The southern state of Kerala has a network of serene backwater canals that extend more than 550 miles (900 km) and offer a glimpse of an India that’s more relaxed than the India you’ll see in big cities. Here are some options for exploring them.
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica
Bastion Street, Fort Cochin
One of the prettiest churches in Fort Kochi, Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica stands on the site of an old Portuguese church by the same name, though its current incarnation only dates back to the turn of the 20th century. Its stunning architecture and beautiful interiors, coupled with its location right in the heart of the Fort Kochi area, means it’s a popular stop on most tours of the old city. Arrive on foot or via private tuk tuk.
Things to Know Before You Go
A must-visit for art and architecture lovers.
Make sure to wear clothing that covers your knees and shoulders out of respect for local tradition.
Most of the church is wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
The basilica is located in the Fort Kochi area of Kochi, a charming and historic area filled with old Dutch buildings, many of which have been converted to boutique hotels. The area is easy to walk around and attractions are well signposted. Kochi is west of the mainland city of Ernakulam and it takes at least a half-hour to get there, depending on traffic. If not traveling independently, arrive via a tour that includes round-trip transportation.
When to Get There
Santa Cruz Basilica is a working church and thus is open throughout the year, with services on Sundays and special holidays. The high season for visiting Kochi is during the winter months (December through February) when there’s not much rainfall and temperatures are relatively cool. However, it’s also the busiest time, especially when compared to the rainy June through November season or the sweltering summer (March through May).
The Art of Antonio Moscheni
The church features a gorgeous altar decorated by Antonio Moscheni, an Italian-born painter who created frescoes in churches across Southern India as well as in Croatia and Albania. He joined the Jesuits in his mid-30s and moved to India to paint the Chapel of St. Aloysius College in Mangalore, his best-known work.
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