Known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, serene Kochi on India’s south-western coast has been drawing traders, explorers and travellers to its shores for over 600 years.
Formerly the port of Cochin, Kochi grew to prominence as an outlet for the spice trade in the 14th century, and is most famous for the iconic-cantilevered Chinese fishing nets that billow out across its harbour. This ancient trading centre is a melting pot of cultures and religions, evident in the town’s buildings, which range from the oldest synagogue in the British Commonwealth to the austere Mattancherry Palace, built by the Dutch but influenced by the Portuguese.
A trading port since at least Roman times, Cochin was on the main trade route between Europe and China. Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and British followed the sea route to Cochin and left their impressions here. With its wealth of historical associations, the fascinating city perfectly reflects the eclecticism of Kerala. Discover the oldest church in India; winding streets crammed with 500-year-old Portuguese houses; cantilevered Chinese fishing nets; a Jewish community whose roots date back to the diaspora; a 16th century synagogue; and a palace built by the Portuguese and given to the Raja of Cochin.