Fort Kochi ~ a cluster of colonial legacy
India has a very diverse culture with a wide range of languages, landscape and many other things. Along with that, many foreign cultures also mingled and mixed with Indian culture because of the reasons like forced migration, Turkish and Mughal invasions, colonial rule, etc. Today we are visiting a legacy left behind by colonizers on the coast of Malabar. Fort Kochi, a cluster of colonial legacy…
Back in the days, when the Rajah of Kochi was ruling, a Portuguese ship landed on his shore. Visitors helped the host king in the war with Samoothiri of Kozhikode. To show his gratitude for the help, Rajah of Kochi allowed Portuguese to build the Fort Emmanuel at the coast of Kochi. They settled in and around the Fort and possessed the land for nearly 160 years. They also built a wooden church which was subsequently rebuilt as a permanent structure. That’s today’s St Francis Church.
One legend also talks about a relation with China dating back to the 14th century. When chinese arrived in the region they felt it was like home and called it “Co-Chin” – meaning “Like China”. They installed Chinese fishing nets which are a common site in Kochi. However, local old Malayalam name for the nerve town of Cohin is ‘Maadan-cherry’ or ‘Mattoncherry’
You can’t miss these in Fort Kochi:
I remember my childhood visit to Cochin and seeing those gigantic Chinese fishing nets. However, back then, we hadn’t been to this area. Houses here are the mix of Portuguese, Dutch and British architecture credited to the colonial rule of over 3 centuries. St Francis Church is one of the National Monuments. Once it was the burial place of Vasco da Gama. There’s a long walkway along the coast. You will not miss this one pretty unique and iconic site of two rusty steam boilers on this beach.
However, if you can match the dates of your trip, you definitely should check out the Fort Kochi Biennale started in the year 2012. It is an international exhibition of contemporary art housed in various venues all across area. This COVID-19 pandemic has postponed the fifth edition of biennale twice and is now set to be hosted in November 2021. This could be the best opportunity to visit Fort Kochi and enjoy the colonial vibes of the place if we have cleared through the pandemic.
For now, let’s stop here for a while before continuing our journey of Incredible India. I will see you tomorrow. Till then, take care and stay safe!