Kochi is a city in India’s Southwest region. Also called Cochin, the city is an amalgamation of various cultures and ethnicities due to its harbor. Throughout history, the harbor has housed ships from the Chinese, the Arabs, and various European countries. These cultures are reflected in Kochi’s rich art, architecture, and religious sites.  The city is also the “Queen of the Arabian sea”, due to its strategic importance in trade pre-dating even the Islamic era, even the Portuguese established strong trading ports. Its gentle sea breeze, its bustling art culture, and exquisite architecture make Kochi one of the places every architect must visit.

Kerala Folklore Museum 

The Folklore Museum is the only architectural museum in Kerala. It houses various stones, artifacts, wood and bronze sculptures, ancient paintings, jewelry, and more. Called an “Architectural Gallery” by the curators, it comprises mainly reconstructed elements from 25 heritage buildings all over Kerala. The whole installation – consisting mainly of wood- took 7 and a half years to complete with the efforts of over 62 carpenters who are masters in traditional carpentry. The museum is a gallery of architecture from its wooden floor to ceilings and even the roof.  

15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet1
Mughayamam, Temple_©Architectureofkerala
15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet2
Kerala Folk Museum_©www.keralafolkloremuseum.org
15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet3
Kerala Folk Museum_©TripAdvisor

Durbar Hall  

The Durbar Hall and its grounds in Kochi host various cultural activities in the city. It’s a 2-acre area in the land on which the Durbar Hall gallery resides.  For a long time this historically significant building – previously owned by the Maharaja, was left abandoned. In 2002, with the initiative of the District Tourist Promotion Council, the place was restored. Not only was the hall restored but a lot of funding went into beautifying its surroundings with green landscapes, walkways, open-air auditoriums, and other public-oriented facilities.  The hall holds beautiful pieces of art and is restored to its previous glory with its new renovations.

15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet4
Durbar Hall_©TripAdvisor
15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet5
Durbar Hall_©Fathima Hakiim via openart.in
15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet6
Durbar Hall_©www.welcometokochi

Indo Portuguese Museum 

The Indo-Portuguese museum in Kochi was established by the former Bishop of Kochi to showcase the importance and significance of Portuguese culture in Kochi, Kerala. One of the marvels in the Fort Kochi region the Museum showcases the rich heritage of the Portuguese through history and art. The museum itself is divided into five main sections- Treasure, Procession, Altar, Cathedral, and civil life. Each part is made heavily from wood and certain embellishments of silver.

15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet7
Indo Portuguese Museum_©www.myholidayhappiness.com
15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet8
Indo Portuguese Museum_©Arya Vasanth via theweek.in
15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet9
Indo Portuguese Museum_©A wandering mind

The Mattancherry Palace

The Mattancherry Palace in Kochi is known for its Dutch influence in its architecture. It is one of Kochi’s most notable architectural designs with its traditional form infused with Dutch influence. Built-in 1545, it was presented to the King of the Kochi dynasty, by the Portuguese. A double-storied palace, it is adorned by a vast collection of murals that depict great Indian epics like the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. It has iconic spacious halls and a courtyard that houses a deity of the Royal family. 

15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet10
Mattancherry Palace_©Trip Advisor
15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet11
Mattancherry Palace_©Trip Advisor
15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet12
Mattancherry Palace_©www.holidify.com

The Kerala Kathakali Center

Established in 1994, The Kerala Kathakali center is known for its traditional dance form – The Kathak- which is over 300 years old. While the dance itself is mesmerizing, the architecture of the place is also quite intricate and detailed. Taking cues from Kochi’s pre-existing culture of using wood for the interiors – the whole stage backdrop is carved intricately from traditional wood. The rustic yet cozy appearance transports one back in time as the dance unfolds. 

15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet13
Kerala Kathakali Center_©noblehousetours
15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet14
Kerala Kathakali Center_©Bhagis Photography via www.flikr.com
Kerala Kathakali Center_©www.southtourism.com

Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica  

The Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica in Kochi is only one of the total nine basilicas in the whole of Kerala. One of the finest heritage sites in Kochi, the structure stands out in its dazzling white against the canopy of trees that Kochi is scaped with. It has two spires that can be seen at a great distance, proving it to be a landmark to locals and tourists alike. It’s a structure that beautifully crafts architecture with its history and art. Following Europe’s Gothic style, it has arches and a visually impacting altar, along with its carved-out motifs, the Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica is a place one must visit.

15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet16
The Santa Cruz Cathedral_©meinbhiphotographer via www.instagram.com
15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet17
The Santa Cruz Cathedral_©meinbhiphotographer via www.instagram.com
15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet18
The Santa Cruz Cathedral_©meinbhiphotographer via www.instagram.com

The Jain Temple 

 The Jain temple in Kochi was built in 1906. It was a place for the Jains coming down from Kutch down to Alleypey for work and business. The temple follows the traditional Jain temple building style. While there not be an elongated and spacious mandapa, it still follows the stepped roof; the Vimana up to the Shikara. The monochrome feat is also followed, something every Jain temple follows- reflecting on their simple lifestyles.

