Where History Meets Modernity: How To Spend 48 Hours In Kochi

Kochi's complicated history warrants a lengthier stay, even if you spend 48 hours in the city, you can bask in its history and culture.

by Tejashee Kashyap
Where History Meets Modernity: How To Spend 48 Hours In Kochi

Kerala’s diverse geography is a sight to behold. At the heart of Kerala’s cultural canvas lies Kochi, a city that seamlessly blends its colonial past with a vibrant present. From its ancient spice trade roots to the vibrant contemporary art scene, Kochi has become a magnet for travellers seeking an immersive experience. While you’re here in Kochi, it becomes evident that the city’s allure lies not just in its landmarks but in the warmth of its people, the richness of its culture, and the authenticity of its offerings. Although its complicated history warrants a lengthier stay, if you spend 48 hours in the city,  you can bask in its history and cultural blending.

Here’s How To Get The Most Out Of Kochi In 48 Hours

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If you’re flying from Delhi, multiple airlines like Vistara, Air India, IndiGo operate daily flights from the capital to Kochi. The flight duration from Delhi to Kochi is approximately 3 to 4 hours. However, it’s best to take a morning flight and make the most of your holiday in Kochi. And start your exploration in the afternoon time, say 1-2 pm.

Day 1:

Start With Fort Kochi


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A bit of a misnomer, Fort Kochi currently refers to the historic area of Kochi rather than the old Portuguese fort, which is no longer standing. Discovering the various influences that have shaped this area can be done by taking a stroll around the sector.

Begin your exploration at the iconic Fort Kochi Beach. It’s a picturesque spot to enjoy a leisurely stroll, witness the Chinese Fishing Nets in action, and absorb the coastal vibes. Since the 1400s, they have existed in one form or another. You can see how fisherman hauled their catch here for generations, even though they are largely preserved for tourist photo ops these days.

Visit St. Francis Church, the oldest European church in India. It has a fascinating history and is known for its simple yet captivating architecture. Built by the Portuguese in 1503, it was reconstructed by the Dutch as a Protestant church and then dedicated as an Anglican church by the English. Vasco da Gama was buried here before having his bones returned to Lisbon.

Go For A Kochi-Special Lunch

Kochi’s culinary scene is a fusion of traditional Kerala flavours and international influences. The use of coconut, curry leaves, and an array of spices characterises its dishes. Head to the East Indies restaurant at Eighth Bastion by CGH Earth. The place offers a fusion menu including forward-thinking dishes that trace the route of the Dutch explorers in pursuit of spices. Consider cuisines from Surat, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malabar, and Bengal; anywhere the Dutch have left their mark, these traditional meals are served in a gourmet manner using modern techniques.

Go for their special Masala Grilled Calamari, Kozhi Pollichathu, and pomfret curry and ask to be served with kalappams. Once you dip a piece of kalappam into the rich sauce that is flavoured with spices and balanced with curry leaves, you will reach a state of ecstasy.

After a flavourful lunch like that, catch up on some R&R.

Evening Dance & Drama Time

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Whether it’s the classical dance form of Kathakali or the rhythmic beats of Theyyam, Kerala’s cultural vibrancy is a testament to its pluralistic ethos. The Kerala Kathakali Centre is a cultural institution located in Fort Kochi, Kerala, dedicated to the promotion and preservation of traditional art forms. Performances typically include traditional stories and mythological narratives, and the artists use elaborate costumes and makeup to portray characters from Hindu epics. At 5 p.m., there is a demo where performers walk over how the complicated motions are executed, how makeup is applied, and what the characters and storylines are. At 6 p.m., there is a riveting performance.

Kochi does have a relatively laid-back ambience compared to bustling metropolises, most tourist areas close down soon by night.

Image Credits: Tejashee Kashyap

Day 2:

Delve Into Mattancherry Life

Image Credits: Tejashee Kashyap

Mattancherry retains remnants of its former commerce era. The streets are buzzing with activity and exude an enticing smell of spices. These bungalows from the European era, some of which have been converted into cafes and restaurants, still stand with their terracotta roof tiles and butter-yellow or mint-green façades. Stories of the past are haunted by some of these ancient, locked godowns that haven’t been opened since the pre-colonial period. Nevertheless, art enthusiasts now use their walls as canvases.

The syncretic culture of Kochi is exemplified in places like Jew Town, where the Paradesi Synagogue and the Mattancherry Palace coexist with spice markets and antique shops. This confluence of cultures has given rise to a unique atmosphere where history, tradition, and modernity intersect.

