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A Chinese fishing net at Fort Kochi Beach

Old Kochi is the tourist enclave of Kochi, and it is separated from Ernakulam by Vembanad Lake, one of the largest in India. It consists of Fort Kochi, Mattancherry and the surrounding islands.

Fort Kochi is known for its neatly arranged colonial buildings, narrow well-paved roads, Anglo-Dutch influenced structures and large antiques shops. The nearby Mattancherry is primarily a trading centre, famous for its thriving Gujarati settlement brought to the city in the 16th and 17th centuries by the spice trade.

The surrounding islands include Vallarpadom Island, Vypin Island and Willingdon Island. Vypin Island is one of the most densely populated islands in the world with numerous fishing villages, tourist villages and the popular Cherai Beach. Willingdon Island is a large artificial island.

Get in[edit]

The Vembanad Lake between Ernakulam and Old Kochi is not well-bridged, and it is better to get into the peninsula by ferry.

By car[edit]

NH 966B connects Ernakulam to Old Kochi, and might be the be option if you want to get around using your own vehicle.

By ferry[edit]

There are ferry services between Fort Kochi–Ernakulam and Mattancherry–Ernakulam. The surrounding islands can also be reached using ferry.

By water metro[edit]

There's a water metro service between Vypin Island and High Court.

See and do[edit]

The Dutch Palace, which was the coronation palaces of Cochin Maharaja
  • 1 Bastion Bungalow, Napier St, Fort Kochi, +91 1800 425 4747. Typical Indo-Dutch architecture, this bungalow was built on the site of the erstwhile Stromsburg Fort, which was demolished during the Arab raids. It serves as the official residence of the Cochin Sub-Collector and entry is restricted. Bastion Bunglow (Q4868347) on Wikidata Bastion Bunglow on Wikipedia
  • 2 Chinese Fishing Nets (Cheenavala), Fort Kochi Beach, Beach Rd (Next to Fort Kochi Bus stand). Serves as the official icon of Kochi and are a testimony of relations between Ancient Chinese Empires and the Cochin Kingdom. They were gifted by Chinese Emperor Kubalagi to Kochi King in 14th century. There were more than 100, though only a few remain in working condition. Chinese Fishing Nets (Q26794327) on Wikidata
  • 3 David Hall, 1/264, Napier St, Fort Kochi (Opp. Parade Ground), +91 484 221 8298. Tu-Su 11AM-7PM. This 315 year-old Dutch bungalow was the official residence of Dutch Army commanders, the most famous being Hendrik Adriaan van Rheede tot Draakestein who authored Horticus Malabaricus. The complex belongs to Netherlands Govt. agency CNO which has been renovated to open a large art gallery, a traditional Dutch performing-arts centre and large studio for young painters. The building is a classic specimen of colonial Dutch architecture with elaborate Dutch gardens. Check at the reception to know the schedule of cultural performances.
  • 4 Dutch Palace (Mattancherry Kottaram), Palace Rd, Mattancherry. Sa-Th 10AM-5PM. Constructed by the Portuguese in 1568 as a gift to Maharaja of Kochi, Veera Kerala Varma, after he granted permission to construct Fort Immanuel. During the Dutch siege of Cochin, many parts of the original palace were destroyed. However the Dutch Governor repaired the palace and renamed as Dutch Palace. Coronations of Cochin Maharajas are held here. A large throne and coronation costumes are on display and there is an extensive collection of royal chariots, swords and other artifacts. The most interesting part is the mural room, which has the entire Ramayana and Mahabharata depicted in a single mural. ₹5.
  • 5 Greenix Tourist Theater, Greenix Village, Kalvatty, Fort Kochi. A good cultural theater with a gallery, food court and mini museum.
  • 6 International Pepper Exchange, Jew town, Fort Kochi, +91 484 253 9001. Kochi's answer to New York's Wall Street, but instead of money, it's all about pepper trading. This is the world's only pepper exchange. Nowadays, the trading all happens online, so there is not much to see any more except the historical place. Free. International Pepper Exchange (Q9008932) on Wikidata International Pepper Exchange on Wikipedia
  • 7 Kumbalangi Integrated Tourism Village, Kumbalangi island (15 km from city centre), +91 98479 31669. India's first eco-tourist village, this award winning initiative allows tourists to explore and enjoy the authentic rural culture with the cooperation of natives without disturbing their natural lifestyle. Tourists to this island village have chances to explore rural work styles, a specialised local paddy cultivation, canoeing in a country boat in a maze of mangrove forests or enjoying fishing or partying in rural style with locals. In order to maintain best eco-protection practices, several restrictions are placed on use of plastics, smoking or even carrying soft-drinks. Kumbalangi (Q27961577) on Wikidata Kumbalangi on Wikipedia
  • 8 Pallipuram Fort, Pallipuram, Vypin Island. The oldest existing European fortification in India. Built by the Portuguese in 1503, it was later handed over to the Travancore Army to become a major army base till 1903 when it was converted into a heritage museum. It has a small museum and good views of the lagoon on one side and the sea on the other. Pallipuram Fort (Q3595357) on Wikidata Pallipuram Fort on Wikipedia
  • 9 Peirce Leslie Bungalow, Beach Road, Fort Kochi. The only surviving bungalow built in authentic Portuguese style, it was the home and office of famous English merchant family - the Leslies. It has been restored into a boutique hotel. The hotel management allows tourists to explore the grand exteriors and public interior spaces.
  • 10 Princess Street (Loafer’s Corner), Fort Kochi. The most famous street of Fort Kochi which gives you a slice of authentic colonial European architecture. The only street that never faced any raid or demolitions in past, Princess street is a perfect destination for an evening walk with numerous western style cafes, souvenir shops, art galleries and heritage complexes.
  • VOC Gate, Fort Kochi (opposite the Parade grounds). The only remains of the office of Dutch East India Company is this large wooden gate with a monogram VOC (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie), the emblem of Dutch East India Company.
  • 11 Willingdon Island. A large man-made island made from sand dredged from the backwaters to deepen the Kochi Port. Named after Long Willingdon, the then-Viceroy of India, it houses the Kochi Port, the Indian Southern Naval Command Headquarters and many five-star hotels. Willingdon Island (Q3077892) on Wikidata Willingdon Island on Wikipedia


