Heritage Walking Tour of Cochin

The best way to explore Fort Cochin is on foot, but we can of course do this in a vehicle, or even on bikes meaning you get to see a little more of the city. Cochin has a mix of Dutch, Portuguese, British and Jewish influences, and a walk through the streets and along the seaside promenade allows you to glimpse into the daily lives of those who live in the city, and learn a little of the history behind this fascinating city. Begin at Vasco De Gama Square, from where you can see the traditional Chinese Fishing Nets.  You’ll then along the beach walkway, passing the remains of Fort Emmanuel, built in 1503 when the Portuguese were allowed to protect their commercial interests in the Malabar region, and so began four centuries of European influence over the city.  You’ll emerge onto the Parade Ground and visit David Hall, built in 1695 by the VOC (Dutch East India Company), and the official residence of the governor, Hendrick Adrian Van Rheede tot Drakestein, but it takes its name from famous local resident David Koder. It now houses an interesting art gallery. You’ll then turn into Dutch Cemetery Road and visit the cemetery, hearing a few stories about the lives of some of those buried there. Continue to the Bishop’s House, built in 1506, constructed for the Portuguese Governor, and now taken over by the church. You’ll then work your way back to the Parade Ground and visit the St Francis’ Church, the oldest European church in India, once the resting place of Vasco De Gama who landed in India in 1498. Walk up Rose Street, seeing Vasco House, said to the oldest colonial house in Kochi, and then walk around to the Kashi Arts Cafe for a cup of tea or coffee before walking down Burger Street and visiting Santa Cruz Basilica, built in 1505. You’ll then jump in tuk-tuks and head through Fort Cochin to Mattancherry Palace (also known as the Dutch Palace), given to the Rajah of Cochin by the Portuguese in 1555 and containing superb murals of Hindu art. Walk onto the Paradesi Synagogue, the oldest in India and founded in 1567. You’ll then finish in the bustling markets of Jew Town.

Itineraries

North and South India

Delhi - Agra - Jaipur -Udaipur - Cochin - Backwaters - Marari Beach  

You might well feel India is a once-only holiday, and as such a combination of the highlights of north and south India might be what you are looking for.

14 days from £4455 p. p.

A Family Holiday to Kerala

Cochin - Kanam Estate - Backwaters - Marari Beach  

Spices, elephants, backwaters and beaches await you on a family holiday to Kerala, packed with fascinating experiences and a tropical climate, perfect for a winter-sun family adventure.

12 days from £1715 p. p.

Kerala and the Maldives

Cochin - Munnar - Backwaters - the Maldives  

Combine the bustling and colourful markets of Cochin, wander through tea plantations and cruise the backwaters of Kerala before kicking back on the turquoise blue lagoons of the Maldives on an ultimate twin-centre holiday.

13 days from £2295 p. p.

Southern Trader: a tour of Kerala and Tamil Nadu

Chennai - Pondicherry - Tanjore - Madurai - Rajakkad - Munnar - Backwaters - Cochin  

This classic route takes you from Chennai (Madras) in Tamil Nadu, through the hills and into the Kerala to see the tea estates, backwaters and ending on the beach.

16 days from £2270 p. p.

Slow Kerala

Cochin - Munnar - Dewalokam - Lake Vembenad - Marari Beach  

Take a leisurely private tour through Kerala, exploring the Cochin, the tea plantations and sleepy villages in the rural heartlands, Lake Vembenad and the backwaters before ending on the beach.

15 days from £1895 p. p.

Classic Kerala

Cochin - Munnar - Periyar - Lake Vembenad - Backwaters - Marari Beach  

Kerala is exceptionally laid-back, and a leisurely private tour allows you to see the markets and history of Cochin, tea estates, wildlife, spice plantations, backwaters and end on the Indian Ocean.

13 days from £1595 p. p.

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