It was mid-day when we arrived at the beach and there were hardly any crowds (just some young boys out to have a dip) but we loved the pristine sands and the sounds of the waves. Judging by the number of stalls at one side of the beach, I guessed that this must be a popular evening hangout both for locals and tourists in Kochi.
Cochin (now called Kochi), the historic port town in Kerala, India has been one of the most important centers of the ancient Indian spice trade and to this day is famously referred to as the spice city. This town is a wonderful mixture of heritage, culture and natural coastal beauty.
It was also formed the base of our Kerala Trip and we spent almost 24 hours here, but broken into half days (once when we landed while starting our Kerala travel and half a day before boarding our flight back to Delhi). My only regret of our week long Kerala trip is that we did not get more time to explore and experience this beautiful city. However, I am sharing my wonderful half day Kochi Tour here, with the intent that if like me, you are here for half a day, this is how you can too enjoy this wonderful town.
Kochi/Cochin is connected by air domestically and internationally via the Cochin International Airport. This is one of the major reasons that both domestic and international travelers start their Kerala trips from this city.
We also opted for Kochi as the base of our Kerala trip because of the same reasons. Just days before our departure, while searching for flight status, I realised that this city has so much more to offer, but anyhow our travel plans were already set in stone by then. But nonetheless, we had one half day to explore the city on our last day in Kerala and we made the most of it by keeping it simple – Visit Old Jewish Town, Dutch Palace and Cherai Beach , all of which were near to each other.
Old Jewish Town – This town has strong Jewish heritage and the Cochin Jews are considered to be the oldest group of Jews in India. They settled in the old kingdom of Cochin, forming their own community. This is now known as Old Jewish town. Presently, most of the Jews have migrated to Israel, however, this part of the town stands testimony to their great heritage and makes for a nostalgic walk down the Indian Jewish heritage. The town still has a functioning synagogue.
Inside the town, there are a number of shops selling knick knacks. Even if one is in no mood to buy, they do make for some good photographic memories 🙂
Dutch Palace – Mattancherry Palace, popularly known as Dutch Palace is nearby the Jewish town and can be reached within 10-15 minutes of drive. This palace was built by the Portuguese actually!! and presented to the Raja of Kochi at the time (1555 AD). It came to be known as Dutch Palace after some renovations were carried out by the Dutch during their reign.
The palace is not like the typical palaces we find in North India, with its tiled roof and traditional Kerala style Architecture. It makes for an interesting visit and open up the perspective on Palaces in India.
Cherai Beach – Cherai beach, though located far from the main Kochi town, is just 30 minuted drive from the Airport and I really insisted our driver to take us there before he dropped us at the Airport. The main reason being that the husband had never seen a beach before and I wanted him to experience it the first time with me (such a romantic though right!!).
Standing barefoot in the hot sun, looking at my own footprints in the sand, I promised myself to come back here again and revisit my own path at Kochi…. Amen!!