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.
Bishop Kureethara Rd, Kochi, Kerala, India, 682001
The Indo-Portuguese Museum is divided into five parts, each relating to the particular type of artifacts on display: altar, treasure, procession, civil life, and cathedral. Articles in its collection all bear the mark of Portuguese influence, including part of a 16th-century teak-wood altar, a 19th-century chasuble, and a processional cross made from silver and wood. It’s a popular stop on Kochi city tours and multi-day excursions.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Indo-Portuguese Museum is a must-visit for travelers with an interest in religion, history, and art.
Most of the museum is wheelchair-accessible.
Though most exhibits include descriptions in English, visiting with a guide can be helpful.
How to Get There
The Indo-Portuguese Museum is located inside the grounds of the Bishop's House in Fort Kochi, a 5-minute walk inland from the beach. Getting to Fort Kochi from mainland Ernakulam takes about half an hour by taxi without traffic; travelers can also take a ferry from the mainland to the Mattancherry Boat Jetty and catch a rickshaw over to Fort Kochi.
When to Get There
The Indo-Portuguese Museum is a year-round destination, and as it’s indoors, it’s a great option for travelers visiting during the hot (March through May) or rainy (June through October) months. Opening hours are Tuesday through Sunday 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm, and admission is free on the first Thursday of every month.
The Portuguese in India
Portugal has had a colonial presence in India since Vasco da Gama first landed on the subcontinent in 1498 and remained present to some extent for nearly five centuries. After gaining independence from Britain in 1947, India demanded that Portugal return their colonies. India eventually invaded and took back the last Portuguese strongholds in Goa, Daman, and Diu in 1961, but Portugal only formally recognized Indian control of the area in 1975.
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