The city of Kochi has a district that is called Fort Kochi. This region is part of a number of other districts that are belonging to the south-west of mainland Kochi. This place in the state of Kerala, India is usually called the West Kochi or Old Kochi. Next to the district is Mattancherry.
Eventful History of Fort Kochi
During the B.C. era, the district used to be a secluded place covered with mangrove woods. The sand banks and lawns were made as the sea level went higher. This is what formed the coastal area that exists today. The old name ‘Cochin’ refers to ‘co-chin’ which means like-China, because during the 14th century, the Chinese came to the region and installed their nets. They crowded the place and it looked like a little Chinese area in Kochi.
Today, the district serves as a fishing village just like it has always been since Kerala’s pre-colonial reign. In 1503, the place that would be later called as Fort Cochin was given to the Portuguese by the then Rajah, who also gave the permission of building a fort next to the waterfront. This was to protect the commercial interests of the Portuguese. Part of the name Fort Cochin came from its current name Fort Emmanuel, although later ruined by the Dutch.
Later on, the Portuguese created a settlement area behind the fort. Along with it, a wooden church was also built, which is today called the St. Francis Church. The fort was owned by the Portuguese for 160 years. It was only in 1683 that the Dutch seized the district and destroyed a lot of their institutions, including the Catholics and convents. The Dutch ruled the area until 1795 and was later taken by the British Empire. In 1947, India gained its independence and it was the end of foreign control over the fort.
The rich history of Fort Kochi is also the reason why it a very significant landmark in Kerala, India. It has been into several reigning period by foreign control and when it finally gained its independence, many of the buildings and structures in the district were a mixture of different traditions.
Getting To the Fort
You can reach the district by ferry or by bus. You can get a ferry ride at Ernakulum Main boat jetty. It will take about 20 minutes for you to get to the fort. If you choose to go by busy, take a ride at Ernakulum town, which will take about an hour for the entire 13 km trip.
The fort is located near its larger city, Kochi. Here, you can find beautiful beaches, which is part of the coastline at the fort. You can also witness sailing ships and Chinese fishing nets scattered all over the beaches. There have been a lot of bungalow houses, which have European architecture that were built along the shoreline. There are various stalls where you can buy traditional delicacies made from fresh fish caught by the fishermen.
Fort Kochi is one of city’s most significant districts because of the history it carries. Visiting this region in the city of Kochi will open you to a diverse culture with a strong touch of the local’s strong traditions.