  • 12 Cherai Beach, North of Vypin Island (Take Route-3 bus from High Court stand). Gold beaches with big sand grains, coconut palm corridors, backwaters and historical monuments. Cherai Beach surpasses all with its swimming facilities and coconut groves. Occasional sights of dolphins is also an added attraction. This is one of the safest beaches for swimming, watersports and beach games. A very large beautiful backwater is 250 m from beach is famous for scenic beauty and boating. The best way to reach Cherai is a ferry from Fort Kochi to Vypin Island and then a local bus (₹12) to Cherai Junction. From there take an auto-rickshaw (₹20) to the beach. An alternative is taking the auto-rickshaw from the ferry for about ₹100. There are also buses from Ernakulam to Cherai Junction.
  • 13 Fort Kochi Beach, Fort Kochi. A historical beach where 1st Portuguese-Dutch war broke out in the 17th century. Once a very large beach, it has reduced to a quarter in size after the 2004 tsunami. A beautiful, small walkway is ideal for evening strolls. One can find remnants of Old Portuguese Immanuel Fort along with parts of Dutch Stormberg Fort with some cannons still kept intact. An obsolete boiler that once used for powering cranes of old port and a very large anchor of an old Portuguese ship are displayed on the walkway. Works for creating a new artificial beach is undergoing near to this old beach with help of Tsunami development funds.

Museums and galleries[edit]

  • 14 Indian Naval Maritime Museum, KJ Herschel Rd, Fort Kochi. Tu-F 9:30AM-1:30PM, 2:30-5:30PM; Sa Su 9:30AM-1:30PM, 2:30-8PM. Built by the Indian Navy, the museum has many life-size exhibits, a huge display of naval arms and ammunitions, replicas of large naval ships and personalities. One section inside a military bunker unravels India's shipbuilding prowess which took its culture to the shores of Java, Sumatra and Bali between 4 BC-11 AD. The section outdoors takes you through the Indian Navy's moments post 1947. These include the comissions of various types of ships, submarines or airfract carriers, as well as superficial details of Junaghad operation, Goa liberation, Indo-Pak conflicts of 1965 and 1971 and strategic maneuvers during Kargil war. When you visit, bear in mind that India is one of the top ten naval powers in the world. ₹200 for foreign adults, ₹50 for Indians.
  • 15 Indo-Portuguese Museum, Fort Kochi. It highlights the start of European colonisation of the Orient in the 16th century. The museum showcases the growth and decline of the Portuguese life in Kochi with focus on the growth of the Latin Church. There are also excavated ruins of the former fort wall in the basement of the museum. Indo-Portuguese Museum (Q6025543) on Wikidata Indo-Portuguese Museum on Wikipedia
  • 16 Kashi Art Gallery, Burgar St, Fort Nagar, Fort Kochi, +91 484 221 5769, . 8:30AM-7:30PM. is both an art gallery and cafe that serves light breakfasts and lunches. The gallery exhibits work by popular contemporary Indian artists.

