A Tour of Kerala

The sleepy, tree-lined streets of Fort Cochin are perfect for a leisurely stroll. Start at the St. Francis Church, one of the earliest Indian churches to be built by Europeans. The Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama was once buried here. Continue northeast along Church Street, passing colonial bungalows, to Vasco da Gama Square and the famed Chinese Fishing Nets. Follow River Road along the sea front past more colonial buildings. When you come to the end of the small Children's Park, take a right so that the edge of the park is on your right. At the park's far edge you'll hit tiny Princess Street—one of the first streets built in Fort Cochin, it's now crammed with shops, tour agencies, and modest European-style houses. The next major intersection is at Bastion Street. Take a left here and you'll soon see Santa Cruz Cathedral on your right. From here, hop in an auto-rickshaw to Mattancherry and visit the Dutch Palace. When you exit, take a right and follow the road as it turns a corner. Turn right again and you'll reach the Synagogue. In the afternoon browse in the antiques and spice shops that line Jew Town Road, or head back north to the jetty and catch a ferry to Ernakulam for shopping on Mahatma Gandhi (M.G.) Road.


You can see Fort Cochin and Mattancherry in a day. Remember that all houses of worship close for a few hours around lunchtime. The Dutch Palace is closed on Friday, the synagogue is closed to visitors on Friday and Saturday, and many shops are closed on Sunday.

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