Duration of the Visit - 03Hrs 30Min
A major port city in the state of Kerala, Cochin is situated partly on the mainland and partly on a cluster of near-shore islands that stretch into the vast Lake Vembanad. The city’s superb natural harbor not only made it a key trading port, but also drew the Portuguese, Dutch and British as colonial powers in the past.
The splendid natural harbour that Cochin calls its own and enabled the city’s success as a major trading post was formed by a huge flood in the mid-14th century. When the Portuguese then settled here in the 15th century, Cochin became India’s first European outpost. This tour takes you on a walk through the oldest part of the city, Fort Kochi, for a chance to see some of its finest colonial architecture, but also a fascinating relic left by Chinese traders in the 14th century: a set of shore-anchored fishing nets, which are still used today.
Once you come out of the port, board the bus to reach Fort Kochi. Look forward to watching the nets being lowered and retrieved again – laden with fish – from the best vantage point the city has to offer: the narrow beachside promenade known as Vasco Da Gama Square. But the tour itinerary also includes a visit to Santa Cruz Basilica, a beautiful white building with twin spires that was founded by the Portuguese in the early 16th century and proclaimed as a basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1984.
Next up is the nearby Church of St. Francis, which was constructed in 1503 and counts as India’s oldest European-built church. To round off your Fort Kochi experience, you’ll also get to see the large wooden VOC Gate, the city’s only remaining relic of the offices of the former Dutch East India Company, as well as Bastion Bungalow, which is noted for its typical Indo-Dutch architecture. Your tour of Cochin’s oldest area then draws to a close with your return to the ship.
The tour includes external visits only of all buildings, with the exception of St. Francis Church. Shoes must be removed inside St. Francis Church. Shoulders and knees must be covered when visiting St. Francis Church
As this tour includes extensive periods of walking it is unsuitable for guests with mobility problems or using a wheelchair. Guests are recommended to wear a hat, sunscreen and loose cotton attire of a modest nature (non-revealing).