Kochi’s fame is accidental. It became a prosperous port city only after the great floods of the Periyar River destroyed the port of Cranganore in 1341. During this natural calamity, nature conspired to move water and land to create the Kochi harbor, which soon took over as the new port. It didn’t take long for Kochi to turn into a flourishing trade centre for merchants from all over the world.
Spices like black pepper and cardamom have always thrived in the hills of Kerala and this became the main item of trade in this new port, attracting the Arabs, Dutch, Chinese, and Portuguese, who later went on to colonize this rich city. Today, a little bit of all these cultures can still be seen all around the city.
Kochi is made of many districts, each with a distinct flavour. Ernakulam is where all the finance and business talks happen, Mattancherry is a trading port, and Fort Kochi is a quaint village ideal for a history lesson.
The district of Fort Kochi is a mix of many worlds. The architecture is Portuguese, fishing nets are Chinese, and museums are Jewish. This quaint region is small enough to walk through during the day but its even more fun to cycle down the narrow and smooth lanes. Stop only to stock up on organic Indian spices, for cooking lessons with freshly caught fish, or a live performance of the fascinating traditional dance, Kathakali. Today, Kochi is anything but accidental.