15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet19
The Jain Temple_©TripAdvisor
15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet20
The Jain Temple_©TripAdvisor
15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet21
The Jain Temple_©TripAdvisor

The Shiva Temple, Ernakulam

The Shiva temple in Kochi is incredibly sacred and shows up in multiple texts in Sangam literature. The word- Eere Naal Kulam means Pond, which always has water signified the scared ponds. In 1843, the second phase of the temple – to be reconstructed under the orders of the Diwan of Kochi started. Two new entrance towers or Gopuram Mandapams were constructed, following the traditional style of Kerala architecture. The new complex was opened to the public in 1846. Along with the sacred temple pond, there is also a 200-year-old banyan tree that locals consider holy. 

15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet22
The Shiva Temple_©www.webindia123
15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet23
The Shiva Temple_©uasatish
15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet24
The Shiva Temple_©www.ernakulathappan

The Eddapally Church Complex 

The Eddapally church complex in Kochi is Asia’s largest church complex that is specifically dedicated to Saint George. Millions of people visit it every year even to date, even though it was founded in 593 AD. The Church has various sculptures and statues that elevate its ethereal design, one such statue is of St. George itself, on horseback – Stabbing a serpent under the hooves of his horse. The main altar was renovated in the 1970s and a picture of Mary was added to the church façade. It’s an octagonal-shaped church spanning over 88,000 square feet and is one of the largest churches in India to date. It blends Indian and European styles of architecture in the construction of churches. The altar- depicting both the old and new testament is surrounded by Vietnamese marble and is made of teak covered with gold foil which was imported from Italy. It has two bell towers and is the most historically significant church in India. 

15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet25
The Edappally Church Complex_©www.TripAdvisor
15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet26
The Edappally Church Complex_©www.TripAdvisor
15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet27
The Edappally Church Complex_©www.TripAdvisor

St. George Orthodox Church

St. George Orthodox Koonan Kurish Old Syrian Church in Kochi is another church dedicated to Saint George. While it may not have the grandeur of the Edappally church, this church is equally distinctive like no other structure in Kerala. The church is built out of clay, keeping to the heritage of Kerala and the use of cement and steel is completely avoided.

15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet28
St. George Orthodoc Coonan Kurdish old Syrian church_©www.TripAdvisor
15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet29
St. George Orthodoc Coonan Kurdish old Syrian church_©www.TripAdvisor
15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet30
St. George Orthodox Church_©Sucram Y via www.flikr.com

Iringole Forest Temple

Camouflaged on all four sides by the forest, this temple has a quaint and fanciful quality to it. Away from the bustling urban city life and into the depths of the forest, the temple feels peaceful and otherworldly. It is the perfect example of architecture and nature being in sync.

15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet31
Iringole Temple_© Worldwide Hindu Temples via www.facebook
15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet32
Iringole Temple_©Sreejith s via www.pinterest.com
15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet33
Iringole Temple_©Getty images

The Backyard Civilization

 While it’s easy to categorize The Backyard Civilization as another gallery, the space is the perfect artist hub. It’s a collective space for visual arts, language, theater, and sound. With various artists going in and out, the space to design and create is always thriving. 

15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet34
Backyard Civilisation_©mapio.net
15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet35
Backyard Civilisation_©BC Gallery
15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet36
Backyard Civilisation_©thescoutproject

13. Jew Town 

The Jew town in Kochi is a place filled with history, from old architecture decking the roads on either side and stores filled with handicrafts and antiques, and people moving with ease at their own pace the place feels like it has remained untouched by the fast hustle of today’s world. 

15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet37
Jew Town_©Getty Images
15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet38
Jew Town_©Getty Images
15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet39
Jew Town_©Getty Images

St. George Church, Kadamattam 

The Saint George Church in Kadamattam, Kochi is another differently built church. Mainly built of stone and roofed with terracotta, it also houses a tomb on the far left. There is a Persian cross made from a ninth-century Persian stone, the arms tipped with floral designs. Its architecture is a contrast to the other historic churches of Kochi. 

15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet40
St. George Church_©st.georgechurch
15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet41
St. George Church_©Navrang India
15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet42
St. George Church_©Wikimedia

15. The Princess Street

Princess Street in Kochi attracts tourists because of its art cafes, restaurants, and hostels. Thousands flock to this street every year. Known for its photo-centric scenes it’s a crowd favorite and one every designer must visit. 

15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet43
princess street_©TripAdvisor
15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet44
princess street_©TripAdvisor
15 Places to Visit in Kochi for Travelling Architect - Sheet45
princess street_©TripAdvisor

Citations:

Kerala folklore museum (2018). TREASURE FROM THE FORGOTTEN CENTURIES. [online].  Available at:  https://keralafolkloremuseum.org/gallery/architecture [Accessed date: 22 October 2022].

Kerala Tourism. Indo Portuguese museum. [online].  Available at:  https://www.keralatourism.org/destination/indo-portuguese-museum/336 [Accessed date: 22 October 2022].

Kerala Tourism. Mattancherry Palace. [online].  Available at:  https://www.keralatourism.org/destination/mattancherry-palace-kochi/178 [Accessed date: 22 October 2022].

Author

Jaya is a whimsical old soul. She’s passionate about architecture journalism - an amalgamation of the two things she loves most - designing and writing. She loves all forms of art, literature and mythologies from any corner of the world and from any period in time- the older the better.

Write A Comment