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Take a look at the rich heritage & culture of Fort Kochi

Take a look at the rich heritage & culture of Fort Kochi

By Ruchi Joshi

23 Mar, 2023

While reading history books, have you ever wondered what it would feel like to watch history unfold right in front of you? Like watching a movie in 3D except you are not seated on a recliner but are a spectator of the whole ordeal? Have you ever thought about it? If you have and still want to feel the vibe of yesteryears then, my friend, Fort Kochi is the perfect place for you. Get ready to dive deep into history as the culture of Fort Kochi is super interesting to study.


Picture - Unsplash 

Here's A Little Guide To Help You Understand The Culture Of Fort Kochi Better -

A Blast From The Past


Picture - Unsplash 

When you step into Fort Kochi, from that very instant you feel like you have been drawn into a world that is poles apart from where you are coming. The cobbled streets merging into lanes whose sides are covered in greenery welcome you. Witness the European architecture of many buildings and structures still standing strong after all these years. Hear a different language each time you take a turn and get mesmerised as the quaint aesthetic of Fort Kochi nudges your dopamine and serotonin levels. You will also be left with a pang of curiosity.

The Portuguese Influence

portuguese influence

Picture - Unsplash 

After a cataclysmic flood that hit the region in AD 1341, the formerly landlocked Fort Kochi was exposed to waterways and the world of trade. Soon the foreigners set their exploring foot in Fort Kochi and because of them Chinese fishing nets, European architecture and diversity of culture are still very much a part of day-to-day living here. In the late 15th Century, with the arrival of the Portuguese, Fort Kochi became the first European township in India. Gradually they began constructing European-styled buildings, forts and churches. Being liberal in their lifestyle, they encouraged marriage with the natives. This step gave birth to vibrancy in the culture. With the permission of Maharaja of Cochin, the Portuguese built Fort Immanuel to guard their waterfront. They even built the popular St. Francis Church, one of the oldest churches in India. Both these historical monuments have European architectural styles and are extremely beautiful.

The Dutch Influence

dutch influence

Picture - Unsplash 

Fort Kochi has a strong influence of Dutch architecture and culture. In AD 1663, the Dutch seized Fort Kochi from the Portuguese. Moreover, during the Dutch era, Fort Kochi became a hub of vibrant and diverse culture with a renowned shipbuilding yard, strategic military base and became rich in commercial trade. You can find a beautiful Dutch cemetery near St. Francis Church. It is believed to be one of the oldest cemeteries in India. You can also check out Bolgatty palace which was built by the Dutch traders for their accommodation. The architecture is particularly elegant and almost dream-like.

The British Influence

british influence

Picture - Unsplash 

Similarly, after the Dutch came the British. They were the last colonial regime to rule over Fort Kochi before India got independence. In the late 1700s, the Britishers took over Fort Kochi and eventually retained the trade of spices and other items. As a matter of fact, you can still find the essence of Indo-European style in the buildings and shops especailly at Jew Town and Princess Street.*

Modern-day Fort Kochi

modern day kochi

Picture - Unsplash

It is a marvel in itself how more than 30 communities co-exist in Fort Kochi even today. With more than 16 languages spoken in the town, the fabric of its society is made from threads not only from India but the whole wide world. The famous Kerala Kathakali Center lets you into the world of classical dance form of the region with the folk and traditional music accompanying the performance. Find one of the 8 Basilicas in India right here in Fort Kochi. Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica was built by the Portuguese and has one of the finest pieces of architecture that you'll find. Another gem of a place is Paradesi Synagogue. It is one of the oldest synagogue across the commonwealth countries.

Interested in learning more such tidbits of history? So what are you waiting for? Get ready to experience the culture of Fort Kochi and more in person.

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