Have you ever wanted to see Chinese fishing nets or a Dutch palace? How about an ancient synagogue? Did you know that you could see all these and a lot more in one small little town in Kerala? All you need to do is to head to the bustling port town of Fort Kochi.
The narrow roads running through the area are lined on both sides by small shops stocked to the brim with spices and seafoods. All roads lead to a Jewish town, where the buildings are brightly painted and the shops are full of interesting artefacts and trinkets. Towering above everything else is the Jewish synagogue that was constructed in 1568. Locally known as the Paradesi Synagogue, it is the only functioning Jewish place of worship in the city.
The Dutch Palace is about five minutes away from there. In here is a museum known for its exotic paintings and murals. When you visit this palace, ensure you take a look at the museum floor. It is made of a combination of charcoal, burnt coconut shells, lime, plant juices and egg whites. It might sound yucky, but this combination has ensured that the palace looks clean and sparkling, almost like polished black granite!
Once you're done exploring the various parts of the town, it's time to head to the beach and catch the sunset against the Chinese fishing nets. Legend says that it was Kublai Khan who introduced these massive nets to Kochi. And what's stranger is that the only other place where these nets are found is in China! And so there you have it, a place where you can visit wonders from across the world within a matter of a few minutes.
What are Chinese fishing nets?
Unlike other fishing nets, Chinese fishing nets are fixed structures. They are huge mechanical structures that hold giant horizontal nets. Each structure is at least 10mts high and comprises of a cantilever with an outstretched net suspended over the sea and large stones suspended from ropes act as counterweights at the other end. Each installation is operated by a team of up to six fishermen. The system is balanced in such a way that the weight of a man walking along the main beam is sufficient to cause the net to descend into the sea. The net is left in the water for a short time before it is raised by pulling the ropes. The catch is fish and crustaceans. These nets can only be lowered during high tide.
- Fort Kochi and Mattancherry are twin towns along the Arabian Sea.
- Kochi is also known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea.
- Fort Kochi in Kochi was the first European colonial settlement in India.
- From 1503 to 1663, Fort Kochi was ruled by Portugal.