St. Francis Church is one of the oldest European churches in India and a historical landmark in Kochi city. It was built by the Portuguese in 1503 and witnessed the European colonial ambitions in the subcontinent. It was also the burial site of Vasco da Gama, the famous explorer who discovered the sea route from Europe to India. Visit St. Francis church during Kochi Local SIghtseeing. Here are some details that will help you plan your visit to St. Francis Church:
Location of St. Francis Church
St. Francis Church is located in Fort Kochi, a neighbourhood of Kochi city that has a rich and diverse history and culture. It is situated near the Fort Kochi Beach and the Chinese fishing nets. It is about 10 km from the mainland Kochi and can be reached by road or water.
Timing/Entry Fees St. Francis Church
St. Francis Church is open to visitors throughout the year. The timings are from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on weekdays and from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm on Sundays. There is no entry fee to visit St. Francis Church, but photography is not allowed inside the church.
Best Time to Visit St. Francis Church
The best time to visit St. Francis Church is from October to March, when the weather is pleasant and dry. The temperature ranges from 20°C to 32°C during this period. You can also enjoy various festivals and events that take place in Fort Kochi during this time, such as the Cochin Carnival, the International Film Festival of Kerala and the Biennale.
How to Reach St. Francis Church
St. Francis Church can be reached from Ernakulam by road or water. You can take a bus, taxi or auto-rickshaw from Ernakulam to Fort Kochi. The bus fare is around Rs. 15 per person and the taxi fare is around Rs. 300 per trip. You can also take a ferry from Ernakulam Jetty to Fort Kochi Jetty. The ferry fare is Rs. 4 per person and the journey takes about 20 minutes.
Things to Do/Must See St. Francis Church
St. Francis Church has many things to do and see for travellers of all interests and tastes. Here are some of the must-see attractions in St. Francis Church:
- Admire the architecture of the church, which has a lofty structure with a gabled timber framed roof covered with tiles. The church has a simple and elegant interior with wooden furniture, carvings and paintings.
- See the tombstone of Vasco da Gama, who died in Kochi in 1524 on his third visit to India. His body was originally buried in this church, but after fourteen years his remains were moved to Lisbon.
- View the old Dutch baptism and marriage register (1751 to 1804), which is preserved in the church. The register contains records of many Dutch citizens who lived in Kochi during their colonial rule.
- Visit the cenotaph in front of the church, which was built in 1920 in memory of the Kochiites who laid down their lives in World War I.
- Explore the nearby attractions such as Fort Manuel of Cochin, which is the first European fort on Indian soil; Mattancherry Palace, which is also known as the Dutch Palace; Jew Town, which is a narrow street with shops selling spices, antiques and handicrafts; Paradesi Synagogue, which is the oldest active synagogue in India; and Kerala Folklore Museum, which showcases various items related to the folk art and culture of Kerala.
Significance of St. Francis Church
St. Francis Church is significant for its historical, cultural and religious value. It is a place where you can witness the influence of various cultures and civilizations that have shaped its identity over centuries. It is also a place where you can appreciate the beauty and simplicity of an ancient church that has stood the test of time.
Q: What are some of the other churches near St. Francis Church?
A: Some of the other churches near St. Francis Church are:
Santa Cruz Basilica, which is one of the eight basilicas in Kerala and has a Gothic style architecture with stained glass windows, paintings, frescoes and sculptures.
St George Orthodox Koonan Kurish Old Syrian Church, which is one of the oldest churches in India and has a history dating back to 1653 when a group of Syrian Christians took an oath against Portuguese domination.
CSI Immanuel Cathedral, which is an Anglican cathedral that was built in 1905 and has a neo-Gothic style architecture with a bell tower and a pipe organ.
Q: What are some of the best places to stay in Fort Kochi?
A: Some of the best places to stay in Fort Kochi are:
Forte Kochi, which is a heritage and luxury boutique hotel that offers elegant rooms and suites with modern amenities and antique furniture. It also has a restaurant, a bar, a pool and a spa.
Brunton Boatyard, which is a colonial-style hotel that offers spacious rooms and suites with views of the harbour and the sea. It also has two restaurants, a bar, a pool and a library.
Old Harbour Hotel, which is a 300-year-old building that offers charming rooms and suites with balconies and garden views. It also has a restaurant, a cafe, a pool and an ayurvedic centre.
The Malabar House, which is a boutique hotel that offers stylish rooms and suites with contemporary art and design. It also has a restaurant, a bar, a pool and an art gallery.
Q: What are some of the best souvenirs to buy from Fort Kochi?
A: Some of the best souvenirs to buy from Fort Kochi are:
Spices, such as pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, that are grown in Kerala and have a rich aroma and flavour.
Antiques, such as brass lamps, wooden carvings, metal statues and jewellery boxes, that are sourced from various parts of India and have a vintage appeal.
Handicrafts, such as coir products, bamboo products, pottery items and paintings, that are made by local artisans and reflect the culture and tradition of Kerala.
Textiles, such as cotton sarees, silk scarves, handloom fabrics and kasavu mundu (white cloth with gold border), that are woven by skilled weavers and have unique patterns and colours.
St. Francis Church is a destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you are interested in history, culture, art or religion, you will find something to enjoy and appreciate in St. Francis Church. It is a place where you can experience the past and the present in harmony. St. Francis Church is a place that you should not miss when you visit Kochi.