Forte Kochi lies across a bridge from Cochin, away from the crazy toot-tootering synonymous with city life in India. Any hotel you choose here is surrounded by places of historical interest. They span the eons between this coastal town’s illustrious past, layered over with its colonial history. It is delicate and beautiful.
The people live hard and there is an understandable hussle for every tourist buck. Despite this, I saw no beggars for the entire time I was in Kerala. In Forte Kochi the hussle has been turned into charm.
Every shop owner is ready to convince you that the item you’ve touched is an antique of great value. They show genuine interest and surprise at your good taste, because ‘you seem to find all the best things in the store’. Smile. Charming.
Jew town has an interesting history. Jews have been living in Kerala since the 578 BCE. They fled from Jerusalem after the fall of the first city and were given asylum by the king of Cochin. They were assigned their own land. What remains of their town has been converted to streets lined with stores, where you can buy essential oils, incense, crystals, or an antique front door.
I regaled in the art, from the wood carvings, to the brass and copper sculpture and moulds, the intricate architecture and detailed reliefs to be found in temples and a personal favourite, hand woven cloth. Any artists dream.
I would swop nourishment for gastronomy any day. The food in Kerala was delicious with such a wide range that could keep Vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians, omnivores and anyone else at the table, perfectly satisfied. All eateries within a short walk or tuk-tuk ride.