Sometimes you just feel an urge to go on vacations not exactly sure where you want to head and then suddenly an opportunity comes to your way and you start believing that when urged for something very desperately, entire universe helps you to fulfill your dreams. My trip to Kerala was very abrupt plan. I was longing for a vacation and that’s when, out of blue -my friends planned to visit Fort Kochi! Better known as Gateway to Kerala, Fort Kochi represents the cozy part of city Kochi (Cochin). I wasn’t really sure of this place; however I had already started dreaming about my favorite south Indian food, greenery around and a relaxation therapy.
How to get in:
Kochi is very well connected to other parts of state and cities by road, by air as well as by sea. The numerous options are available to reach Fort Kochi depending whether you wish to travel via Flights, train, bus or car. To reach Kochi by Sea you can take a cruise from Goa, Mumbai, Lakshadweep, Colombo and Male.
When we arrived in Kochi, our first task was to hunt for good accommodation as we had touched to God’s own country on very short notice. There are plenty of options available from budget to luxurious stay; some of them include Old light house Bristow Hotel, Hotel Arches and The tower House. If you are on budget travel then you should try home stays as they are very popular in Fort Kochi; mainly because they offer homemade food and secondly, rent out two-wheeler or bicycles to explore this beautiful place.
Truly speaking I was not expecting much out of this place but soon I realized that this small place holds many interesting things to see and a great place to spend a short trip of 2- 3 days. This place is fascinating and shows the blend of different cultures right from Portuguese, British, Chinese, Arabs and Dutch owing to their commercial visits to the shore of Kochi over the years. And due to its cosmopolitan culture, Fort Kochi has emerged out as one of the hottest tourist destination of Kerala for global elites.
Tourist attractions in Fort Kochi:
Chinese Fishing net: The use of these fishing nets started around 14th century and till date they are in use. To see how these nets are operated, head on to sea shore in late afternoons where many fishermen are carrying out this fishing activity (almost every day). Other interesting thing you will get to see at this very place is “bidding of fish”where many chefs from famous restaurant come to this place and quote their prices for fresh seafood.
Princes Street: This is the main street in Fort Kochi which has many multi-continental restaurants, jewelry and cloth shops, antique shops. Major chunk of the market has been occupied by Kashmiri Shopkeepers with their beautiful pashmina shawls, boutique works and silver jewelry. Best way to visit this place is by walking. Many tea shops, grocery shops, coffee shops and internet cafés are in this area. In case you are planning to visit nearby destinations like Munnar, Alleppy and then this is the place where you can find good travel agencies.
St Francis Church: This landmark church in Fort Kochi is believed to be the oldest European-built church in India and was built by Portuguese in 1503. It is more famous as burial site of explorer Vasco de Gama, who died in Kochi in 1524 (though his remains were later taken back to Portugal). This church is so appealing from the outside itself and you cannot resist yourself from visiting the charm of this church.
Jew Town: Make your way to this town which is known for its spices and if you are spicy food lover then you ought to visit this place. You will find numerous types of spices which you can taste in south Indian food.
Things to do in Kochi:
Spa center: Kerala is particularly famous for its Ayurvedic medicines and body massage. Here many resorts offer various affordable massage packages to relax your body and mind. Don’t miss on this.
Vypeen Island:To enjoy the boat ride, take the ferry from Fort Kochi to Vypeen Island which is around four kilometers from the coast. The other famous point of attraction is the Cherai beach.
Please your taste buds with Kerala Food: Though there are many multi-cuisine restaurants one should experience eating food on the banana leaf. Anandbhavan restaurant is famous for its authentic local food. For non- veg try Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel.
Rent a bike or just stroll in the lanes of this lovely town. Admire the patterns of wonderful architecture around. Eat good food and enjoy a roadside tea… Fort Kochi is a complete delightful experience! This place is warm, cozy and has shades of romance- A place for relaxation and rejuvenation. It can be a good option for those who want to spend some quality time with their loved ones.