Also Read: Discover Old World Charm At These 7 Artsy Boutique Hotels In Kochi

Start early by 11 am. Make a stop at the opulent Mattancherry Palace. The palace’s sloping rooves and exquisite wood-carved ceilings demonstrate how Keralan and colonial styles coexist.  Next, explore the historic Jew Town area, visit the Paradesi Synagogue, and browse through the antique shops, spice markets, and vibrant streets.

Image Credits: Tejashee Kashyap

Have Light Bites In Jew Town

Start at Mocha Art Café, a 300-year-old spice warehouse. When you’re finished, take a few moments to look at the exhibits by local artists that grace the brick walls. Next is Classic Art Cafe, a relaxing space to unwind after exploring Jew Town. Jew Town’s charm lies in its narrow lanes and hidden treasures. Take the time to explore the area, and you might discover unique shops and cafes not listed here.

What’s like discovering a new place if you do not pick up a few souvenirs? Jew Town offers a variety of antiques, curios, and artefacts. It’s a treasure trove for those interested in collecting unique items with historical value. Stroll around the stores and pick a few antiques or so. Known for its extensive collection of antiques, including furniture, sculptures, and decorative items, Heritage Arts Antique Store is a place where history comes to life.

While you’re in Mattancherry side, stop at a locally crafted perfume shop. Kochi has a rich tradition of perfume making, drawing on a wealth of aromatic herbs, spices, and flowers. These shops often specialise in natural fragrances, offering a variety of scents. They may share insights into the traditional techniques and ingredients used. Indulge in creating some custom blends. The experience makes for a more authentic and enriching experience.

Go For A Sunset Cruise & Beach Walk

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The scenic backwaters and waterfront areas provide serene spots for relaxation in the evenings. Consider taking a boat ride from the historic Fort Kochi area to witness the scenic beauty and catch glimpses of local life along the water. This route often takes you past iconic landmarks such as the Chinese Fishing Nets and offers stunning views of the coastline.

As the day fades into the golden sunset, it’s time to take in the spectacular sights of the shoreline. Go sailing across the huge Arabian Sea or the backwaters against the brilliant hues of the sunset sun. The gentle waves of the sea provide a calming atmosphere. The sight of the nets silhouetted against the setting sun creates an enthralling visual spectacle. The changing colours and reflections on the water make for fantastic photo opportunities.

Ending your day with a beach walk in Fort Kochi is a delightful way to soak in the coastal charm. An evening stroll can be equally enchanting as you witness the changing colours of the sky during sunset. The soft sands, gentle waves, and the view of the Arabian Sea create a serene atmosphere. Find a comfortable spot along the beach to sit and gorge on some street food. The changing colours of the sky over the Arabian Sea create a breathtaking view. If any art galleries or cultural spaces along Princess Street are open in the evening, consider exploring them.

Image Credits: Tejashee Kashyap

Day 3:

Not just the Chinese fishing nets and churches, the lanes within the Fort Kochi quarter genuinely represent the city’s artistic soul: one of warmth, inventiveness, and cultural mixing. Your eyes will be charmed by visions of bright street art, murals, and graffiti, ranging from local customs to societal challenges and modern subjects. The colonial-era structures’ architecture is a fusion of European and traditional Kerala influences.

Visit The Art Cafes With An Indulgent Brunch


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While the Kochi-Muziris Biennale has established the city as an art centre, the cafes also serve as art galleries, providing a venue for both emerging and established artists. You can enjoy a blend of creative expressions, delectable treats, and a relaxed vibe. Check for ongoing art exhibitions, performances, or cultural events at these cafes. Many of them host regular events to promote local artists and creatives.

Make a stop at Lila Art Cafe. The building, which goes back to the Portuguese era in Kochi, is currently a blend of an art museum and a laid-back cafe. It has a luxurious menu that also includes fusion and creative dishes inspired by Kerala. Another srop is definitely David Hall Gallery & Cafe. This renowned location is a 17th-century Dutch colonial villa that has been refurbished and now houses a contemporary art gallery and a cafe. Banana bread French toast, grilled chicken, Caesar salad, clay-oven baked fresh pizzas, cheese tarts, and iced tea or seasonal juices are all must-order items.

Image Credits: Tejashee Kashyap

In essence, Kerala and Kochi beckon travellers with open arms, promising not just a journey through picturesque landscapes but an immersion into a culture that values tradition to evolve in the embrace of modernity. So, head to Kochi and experience its myriad facets in just 48 hours!

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