Places of worship[edit]

Churches and synagogues[edit]

The interior of the famous Jewish Synagogue in Jew Town
St. Francis Church, Kochi
  • 17 Holy Koonan Cross Church (Pradhankuriyacha Palli), Bazaar Rd. Mattancherry. 24/7. Historic church where native Christians had once received the Bishop of Persia and declared their affinities to the Orthodox Eastern Church. Here, Malayalee Christians in the 17th century revolted against Portuguese Jesuit missionaries' attempts to convert them to the Latin church. This was the first recorded revolt against Europeans in India, forcing the Pope to recognise native Christians and establish a new church, the Syro-Malabar Church. Free.
  • 18 Jew Street and Paradesi Synagogue, Jew Town, Mattancherry. Synagogue Su-F 10AM-5PM, F afternoon and Sa only open to Jews. The synagogue was constructed in 1568 after allowing Jewish refugees from Jerusalem to settle here during the Crusades making this the Commonwealth's oldest synagogue. This is one of the very few functioning synagogues in India and the structure is unique due to influence of native Hindu-Christian architecture as well as the only synagogue having two bimahs. Many Jews lived in the area until the creation of Israel, today there is only a handful. Jew Street is a heritage zone with several antique/handicraft shops. ₹10. Paradesi Synagogue (Q3495970) on Wikidata Paradesi Synagogue on Wikipedia
  • 19 St. Francis CSI Church (CSI Pally), Church Rd, Fort Kochi (Near to Fort Kochi Beach). Daily 7AM-5:30PM. Constructed by the Portuguese in 1503 and the burial place of Vasco da Gama (his remains were later transferred to Lisbon). His tombstone can be seen inside the church. The church has a large cemetery which serves as resting grounds of many Portuguese army officials and soldiers. The church is the only Catholic Church not demolished by Dutch which was handed over to British to re-establish an Anglican church. A large war memorial is at the back, and honours the unknown soldiers who died in World War 1. Free.
  • 20 Santa Cruz Basilica, Cathedral Grounds, Fort Kochi (opposite Children's Park). Daily 7AM-5:30PM. The first European church built in Asia, by the Portuguese in 1502, also the first Cathedral of Asia and seat of second Catholic Diocese in India. The British modified the structure and added oil paintings. Today, it serves as the primary seat of the Latin church of Kerala. Pope John Paul II declared it a basilica in 1984. It houses several historical paintings, decors and artifacts. Free.


  • 21 Chembittapally Mosque, Fort Kochi. Famous for its large super-imposing structure having large shining copper domes (thus the name, which means Mosque having Copper Roofs). The compound has 3 gates; one in west which opens way to Panayapilly, second in south which opens way to Goldenmukku and Kochangadi, and the main gate in the eastern side of compound, which opens way to Angadi, which in turn leads the way to Jew Street and Mattancherry Bazaar towards the north and to Chullickal towards south. Chempittapally Mosque (Q5090642) on Wikidata Chempittapally on Wikipedia


Jain Mandir, Mattancherry
  • 22 Dharmanath Desar Jain Mandir, 5/688 Gujarathi St, Mattancherry, +91 484 222 4802. visits only from 11AM to 12:30PM. Popularly known as the Gujarati Mandir, it is one of the oldest Jain temples in India, established by the Gujarati community who settled here more than 300 years ago. This is a major Theerth (pilgrimage) for Jains and all major North Indian festivals are celebrated in a grand way. Pigeon feeding during noon, is one of the main rituals here.
  • 23 Thirumala Devaswom Temple, Mattancherry. Built by the Gowda Sarawatha Brahmins with Lord Venkateswara as the main deity. It is famous for housing the second largest brass bell in Asia. The North Gopuram is fully roofed with copper. Cochin Thirumala Devaswom (Q24944046) on Wikidata Cochin Thirumala Devaswom on Wikipedia


  • 1 Mattancherry Old Spice Market, Jewtown. One of the oldest spice markets in the country. There are nearly half dozen small markets, mostly run by Gujarati and Konkanis where you can slice of Indian market flavours.

