Built by the Portuguese in 1557 and presented to Raja Veera Kerala Varma of Kochi, the palace was renovated in 1663 by the Dutch.On display here are beautiful murals depicting scenes from the epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, and some of the Puranic Hindu legends. The palace also houses Dutch maps of old Kochi, royal palanquins, coronation robes of former maharajas of Kochi as well as period furniture.
Built in 1503 by Portuguese Franciscan friars, this is India’s oldest European church. This was initially built of timber and laterreconstructed in stone masonry. It was restored in 1779 by the Protestant Dutch, converted to an Anglican church by the British in 1795 and is at present governed by the Church of South India. Vasco da Gama was buried here in 1524 before his remains were moved to Lisbon, Portugal. The tombstone still remains.
One of the earliest streets to be constructed in Fort Kochi, Princess Street with its European style residences still retains its old worldcharm. The best view of this quaint street can be had from Loafer’s Corner, the traditional meeting place and hangout of the jovial fun loving people of the area.
The Maharaja of Travancore and Cochin gave shelter to the Jewish community here after the Moorish Arabs attacked them in 1524 due totheir trade monopoly. They were given an area right opposite the Maharajah’s palace, which subsequently became known as Jew Town. It was here, at the end of a narrow cobbled road that they built the Pardesi synagogue in 1568.
Constructed in 1568, this is the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth. Destroyed in a shelling during the Portuguese raidin 1662, it was rebuilt two years later by the Dutch. Known for mid 18th century hand painted, willow patterned floor tiles from Canton in China, a clock tower, Hebrew inscriptions on stone slabs, great scrolls of the Old Testament, ancient scripts on copper plates etc.
Built in the Indo-European style way back in 1667, the Bungalow gets its name from its location on the site of the Stromberg Bastion of the oldDutch Fort. The building blends beautifully into the circular structure of the bastion, has a tiled roof and a typical first floor verandah in wood along its front portion. Though it has been said that a network of secret tunnels runs beneath the bungalow, none have been found. Today, the Bungalow is the official residence of the Sub Collector.
Though built around 1695 by the Dutch East India Company, David Hall gets its name from one of its later occupants, David Koder, aJewish businessman. The Hall was originally associated with Hendrik Adriaan Van Reed Tot Drakestein, renowned Dutch commander better known for his Hortus Malabaricus, a pioneering compilation of the flora of the Malabar Coast.
This graceful building holds within itself a reflection of the colonial era. The bungalow was built on the site of the Gelderland Bastion, one of theseven bastions of the old Dutch fort. Earlier known as Kunal or Hill Bungalow, it was home to the managers of the National Bank of India during the British reign. Today, the bungalow belongs to Ram Bahadur Thakur and Company, the renowned tea trading firm.
The tomb stones here are the most authentic record of the hundreds of Europeans who left their homeland on a mission to expand their colonialempires and changed the course of history of this land. The cemetery was consecrated in 1724 and is today managed by the Church of South India.
Built in 1506 as the residence of the Portuguese Governor, the Bishop’s House stands on a little hillock near the Parade Ground. The facade of theHouse is characterised by large Gothic arches, and has a circular garden path winding up to the main entrance. The building was acquired by Dom Jos Gomes Ferreira, the 27th Bishop of the Diocese of Kochi whose jurisdiction extended over Burma, Malaya and Ceylon, in addition to India.
Believed to have been the residence of Vasco da Gama, this is one of the oldest Portuguese residences in Fort Kochi. Built in the early sixteenthcentury, Vasco House sports the typical European glass paned windows and balcony cum verandahs characteristic of the times.
This historic church was built by the Portuguese and elevated to a Cathedral by Pope Paul IV in 1558. In 1795 it fell into the hands of theBritish when they took over Kochi, and was demolished. About a hundred years later Bishop Dom Gomez Ferreira commissioned a new building at the same site in 1887. The church was proclaimed a Basilica in 1984 by Pope John Paul II.
This magnificent building constructed by Samuel S. Koder of The Cochin Electric Company in 1808 is a supreme example of the transition from colonial to Indo-European architecture. Features like verandah seats at the entrance, floor tiles set in a chess board pattern, red coloured brick like facade, carved wood furniture and a wooden bridge connecting to a separate structure across the street are all unique to this bungalow.
This charming mansion was the office of Pierce Leslie & Co., coffee merchants, founded in 1862. A representative of the Fort Kochi colonial bungalow, this building reflects Portuguese, Dutch and local influences. Characteristic features are wood panels that form the roof of the ground floor, arched doorways, carved doors and sprawling rooms. Waterfront verandahs are an added attraction.
These huge cantilevered fishing nets are the legacy of one of the first visitors to the Malabar Coast. Erected here between 1350 and 1450 AD by traders from the court of Kublai Khan, these nets are set up on teak wood and bamboo poles. The best place to watch the nets being lowered into the sea and catch being brought in is the Vasco da Gama Square, a narrow promenade that runs along the beach. The Square is an ideal place to idle, with stalls serving fresh delicious seafood, tender coconut etc.