Kerala’s Fort Kochi Neighborhood Guide

  • The shop is in an old Dutch bungalow.

    The shop is in an old Dutch bungalow.

  • Divine wine lounge is found in Malabar House.

    Divine wine lounge is found in Malabar House.

  • Breakfast at Kashi.

    Breakfast at Kashi.

  • The lush courtyard of Malabar House.

    The lush courtyard of Malabar House.

  • Rising Delhi painter Trishla Jain's line for Fabindia.

    Rising Delhi painter Trishla Jain's line for Fabindia.

  • Owners Radhika and Abishek Poddar source modern Indian products for their boutique.

    Owners Radhika and Abishek Poddar source modern Indian products for their boutique.

  • Degustation menu.

    Degustation menu.

  • A quiet Kochi street. Photo by Aleksandr Sykov

    A quiet Kochi street. Photo by Aleksandr Sykov

  • The iconic Chinese fishing nets at Fort Kochi also double also a seaside dining venue.

    The iconic Chinese fishing nets at Fort Kochi also double also a seaside dining venue.

  • Paradesi Synagogue, the oldest active synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations.

    Paradesi Synagogue, the oldest active synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations.

  • Rising Delhi painter Trishla Jain's line for Fabindia.

    Rising Delhi painter Trishla Jain's line for Fabindia.

  • Santa Cruz Basilica shares the city with Chinese traders, a Jewish synagogue, and British Raj-era houses.

    Santa Cruz Basilica shares the city with Chinese traders, a Jewish synagogue, and British Raj-era houses.

  • The colonial stylings of Old Courtyard Hotel. Photo by Thaths

    The colonial stylings of Old Courtyard Hotel. Photo by Thaths

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There are few places in India you could see enormous Chinese fishing nets, an ancient Jewish synagogue, Catholic basilicas, and British Raj-era houses within a half-hour walk of each other—but Fort Kochi, with typical unassuming Keralan charm, is happy to provide

By Zing Tsjeng

While visitors to the picturesque Indian state of Kerala often head straight for the unspoiled hill stations of Munnar or the serene backwaters of the Malabar Coast, Fort Kochi in the capital city (also known as Kochi, or Cochin) has its own historic delights. For centuries, this quiet colonial city center occupied a prime archipelago position on trading routes, with traders and explorers lured to its shores by the promise of silks and spices.

The result is an unparalleled blend of cultures and cuisines, bordered on one side by tranquil Vembanad Lake and, on the other, the vast Arabian Sea. There are few places in India you could see enormous Chinese fishing nets, an ancient Jewish synagogue, Catholic basilicas, and British Raj-era houses within a half-hour walk of each other—but Fort Kochi, with typical unassuming Keralan charm, is happy to provide. Unlike the frenetic noise and bustle of other capital cities like Delhi, everything about Fort Kochi screams laidback elegance, from its spacious, tree-lined roads to its white-walled colonial bungalows. Here are five Fort Kochi spots that offer a taste of the Keralan capital at its best.

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