Antiques/art works[edit]

  • Cochin Crafts Antique Shop, Jewtown (walk down from the synagogue), +91 484 2221927. Good collection of crafts and antique shops.
  • 2 Crafters Exports, Jewtown (walk down from the synagogue), +91 484 2227652. This shop has certified large collection of artifacts and heritage pieces. Its a very popular option.
  • Isidore Art Palace, Jewtown (next to the Synagogue), . Will reliably ship stuff outside India. Bargain hard.
  • 3 Yousuf Art Gallery (Galleria Synagogue Art Gallery), 776 Jew Town (walk down the street from the synagogue), +91 9847478882, +91 484 222 1330, . Showcases art work from many different local artists. Prices are reasonable, and they very often have exhibitions showing some amazing art work from the region. They feature art works and exhibitions by professional artists as well as talented emerging artists from South India.




This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under ₹750
Mid-range ₹750–3,000
Splurge Over ₹3,000


  • Cherai Beach Resort. The is the most upmarket place with rooms starting at ₹2500. The place is a set of bungalows set around inlets from the lagoon. There are quite a few insects around (a man comes around to fumigate the rooms at sunset). The place tries to be an upmarket resort but the rooms are a little too basic for that. The management of the place is also very poor.


  • 1 Brunton Boatyard, Fort Kochi Jetty, Beach Rd (Near Bus stand), +91 484 2215461. Check-in: noon. A heritage bungalow, once built as Dutch Governor's Palace, later owned by the Brunton brothers boatbuilders. Today is a premium property of CGH group. It has huge Dutch styled gardens, Kerala-Dutch style interiors, large cannons and good restaurants. ₹3,000-14,000. Brunton Boatyard - CGH Earth (Q111401835) on Wikidata
  • 2 Casino Hotel, Willingdon Island (near Kochi Port Trust Complex), +91 484 2668421, +91 484 2668001, . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. The first property of CGH established in 1957, its an iconic hotel famous for its seafood restaurants and themed room, all overlooking Cochin Harbour. ₹9,000-20,000. Casino Hotel (Q111401836) on Wikidata
  • 3 Killians Boutique Hotel, River Rd (Near harbour), +91 484 2217245, . A very well maintained and modern hotel in the heart of Fort Cochin (water treatment plants, attuned to the German Standards).
  • 4 Koder House, Tower Rd (Near Fort Kochi Beach, Opposite Beach Park), +91 484 2218485. Check-in: noon. Once home to an affluent Jewish couple, today this has is a large Jewish theme hotel. It has a good restaurant which serves authentic Kosher certified food and a very large indoor pool. ₹2,000-10,000.
  • 5 Le Maritime. Le Maritime (Q111861009) on Wikidata
  • 6 Old Lighthouse Bristow Hotel, Opposite Fort Kochi, Beach Rd (next to INS Dronarchary of Indian Navy), +91 484 3050102. This heritage property was once the residence of Sir Robert Bristow - the architect and father of modern Kochi Port. It has opulent interiors in a traditional English style and a good antique collection, along with large pools, a garden and host of other facilities.
  • Ramada Resort Kochi, Kumbalam South End, +91 484 3011100, . Check-in: 24 hr. The resort is famous for a vast maze network of pools that merges into backwaters overlooked by the balconies of well appointed cottage suites. The resort is equally famous for its pool parties, dance floors, lounge bars and sprawling gardens. ₹3,000-10,000 per night.
  • 7 Taj Malabar Resort & Spa (Near Kochi Port Trust Complex), +91 484 6643000, +91 484 2666811. Check-in: 24 hr. On the tip of Willingdon Island. Its heritage wing was built in 1935 to accommodate the visiting Princess of Wales (Elizabeth II), and later to accommodate senior officials of the Royal Navy. It is full of Victorian design & decor and was a Crown Property until its handover to the Taj Group in 1954. The tower wing is more modern. The Infinity Pool is one of the oldest swimming pools famous for its beauty. ₹9,000-31,000. Taj Malabar Resort & Spa, Cochin (Q111401834) on Wikidata
  • 8 Trident Cochin (Near Kochi Port Trust Complex), +91 484 3081000, +91 484 3081002. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. Near to Ernakulam Port Wharf, this premium property has 69 luxury rooms and 10 premium suites along with several world cuisines restaurants and a world-class spa. ₹9,000-20,000. Trident Cochin (Q111401839) on Wikidata


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