Wednesday, February 10, 2010

St. Francis Church , Fort kochi

Before I started writing on Kerala experiences, I wanted to introduce Kochi to all my dear friends which groomed me in my younger days since birth. But as I was under heavy urge to publish my post before it was too long, I postponed it .This place is full of history and has a rich cultural heritage Now I feel is the right time and here it goes...

Welcome to Kochi.
Kochi, is an old town, I mean the old Cochin comprising of Mattancherry and Fort Kochi. This place has retained its magical charm with out changing its landscape by modern constructions. The town is beautiful with its palatial houses built by Europeans, very old churches, Palace of Kochi Raja, also known as Dutch Palace, Jew town, the first Synagogue in India , temples and the Cochin harbour a natural port. This was once a bustling commercial centre for spices and traders from various countries visited this place. Portugese, Dutch and English established their colonies here and left an indelible mark in the history of this place. The beautiful beaches and lagoons with the famous Chinese nets definitely adds a unique charm to the place I belong to. Finally I want to add a special mention about the hospitality of Malayalis who welcomed people from various cultures including Gujarathis, Goans(Gowda Saraswaths Brahmins) Jews, and Anglo-Indians. I feel proud to be known as a Kochiite.

This time you are going to visit the famous St. Francis church in Fort Kochi. This is the first European church in India.This was built first by the Portuguese in 1498, when they landed in Kochi via Calicut. The Kochi King allowed them to construct a small shrine.When the Dutch arrived they destroyed all the places of worship except this church. Later when British captured Kochi they allowed the Dutch to retain the church but later they handed it over to Anglican Communion. This church is under the Archaelogical Survey of India and under the category of protected monument.

Vasco da Gama the Portugese explorer, died in Kochi and he was entombed here but his remains were later shifted to Portugal. We can still find the place inside the church where he was laid to rest. Religious services are still conducted in this church. There is a plaque outside the church which mentions it was renovated in 1779. There is monument in front of the church , in memory of the Kochi residents who fell during the Great war of 1914-1918 and with in a Kilometer from this church is the old Dutch cemetery.

1.St.Francis church, 2.&3 War memorial, 4. History of Church, 5&6 Inside the church, 7.&8 Beautiful chandelier, 9 Vasco da Gama, 10. Slab from his grave, 11, Another slab mounted on the wall. 12. The first resting place of Vasco da Gama


  1. Thank you Chitra special gift from a lovely person. I love your happy list. Your blog reflects it. I like this post. The St Francis Church is very interesting. I was even impressed at the size of the Norfolk Pine in back of the stone monument.
    You take pictures of interest.

  2. Thanks, Chitra.....This was an interesting post! i have passed kochi so many times, but never stopped there to see the places..... after reading this, I really have to!

  3. I had posted a comment last night but it disappeared:-(

    Congratulations Chitra!! You deserve them & more.. :-)I'm happy to be receiving one from you.Its an honour. THANK YOU!!:-))

    Didn't know about Kochi ..not this much. I've seen the coastline of Cochin from flights but yet to visit. Thanks for the virtual tour of the church. It looks majestic!

  4. Nice post chitra, didnt know so much abt kochi and the beautiful church there...loved the pics and would love to go there once...

  5. I will try to pick up the tag. Thank you so much. But I am heading out tomorrow so it may take some time.

  6. hummer(Frances),
    thanks for the comment. I was just sharing little happiness with you all.

  7. Anu,
    You would have passed thru' Ernakulam , present Kochi, this place I have mentioned is 10 kms. from EKM.Make a visit you would enjoy it.

  8. lostworld,
    Happy to know you liked the Sweet award.Interesting posts are in the offing.Keep visiting.

  9. Sushma
    You can easily spend a day in Kochi visiting places historical importance:)

  10. Mridula,
    I know you are busy,but I just wanted to share it with you. Take your own time.I am happy you are finding time to comehere and comment.

  11. congratulations!...I wanted to ask you one in Chennai I find a large water tank near every big temple, is there any special singinficance of that?

  12. Antarman,
    Tanks are an extension of the temple itself known as Teerthas. During temple festivals the deity is taken around the tank in a decorated float with chanting of mantras and then the deity is given a ritual bath. this is called theppam and conducted on the last day of the festival. After that the devotees also bathe in the tank to purify themselves. Then only the flag hoisted for the festival is brought down which marks the end of the festival.

    Priests, before entering the temple take bath in the temple tank as they have to observe certain displine while entering the sanctum.

  13. Thank you.It was an interesting read.Though I had visited Ernakulam innumerable times,I was unlucky to have missed these places.I would see them when I visit next.
    Thanks for the comments in my blog.

  14. Thank you Partha,
    Dont miss Mattancherry and F. kochi when you visit next time. You would enjoy it.

  15. I have seen this Church during Christmas season a couple of years ago. I managed to videograph a beautiful Christmas carol that was being sung when I went into the church. I don't remember seeing Vasco da Gama's image though. It seems I missed it somehow. Interestingly enough, they were selling stone sculptures of Hindu gods and goddesses outside the church and I bought a beautiful Shiva image!

    There is a nice Indo-Portuguese Museum nearby, which is amongst the few museums in Kerala where photography is allowed. They have a nice display there.

  16. Archana,
    One may miss Vasco's crypt and the photo if one is not familiar or guided properly. It is at the right side and is partially concealed by the seating arrangement. I feel they can indicate those things inside so that the tourist would not miss such things.

  17. Thanks Jayaraj. Nice you could visit my blog and comment too.

  18. I was here too, as I had already mentioned in my comment on your previous post. It is nice to see the pictures again as I relived my visit to this wonderful place. The harbour was the best thing I ever saw there. I couldn't go inside, but the view from the outside was magnificent.

    Congratulations on receiving the award. And, thanks a million for awarding it to me. I accept. Thanks for the honour and mention.

  19. Vittaldas,
    I am happy you could relive the moment spent in Kochi.You deserve the award. All the awards must be for the youngsters, our future.

  20. Simply Life,
    Thanks for dropping by and for leaving the comment.

  21. Thanks chitra ji,
    I'm feeling sorry that I haven't read this post...
    Thanks for this award,
    Feeling Good...

  22. Thanks again! I have put up the award at my blog. I will give it away in my next post.

  23. SKM and Vittaldas
    Thanks for the acknowledgment I keep visiting your blogs to chk the same.

  24. Padhu,
    Thanks for the comment. I am happy you found my post informative.

  25. hello,

    Read some where that the rabbi and family are not there anymore and that the synagogue has no Rabbi. I plan to visit India sometime and Chochis is on my list.

    Appreciate your response. Thanks

  26. Hi Anonymous
    There is no Rabbi and always the service was conducted by elders.One of my friends has thrown some light on the Kochi Synagogue , some of the details I was unaware of and I made some correction in my post too. He has done lot of research . You may even reach him and he would give you lot of inputs on the same.his e mail is read his comment also in post below which he has mentioned some corrections to what I had written earlier. It may be useful for you. . If you click list of temples on top of the page you'll see some of the religious institutions in Kochi.My friend also has started a blog on the same..He has spent quite some time with Jews community and you would find some interesting facts @


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