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Things to do in Kochi

Things to do in  Kochi

Welcome to Kochi

Built along Kerala's Malabar Coast, Kochi is one of India's most eclectic cities. Founded as a 14th-century spice-trading port, with strong connections to China, Europe, and the Middle East, Kochi was ruled by three successive foreign empires (Portuguese, Dutch, and British) during the colonial era. Modern Kochi has emerged an economic and commercial hub, and makes a popular starting point for exploring the waterways of Kerala, India's Venice of the East. Packed with colonial bungalows and diverse religious sites, the UNESCO-listed Fort Kochi district showcases the city's mix of influences. Visit Saint Francis Church, one of the oldest European churches in India, and the Gothic Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica. Tour the 700-year-old Paradeshi Jewish synagogue and Mattancherry Palace, a Portuguese colonial relic full of intricate, painted murals illustrating ancient Hindu mythology. Soak up some living culture with a demonstration of the cantilevered Chinese fishing nets that Kochi fishermen have used for centuries, and be sure to catch a Kathakali dance performance, a colorful 17th-century art form that originated in Kerala. A cooking class in a local home is a delightful way to immerse yourself in South Indian culture and cuisine. And don't overlook the mainland: Kerala Folklore Museum in Ernakulam is a wonderful place to learn about regional folk arts. Once you've explored Kochi, you can book a small-group cruise on a classic houseboat through Kerala's rural backwaters. Other options include hiking along Chalakudy River to Athirappilly Falls, or touring the tea plantations and Munnar Hill Station.

Top 10 attractions in Kochi

#1
St. Francis Church

St. Francis Church

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St. Francis Church is the oldest church in India, built in 1516 by Portuguese settlers to replace an older wooden church constructed in 1503 on the same site. It was once the burial site of Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, who died in Kochi, and though his gravestone is still in place here, his remains have since been moved to Lisbon.More
#2
Chinese Fishing Nets

Chinese Fishing Nets

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Fort Cochin’s Chinese Fishing Nets have been a beach installation for centuries, well before the coming of the Portuguese colonizers.It’s thought that the nets were introduced to this coastal area by the legendary Chinese explorer Zheng He, way back in the early 15th century.The nets are permanent horizontal structures, lowered and raised by a network of cantilevered ropes, bamboo poles, and balancing weights and pulleys. Teams of up to six fishermen operate the nets, but the catch is usually quite modest.For the best views, come at dusk with your camera to capture that quintessential shot of Kerala’s fishing nets and calm seas backlit by the setting sun. If you’re feeling hungry, you can buy freshly netted fish and crabs, and have them cooked up for your dinner at a roadside stall.More
#3
Paradesi Synagogue and Jew Town

Paradesi Synagogue and Jew Town

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One of the world’s oldest active synagogues, and the oldest in the Commonwealth, can be found in the center of the port’s spice district, Jew Town. The district is a particularly historic reminder of Fort Cochin’s multicultural heritage.The synagogue sits at the center of the district once inhabited by Fort Cochin’s prosperous spice trading community of Malabari Jews, who traveled here from Holland and Spain. Today, apart from the synagogue and faded street signs, reminders of the district’s once-thriving Jewish community are few.There were once seven synagogues in this quarter of Old Cochin, but Paradesi Synagogue (also called Pardesi) is the sole survivor. It sometimes also known as the Mattancherry Synagogue, as it shares a temple wall with the neighboring Mattancherry Palace. The word ‘paradesi’ is an Indian term for foreigner.The original synagogue built in 1568 was destroyed by the Portuguese, and the current building with its distinctive clock tower was erected under the rule of the Dutch.Notable features include the synagogue’s floor of blue-and-white tiles, individually hand-painted in Canton in a willow pattern. Colored glass lamps and glittering Belgian-glass chandeliers hang from the ceiling, and the gold pulpit is richly decorated.As is traditional, there is a separate upstairs balcony for female worshipers. There are also historic Torah scrolls and copper plates inscribed with the synagogue’s charter of privileges on display.When you visit the synagogue, make sure to come modestly dressed (no shorts or sleeveless tops allowed).More
#4
Mattancherry Palace

