COCHIN

Again, this trip is best taken as a two day excursion (minimum) and can be combined with the Periyar trip if you like the idea of combining the city streets of Cochin with the unspoilt countryside around Periyar.

Cochin is surprisingly rich in history and has numerous surprises for the visitor who likes to explore a little further than the average tourist. Just some of the exciting locations waiting to be explored are :-

The Chinese fishing nets - First erected between 1350 and 1450 they indicate the trading links with China which existed at that time and are a must see attraction. At first sight it can be confusing as to how they actually work but arrive at the right time of day however (which your driver will ensure you do) and you will see for yourself the ingenious way in which these strange looking contraptions actually work. Spend a while watching the fishermen's efforts in working these nets and you will probably appreciate your next fish meal a little more than previously.

Mattancherry Palace -Constructed by the Portuguese in the 1550's it was given to the then ruler of Cochin as a gesture of goodwill and in exchange for trading rights.The Palace is now a Museum with a collection of beautiful murals and Royal Artifacts.

Paradesi Synagogue - Situated in the heart of 'Jew Town' is the oldest Synagogue in India. Built in 1568 by the Jews who settled in Cochin on land given to them by the Raja, having been persecuted by the Portuguese in other parts of India. The Synagogue houses beautiful silver and gold scrolls, crystal chandeliers and a superbly crafted brass pulpit.

St Francis Church - This is one of India's earliest European churches, built by the Portuguese in the early 1500's, who called it Santo Antonio. The Graveyard was the original resting place in 1524 of Vasco da Gama until his remains were removed to Portugal 14 years later. The original gravestone still remains.

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