5. Kochi: Private Sightseeing Tuk-Tuk Tour
The adventure begins with pickup from your accommodation in your very own private tuk-tuk. Arrive at the first stop of the day and marvel at the city’s iconic Chinese fishing nets which were introduced by traders in the 14th century. Take a stroll along the shore to see the local fishermen who still use these nets today, then head to St. Francis Church, the oldest European church in India. The church was constructed in 1503 by Portuguese friars, and is now the burial place of Vasco da Gama, a Portuguese explorer who led the first ships that sailed directly from Europe to India.
Continue the tour to the Santa Cruz Basilica, which is one of the largest and most impressive churches in India. Boasting two soaring spires and a bright, white-washed exterior, the church is a real treat for the eyes. Head inside and find the walls decorated with stunning frescoes, intricate murals, and large paintings that depict the life of Jesus. Hop back in the tuk-tuk and make your way to Mattancherry Palace, which was also built by the Portuguese in the 1500s. The palace is famous for its breathtaking murals which portray classic Hindu tales such as Ramanaya and Mahabharata.
Later, take a trip to the Paradesi Synagogue, the oldest active synagogue in South India. Admire the synagogue's ornate brass pulpit, Belgian glass chandeliers, and hand-painted Chinese porcelain floor tiles. From the synagogue, wander around the neighboring Jew Town, a central location for the spice trade. As you peruse the stalls, soak up the vibrant atmosphere of locals going about their day and be enveloped by the aroma of ginger, cardamom, turmeric, and cloves. At the end of an unforgettable experience, sit back and relax in the tuk-tuk on the return journey to your accommodation.