Mattancherry Palace

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The Portuguese built the 16th-century structure as a gift to the then king of the Kochi dynasty, though it underwent significant remodels under Dutch rule, earning it its current moniker: the Dutch Palace. It's celebrated for its stunning murals, many of which depict scenes from Hindu epics, notably the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.More
#5
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica

Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica

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Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica is notable for its Gothic architecture, with a whitewashed façade and beautiful interiors, with intricate pastel frescoes and paintings, and large stained glass windows. While it’s a popular attraction, it’s also a working church and the Sunday mass services here provide a great insight into local Catholic culture.More
#6
Dutch Cemetery

Dutch Cemetery

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Believed to be the oldest burial ground in the country, the Dutch Cemetery in Kochi dates back to the beginning of the 18th century. It houses the tombs of Dutch soldiers and traders who left their homeland in order to expand their country’s colonial empire—and as a result changed the entire course of history in India.More
#7
Indo-Portuguese Museum

Indo-Portuguese Museum

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The Indo-Portuguese Museum was set up by the late bishop of Kochi to preserve and showcase the significant influence of the Portuguese Catholic community in Fort Kochi and its surroundings. A popular attraction, it depicts the art, architecture, and culture of this community and gives visitors a glimpse of the original fort’s foundations.More
#8
Kerala Backwaters

Kerala Backwaters

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The Kerala backwaters refers to a large region spanning some 558 miles (900 kilometers) consisting of an interconnected network of brackish lagoons, lakes, and canals. The best way to truly experience this beautiful area is aboard a traditional houseboat; journeys last anywhere from a few hours up to a few nights.More
#9
Mattancherry

Mattancherry

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Surrounded by the backwaters of the Arabian Sea, Mattancherry is an old port area of Kochi, not far from Ernakulam Town. The area was once the main trade port for spices such as pepper and turmeric, as well as tea. Today, it’s a bustling and cosmopolitan community that welcomes people from all religious backgrounds and walks of life.More
#10
Kerala Folklore Museum

Kerala Folklore Museum

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The Kerala Folklore Museum opened to the public in 2009 as a space to showcase the cultural and artistic heritage of the southern Indian state. The 4,000-item collection spans three floors, each exhibiting a different architectural style, Malabar, Kochi and Travancore. The various items on display throughout center on art and dance and include masks, costumes, musical instruments, jewelry, sculptures, Stone Age artifacts and ancient astrological manuscripts.In the evenings, a theater on the top floor hosts various cultural performances ranging from traditional dance to Kerala-style martial arts.More

Trip ideas

Kerala Backwaters Cruises from Kochi

Kerala Backwaters Cruises from Kochi

How to Spend 1 Day in Kochi

How to Spend 1 Day in Kochi

How to Spend 3 Days in Kochi

How to Spend 3 Days in Kochi

Top activities in Kochi

Tuk Tuk Cochin Tour

Tuk Tuk Cochin Tour

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10
From
$40.00
Cochin Heritage Tour

Cochin Heritage Tour

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From
$69.34

Recent reviews from experiences in Kochi

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Excellent driver!
Bart, Feb 2020
KOCHI Tuk-tuk tours with Pickup from Cruise Ships
Our driver Raheem JK was a very reliable and easygoing driver who listened very good to our wishes about what to see and what not to see.
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Fantastic snapshot tour of Kochi!
Rosie_G, Jan 2019
Fort Kochi Ethnic City Tour
With our limited time to see Kochi it was important for us to have a quick tour of the area to take in all of the key sights - this is certainly what we received and more!
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Christmas Day on a house boat in...
Philip G, Jan 2017
Cochin City or Backwater Shore Excursions from Cruise Terminal
our coach was on time very clean and good air conditioning,our guide spoke very good English and was very pleasant,the house boat was charming,the crew friendly,the food they cooked was delicious.
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Our tour provider was Carnival...
Donald U, May 2017
Cochin Shore Excursions from Pier
All in all it was en enjoyable day and half we would recommend it as a way to see and experience some of what Kochi has to offer.
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