ROL Cruise recommends…
1. Relive the city’s tumultuous past through architecture
Visit the Santa Cruz Basilica, a heritage religious edifice representing both historical and religious significance for the Kerala region, revealing a series of incursions over recent centuries. Originally built to accommodate an influx of Portuguese missionaries, the (then) cathedral was spared the destruction that befell most Catholic buildings during the Dutch invasion of 1663. Unfortunately, the building was later destroyed by the British, but a new cathedral was commissioned in the late nineteenth century and subsequently elevated to Basilica status in 1984.
2. Take in a breathtaking performance at the Kerala Kathakali Centre
Immerse yourself in a regional treat and one of the oldest forms of theatre in the world. Combining high drama, music and elaborate make-up to produce one of the world’s most impressive forms of sacred theatre, the Kathakali dance focuses on themes based on Hindu Mythologies. The Kerala Kathakali Centre is the only theatre in the Indian state of Kerala to offer training and performances supporting regional classical arts.
3. Discover a Jewish gem in Old Cochin
In the midst of Old Cochin’s aromatic spice trading centre (‘Jew Town’, so-named after the Hindu Raja granted the Jews their own area during the Middle Ages) stands the ornate and historic Paradesi Synagogue. Constructed in 1568, its intricate interior design includes a variety of influences from across the globe. While the local Jewish population is now limited to a handful of families, the rich culture of the Cochin Jewish community prevails - with unique Hindu influences still evident in their ceremonies.
4. Marvel at the Mattancherry Palace Murals
What’s in a name, anyway? The Mattancherry Palace, originally built by the Portuguese as a gift to the King of Cochin around 1555, is also commonly referred to as the ‘Dutch Palace’. Moreover, ‘palace’ may seem somewhat of a misnomer at first glance. Rest assured – what the palace lacks in explicit grandeur, it more than makes up for in cultural richness. Take a stroll around this impressive building to witness excellent examples of Hindu temple art, notable mythological murals and exhibits of the Rajas of Cochin.
5. Absorb the city’s artistic atmosphere
Art-lovers will appreciate the bohemian feel of the Kashi Art Café and Gallery. A tropical garden café with built-in gallery space and a menu of tasty treats, there is something to whet every appetite. Meet and converse with like-minded locals and travellers in this peaceful environment. If you feel inspired to find your own picture-perfect moment, visit the giant Chinese fishing nets of Fort Kochi, or head across the water to Marine Drive in mainland Ernakulam to watch the sunset.