore Museum and Marine Drive are definitely worth a visit. And don’t forget, the best non-vegetarian grub in Kochi can be found at Sree Muruga Cafe right here in Kochi.

17. Check out antique shop

Certain streets in Fort Kochi are lined with so many antique shops that you’ll feel like you’re strolling through an antique museum.

Shops in Jew Town road feature thousands of artifacts tied to Theyyam, a Hindu ritual related to “Daivam.” However, we discourage buying items associated with this ritual due to their spiritual and religious significance.

Beyond that, you’ll find stunning lamps and various antiques neatly arranged, including stone sculptures. Some shops even offer massive “Kadais” (cooking bowls), leaving you pondering how they’re ever transported to their destinations once purchased.

The friendly locals welcome you to explore their expansive shops and are happy to answer questions when they’re not assisting other customers.

18. Browse through Fort Kochi’s Art Galleries

Kochi takes the spotlight on the global art stage with “The Kochi Biennale,” a biennial contemporary art exhibition. Don’t fret if you’re an art enthusiast visiting at a different time because Fort Kochi flaunts 50+ art galleries – An art lover’s paradise, 365 days.

Of the three art galleries we visited, David Hall Art Gallery truly stood out. While we may not be art experts, we can certainly appreciate the captivating ambiance of David Hall. This historic building, dating back to the 1690s, was initially a hospice for Dutch soldiers before being transformed into a house by a Jewish family. The David Hall Art Gallery welcomes visitors from 11 am to 7 pm, except on Mondays.

humble structure as art gallery in fort kochi

Another intriguing art center worth exploring is the “Namasthe Art Centre” located on Bazar Road. While its modest exterior may not make the best first impression, stepping inside reveals a captivating world of art created by Kerala’s women, with a significant focus on rural women from the region.

Lila on Ridsdale Road: A photography exhibition was in full swing during our visit. It’s a great spot to spend your afternoon, whether you’re engrossed in a book, art, or engaged in a lively chat. It’s a cozy hangout with an art gallery and a cafe.

19. Explore the streets of Fort Kochi

streets of fort kochi with grafitti on one side

Early morning walks in Fort Kochi are a delight for various reasons. Firstly, fewer tourists make it easier to appreciate the town’s beauty without dodging photo-snapping visitors. Those famous antique doors, strangely, become Instagram hotspots post-lunch, and the areas get noisy. But in the morning, you can admire them in peace.

While Fort Kochi’s graffiti art isn’t as prominent as Varanasi’s, it’s still pretty cool. The streets and walls belong to the early birds, and you can also meet local fishermen in action during your stroll.

Here are some of the best streets in Fort Kochi for leisurely strolls:

indian man in blue dhoti and orange shirt standing in the historic synagogue lane
  • Synagogue Lane – The most beautiful lane in all of Fort Kochi.
  • KJ Herchel Road and Lilly Street – Discover the prettiest, well-preserved heritage buildings. Surprisingly, they remain less crowded even in the evenings.
  • Parade Road – Featuring an open ground on one side and magnificent heritage bungalows on the other.
  • Rose Street – Adorned with graffiti and impeccably maintained old structures.

Places near Kochi that aren’t worth the hype

While I usually prefer well-written, detailed blogs over social media posts, this time we were drawn to a place featured on social media – They weren’t worth the hype.

Cemeteries in Fort Kochi

I’m baffled as to why some bloggers consider “Dutch Cemetery” and “Jew Cemetery” must-visit spots in Fort Kochi. To me, they’re like any other ill maintained graveyards with zero aesthetics. Nowhere they match up to the enchanting cemeteries you’d find in Salzburg that I had in my mind. Skip these without guilt.

Cherukara Railway Station

girl in white salwar walking on the Cherukara railway platform

Cherukara Railway Station, often hailed as India’s prettiest stop on social media, had once been graced by giant peepal and banyan trees forming a lush green canopy over the tracks. On the other side, cultivated plantations added to its mystique.

However, when we visited in August 2023, they had pruned the trees and cleared the plantation! What was once a movie-worthy station now resembled any other place with a few trees. Couples for photoshoots and even a location scouting team for a movie shared in our disappointment, questioning why someone had tampered with the station’s unique vibe.

Neerputhoor temple

Neeputhoor temple with mangalore tile  roof surrounded by areca trees

Neerputhoor’s temple is nestled in a delightful setting, situated on low ground next to a pond surrounded by picturesque areca trees, away from the bustling main road.

It is a magical Hindu temple where the inner sanctum submerges in water during the monsoon. Ironically, climate change and a lack of rain meant that the temple’s interior pond remained dry even at the height of the monsoon season.

Neerputhoor’s temple is nestled in a charming locale, set amidst lush greenery on low-lying ground beside a tranquil pond and surrounded by graceful areca trees, away from the bustling main road. However, please note that access is typically restricted to temple members, so be sure to contact the temple authorities for permission before planning your visit.

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wall graffiti on fort kochi wall showing jews,hindus, muslims and foreigners living together

Published by Sahana Kulur

Traveller | Blogger | Architecture and history

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