Day 19. Cochin

Overnight – Brunton Boatyard

Fishing Nets. This day will start with a 1-minute walk from the Brunton Boatyard to the most photogenic of Cochin’s attractions, Kerala’s massive pole mounted fishing nets. Folklore will have it that these enormous nets (or at least their design) were brought here by famed Chinese explorer Zhang He about 600 years ago. Local fishermen manipulate these massive nets with an ease that comes from centuries of generational experience.

Ownership of the net and its prized location is handed down from generation to generation. The lowering and raising of the nets, with the fishermen deftly walking up and down the angled wooden poles and manipulating them in and out of the water with thick, well-worn ropes, has a synchronicity and rhythm that is fascinating to observe.

Historic Kochi Walk. Continue exploring more with an 8-to-10-minute walk through historic Fort Kochi’s charming streets and alleys. You will be surrounded by Portuguese, Dutch and British architecture that is home to chic small cafes, boutique stores, art galleries, and a lot more.

Basilica and Church. Arrive at Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica and experience its impressive collection of colorful artworks. A 5 minute walk from here will bring you to the St. Francis Church, which was established by the Portuguese Franciscan Friars in 1503. This was the first European church built in India and its simple yet elegant façade showcases wooden doors and arched windows, while the interior boasts ornate altar decorations and intricate carvings.

Dutch Palace. After a break for lunch a 10-minute drive through Fort Kochi will bring you to the Dutch Palace. The unattractive squat building was actually built by the Portuguese in 1555 and its beauty lies inside, where the walls are covered by exquisitely carved wooden murals depicting scenes from the epic Ramayana and really ancient Puranic tales.

Jewish Synagogue. Very near the palace is the Jewish Synagogue which was built in 1568 and is still an (barely) active house of worship for the couple of remaining Jews in the area. The synagogue is closed on Fridays and Saturdays and to get to it you will walk on Jew Street, which runs through Jew Town – you will see ancient street signs with those names as you walk past the antique stores and souvenir and art outlets. A Jewish presence existed in Kochi from at least 70 A.D. and the charming synagogue was once a busy house of worship for locals.

Spice Processing. Very near Jew Town lie the inconspicuous but thriving spice processing plants and warehouses of Mattancherry. On weekdays you can watch the finest Malabar Spices as it is processed, combining time-honored techniques and state-of-the-art machinery to preserve the flavors and essential oils of the spices. Housed in colonial-era buildings, these warehouses are characterized by their red-tiled roofs, weathered walls, and wooden accents.

Optional Cooking Lesson. Optional: In the evening you are hosted by a well-known Keralan Chef and at her home. A Keralan cuisine cooking lesson will be followed by a delicious dinner, along with opportunities to learn about their daily lives and the local culture. You will be asked about this option soon after reserving your tour.

Fishing Nets. This day will start with a 1-minute walk from the Brunton Boatyard to the most photogenic of Cochin’s attractions, Kerala’s massive pole mounted fishing nets. Folklore will have it that these enormous nets (or at least their design) were brought here by famed Chinese explorer Zhang He about 600 years ago. Local fishermen manipulate these massive nets with an ease that comes from centuries of generational experience.

Ownership of the net and its prized location is handed down from generation to generation. The lowering and raising of the nets, with the fishermen deftly walking up and down the angled wooden poles and manipulating them in and out of the water with thick, well-worn ropes, has a synchronicity and rhythm that is fascinating to observe.

Historic Kochi Walk. Continue exploring more with an 8-to-10-minute walk through historic Fort Kochi’s charming streets and alleys. You will be surrounded by Portuguese, Dutch and British architecture that is home to chic small cafes, boutique stores, art galleries, and a lot more.

Basilica and Church. Arrive at Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica and experience its impressive collection of colorful artworks. A 5 minute walk from here will bring you to the St. Francis Church, which was established by the Portuguese Franciscan Friars in 1503. This was the first European church built in India and its simple yet elegant façade showcases wooden doors and arched windows, while the interior boasts ornate altar decorations and intricate carvings.

Dutch Palace. After a break for lunch a 10-minute drive through Fort Kochi will bring you to the Dutch Palace. The unattractive squat building was actually built by the Portuguese in 1555 and its beauty lies inside, where the walls are covered by exquisitely carved wooden murals depicting scenes from the epic Ramayana and really ancient Puranic tales.

Jewish Synagogue. Very near the palace is the Jewish Synagogue which was built in 1568 and is still an (barely) active house of worship for the couple of remaining Jews in the area. The synagogue is closed on Fridays and Saturdays and to get to it you will walk on Jew Street, which runs through Jew Town – you will see ancient street signs with those names as you walk past the antique stores and souvenir and art outlets. A Jewish presence existed in Kochi from at least 70 A.D. and the charming synagogue was once a busy house of worship for locals.

Spice Processing. Very near Jew Town lie the inconspicuous but thriving spice processing plants and warehouses of Mattancherry. On weekdays you can watch the finest Malabar Spices as it is processed, combining time-honored techniques and state-of-the-art machinery to preserve the flavors and essential oils of the spices. Housed in colonial-era buildings, these warehouses are characterized by their red-tiled roofs, weathered walls, and wooden accents.

Optional Cooking Lesson. Optional: In the evening you are hosted by a well-known Keralan Chef and at her home. A Keralan cuisine cooking lesson will be followed by a delicious dinner, along with opportunities to learn about their daily lives and the local culture. You will be asked about this option soon after reserving your tour.

Days 

1 - 21

Day: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21