Known since ancient times and quoted by Roman chronicles and ancient travelers, Kochi was the gateway to Kerala for many traders and was known as the centre for trade in spices. Fort Kochi is a twin city, an extension of Ernakulam Town about 12 kms away, but with an identity and history all its own, a history replete with a colonial past. The Portuguese first established themselves here and built a Fort, Fort Immanuel. The Dutch followed and then came the British. However, much of the town today had architectural influences of the Dutch with some exquisite architectural marvels. Fort Kochi the town, itself, provides for a leisurely sight away from the din and bustle of Ernakulam town. The narrow streets lined with houses with gabled roofs, the Chinese fishing nets like sentinels on the waterfront, fishermen selling the day’s catch, ferries cutting across the waters transporting people to work and Kochi’s very own residents go about the days chores quietly provide the charm of an ancient, prosperous city. Great places and monuments to visit around Kochi include the St. Francis Church, the oldest church in Kerala, the Mattancherry Palace built by the Dutch, Jew town, the Jewish Synagogue, the Chinese fishing nets on the waterfront and the Santa Cruz Basilica. Don’t miss the traditional dance performances in Fort Kochi taking place in various self styled art centers as evening sets in!