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Fort Cochin

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Fort Cochin, the grid of venerable old streets at the northwest tip of the peninsula, is where the Portuguese erected their first walled citadel, Fort Immanuel. Only a few fragments of the former battlements remain, crumbling into the sea beside Cochin’s iconic Chinese fishing nets. But dozens of other evocative Lusitanian, Dutch and British monuments survive.

A good way to get to grips with Fort Cochin’s many-layered history is to pick up the free walking-tour maps produced by Kerala Tourism and the privately run Tourist Desk. They lead you around some of the district’s more significant landmarks, including the early eighteenth-century Dutch Cemetery, Vasco da Gama’s supposed house and several traders’ residences.

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