Attractions nearby

The Queen of Arabian Sea

Welcome to Fort Cochin and have a walking tour of the old streets of Fort Cochin. This is the ideal way to discover a historic town brimming with tales of myriad sea-faring adventures who came here for trade and then stayed on to cease their work on this impressionable land.

Walking through Fort Cochin today is a wonderful experience. An eventful history behind the town presents a picture of relaxed grace that reflects a bygone era, be part of it.

Cochin has turned into one of the finest natural harbour in the world.  Cochin became a heaven for sea-faring visitors from all over the world and became the first European township in India when the Portuguese settled here in the 15th Century.

The Dutch wrested Fort Cochin from the Portuguese in AD 1663 and later in the last phase of the colonial saga, the British took over the town in 1795. During 1660’s British Cochin peaked in stature as a prime commercial centre and its fame spread far and wide particularly as a rich trade centre, a major military base, a vibrant cultural hub, a great ship building centre, a centre for Christianity and so on. Today, centuries later, the city is home for nearly thirteen communities.

A few interesting sites are the Chinese fishing nets along the Vasco Da Gama Square, Santa Cruz Basilica, St. Francis Church, VOC Gate, Bastion Bunglow etc.. Apart from these architectural splendours, boo poles work on the principle of balance. Records say they were first set up promenade that parallels that beach, is the best place to watch the nets being lowered and raised out of the sea water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Composition of Culture

Apart from the tradition of Chinese, Arabs, Jewish, Portuguese, Dutch, British cultural heritage, many Indian linguistic groups like Gujarathi, Kutch, Marathi, Konkani, Urdu, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, etc… have their own colonies and places of worship. Vestiges of past of all their cultural traditions make this port town a unique cosmopolitan haven.

Englishmen in Cochin used to call this town “Mini England”, as the Dutch called it “Homely Holland”, and the Portuguese “Little Lisbon”.

 

Chinese Fishing Nets

The Chinese Fishing Nets are a fascinating site to all. The China Nets were introduced by the Chinese between 1350 and 1450 AD. The Nets were largely used along the banks of the rivers Ho-ang-ho and Jang -tse-Kiang. These nets, at the entrance of the harbor and along the backwaters erected with pivots of wood. A good number of Portuguese who came to Cochin from Macao in China, re-introduced China nets in Cochin and were given Portuguese names.

Walking distance from Chackupurakal to Chinese Fishing Nets is 10 minutes.

St. Francis Church

St. Francis church was the first European church to be built in India with timber. The history of this church reflects the colonial struggle of European powers in India, from 15th to 20th centuries. The Portuguese were the first European to discover the sea route to India when Vasco da  Gama landed at Calicut in 1498.

In 1503 Alphonso Albuqureque was given permission by the Rajah to build a fort at the mouth of the river which was constructed mainly of the stems of coconut trees bound with iron bands, whilst the rampart of stones and sand formed the inner defence. In 1506 Dom Francisco Almeyda, the viceroy was permitted by the Cochin Rajah to build a new city of mortar and stone . The buildings were roofed with tiles, a privilege hitherto confined to the palace of the local prince and to the temples in which he performed  puja. End of 1524 Vasco da Gama returned to Cochin were he died on Christmas Eve of that year and was buried in this church.
The church remained under the Order of St. Francis until the arrival of the Dutch in 1663.

Walking distance from Chackupurakal to St. Francis church is 10 minutes.

The Dutch Cemetery

The tomb stones here are the most authentic record of hundreds of Europeans who left the homeland on a machine to expand the colonial empires and change the course of history of this land. The cemetery was consecrated in 1724 and is today managed by the Church of South India.

Walking distance from Chackupurakal to Dutch Cemetery is 12 minutes.

Santa Cruz Basilica

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 the British when they took over Cochin 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.

Walking distance from Chackupurakal to Santa Cruz Basilica is 5 minutes.

Indo Portuguese Museum

The Indo Portuguese museum situated in Fort Cochin throws light on the strong Portuguese influence in both the art and the architecture of the region. The museum is the outcome of the untiring efforts of the late Dr. Joseph Kureethara, Bishop of Cochin. Driven by sheer commitment to protect the rich heritage of the diocese, the Bishop established the Indo Portuguese museum to preserve some of the invaluable collections for posterity . The museum is divided into five main sections , according to the nature of items displayed in each section. They are namely Altar, Treasure, Procession, Civil Life and Cathedral.

Walking distance from Chackupurakal to Indo Portuguese museum is 7 minutes.

Dutch Palace (Mattanchery Palace)

Built by the Portuguese in 1557 and presented to Raja Veera Keralavarma of Cochin, the place 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 place also houses Dutch maps of old Cochin, royal palanquins, coronation robes of former Maharajas of Cochin as well as period furniture.

Open 10 am to 5 pm, Closed on Friday
Walking distance from Chackupurakal to Dutch Palace is 25 minutes.

Synagogue

Constructed in 1568, this is the oldest Synagogue in the common wealth. Destroyed in a shelling during the Portuguese raid in 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 in which the grants of privilege made by the erstwhile Cochin rulers were recorded.

Open 10 am to 12 pm ……….03 pm to 05 pm, Closed on Saturdays and Jewish Holidays. Walking distance from Chackupurakal to Synagogue is 25 minutes.

Jain Temple

History says that the Jains since centuries from Kutch and Sourastra used to come to Cochin for business. However they started residing with families since about 150 to 200 years. The first Jain temple in Mattancherry  was constructed in Vikram Samvat 1960 (1940 AD) and the main idol installed is of Bhagawan Shri Dharmanath the 15th Jain Tirthankar.Bhagwan Mahavir is the 24th Jain Thirthankar. Jainism believes in equality of man and does not recognize untouchability. It is open to all. The measure of a man is not his  high or low birth, but this acquisition of good and noble virtues. Main festival known as “Paryushan”is an eight day festival and is celebrated during August-September every year.

Walking distance from Chackupurakal to Jain Temple is 15 minutes.

Thirumala Devaswom Temple

This is one of the temples of Gowda Saraswatha Brahmins.  The presiding deity is Lord Venkatesha. Two main festivals in this temple which are celebrated for eight days each during March-April and November-December respectively every year.  The festival is rounded up with the Aarattu  procession when the Chakra Snanam – the sacred bath is conducted in the temple pool. The main specialty  of this temple is that it has the second largest brass Bell in Asia.

Walking distance from Chackupurakal to Thirumala Devoswam Temple is 10 minutes.

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