First off let me say we did not do Kochi justice. Kochi (formerly Cochin) needs to be seen in December or January – before it gets too hot. In late March it’s just too hot and too humid. Next time we will come in milder weather.
That said, heat and humidity have not kept scores of other explorers away from Kochi and it’s easy to see why. Saint Thomas the Apostle came here to spread the gospel, after him Arab and Chinese and Jewish traders weren’t far behind. The Portuguese, Dutch and English liked it so much they took turns running the place. All of these visitors left something behind too, so while the town is deceptively small, there’s a lot to explore here.
The most striking physical reminders of these visitors are the cantilevered Chinese Fishing nets on the north side of town. They were a gift from the Emperor of China to Kochi about 700 years ago, and folks here are still using them these days.
St. Thomas & later the Portuguese left behind a lot of converts. A majority of residents here are Christian and there are a slew of old Churches in town.
LeeAnne and I also rented bikes and rode out to “Jewtown”. Seems there’s been a Jewish community here in Kerala since the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem – that’s a long time. All that really remains of the old Jewish Princely State now is a few geriatric Jewish folks, a Synagogue, and the name of this Neighborhood on the south side of town – Jewtown. It’s a unique place where Stars of David live in equality with the (Indian) Swastika.
My only complaint is the extreme heat and the dearth of Air Conditioning. Call me a lazy tourist, but I love me some AC. Next time we’ll come in December.