Kochi (formerly Cochin) is one of the most charming of India's cities, set picturesquely overlooking the northern reaches of Lake Vembanad where it joins with the Arabian Sea. This strategic port has been fought over by the Arabs, British, Chinese, Dutch, and Portuguese, each of which has left indelible marks on the city's history. Your sightseeing concentrates on the historic old city known as Fort Cochin, which has been given UNESCO World Heritage status. Visit the Dutch-style Mattancherry Palace (below left), now a museum, the 16th century Church of St Francis, the market area and the distinctive Chinese fishing nets that line the entrance to the harbour. Also worth a visit is the Pardesi Synagogue (below right), approached down one of Fort Cochin's narrowest streets; this last survival of the once flourishing Jewish community has a richly decorated interior with individually-painted Chinese willow-pattern floor tiles (shoes must be removed at the entrance), as well as Venetian crystal chandeliers. In your leisure time you will enjoy strolling through the attractive streets of the old city, full of restuarants, galleries and shops. Pictured below: Princess Street, Fort Cochin.
Please note that the Mattancherry Palace is closed on Fridays, and the Synagogue is closed on Saturdays.