Thursday, November 27, 2008


Fort Kochi is located at the entrance of the Kochi natural harbor. Opposite Fort Kochi is the scenic Vypeen Island. Due to its strategic location, Fort Kochi was under the control of the Dutch, Portuguese and the British. All of them have left a lasting impact on this place. You will feel the difference in ambience compared to other parts of Kerala.

Once a fishing village of no significance in the Kingdom of Kochi in the pre-colonial Kerala, the territory was granted to the Portuguese in 1503 by the Rajah of Kochi, who also gave them permission to build a fort near the waterfront to protect their commercial interests. The first part of the name Fort Kochi comes from this fort. Behind the fort, the Portuguese built their settlement and a wooden church, which was rebuilt in 1516 as a permanent structure and which today is known as the St Francis Church.

Fort Kochi remained a Portuguese possession for 160 years. In 1683 the Dutch captured the territory from the Portuguese, destroyed many Portuguese, particularly Catholic, institutions including convents. The Dutch held Fort Kochi as their possession for 112 years until 1795, when the British took control by defeating the Dutch. Four hundred and forty four years of foreign control of Fort Kochi ended in 1947 with the Indian independence.

A mix of old Portuguese, Dutch and British houses from these colonial periods line the streets of Fort Kochi. The landmark that causes perhaps the most public and visitor interest is a series of pre-colonial  Chinese fishing nets on the waterfront, believed to have been introduced by Chinese traders in the early 1300s. SANTA CRUZ BASCILICA and St.Francis Church are other places of importance. Sometimes you can see ships sailing so close to the shore that you can wink to the captain.


FCB said...

Hi Joseph,
Thanks for the tour and history lesson. Are there still British living there or have they all left? Great pictures, but I couldn't figure out if that large apparatus with what looked like bags or stones suspended is a fishing device or what?
God bless,

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Fred :)

That is the chinese fishing net.

Best wishes :)

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Fred :)

There is only one very old British man living in Cochin Club. There are a few Anglo Indians too.


SkyJuice said...

Hi Joseph, this is the kind of place I like to capture on lens. Places steeped in history with many well-preserved buildings pique my interest. :-)

JM said...

You have some beautiful photos of Fort Kochi! I would really like to visit the area and see it with my own eyes! Very good information too, it seems the dutch have 'beaten' us quite well! :-)

Leo said...

Very interesting, Joseph. I remember my World History classes in college touching ever so briefly on the history of India, but it was all quite intellectual, I'm afraid. It is always a bit stunning to realize that India's invaders left a cultural footprint. Thanks for the reminder.

K M F said...

very intersting

Femin Susan said...

yes! i had visited saint francis church and of course seen the chinese gorgeous is't it.But i was not informed about how was it built ? who built it? etc.
inspried by your tellent in writing I have started a new blog "my vision". I hope you visit there and give your valuable comment.thanks.....

Swarna said...

We visited all those places just this August - without a camera. Thanks for sharing the pictures.
My son would like to watch the fishing nets all day.
The whole place is a paradise - but for tell-tale marks left by indifferent tourists.

magicpolaroid said...

hi joseph, great pictures! thanx for history lesson and thanks too for sharing the pictures.

Maria said...

What an eventful history!