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Down The Cultural Memory Lane

A common dilemma on every relatively less packed and planned trip is the last day blues. With the last day of such trips usually kept free, the time to dwell on forlorn thoughts just grows- kinda like mushrooms. What’s the best way to spend the rest of the time, you ask yourself. With all the packing done, every kind of souvenir collected and all local food tired out, bought and packed for family and friends back home, options appear thin. The heavy feeling sits on you as you realize that all those fun days you’ve had will soon cascade into a pile of memories; they’d become, in a way, history- however cherished. Well, here’s how I spend my last days in any city- a visit to the local Museum(s). With all the memories you’ll carry from your personal interaction with the city, it is only right to also take back some memories of the culture and civilization of the entire city as an existence.

Kochi is one such place that thrives as much in the present as in its historical heritage. While Fort Kochi in its entirety is a delight- from antique shops and sea food outlets to mausoleums and Churches- the Indo-Portuguese Museum is one of the stellar attractions.
Situated within the compound of the Bishop’s house, near Parade Ground in Fort Kochi, the Museum is divided into five sections- Altar, Treasure, Procession, Civil life and the Cathedral. Home to some of the most spectacular artefacts the museum showcases the growth and decline of the Portuguese life in Kochi with focus on the growth of the Latin Church.

Some of the best displays include a piece of the altar made in teak wood from the Church of Our Lady of Hope, a chasuble from Bishop’s House and the Indo-Portuguese Monstrance, from The Church of Our Lady of Hope. My favourite and the most beautiful is perhaps the grand Processional Cross- a combination of silver and wood from Santa Cruz Cathedral, Fort Kochi. In the very same display case are numerous smaller but equally exquisite and beautifully crafted crosses- from centuries back- some bejewelled, some stunning it their simplicity. Another one of my favourites is the enormous leather bound Bible that I would feign possesses if I could. Besides these the Coat of Arms of the Franciscans is hugely famous and popular among visitors and the basement which houses the remnants of the former fort wall.

A visit to Kochi is incomplete without a journey through its history- whether it is the city’s development or it’s engagements with foreign culture. The Indo-Portuguese Museum is crucial to the understanding of the Portuguese Christian heritage and culture that flourishes and influences Kochi to this day. With the scenic beauty around the Bishop’s house, the brilliantly managed display of artefacts and the photo-galleries that tell a thousand stories all at once- this museum remains one of the most recommended of tourist spots.

Entry fees:
Indian Adults- Rs. 10

Foreigners- Rs. 25

Children- Rs. 5

Open from: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed on Mondays and all Public Holidays. 1st Thursday of every month- ENTRY FREE!

Contributed by Ateendriya

Ateendriya A literature kid at Lady Shri Ram, DU Combine crazy geek with a yen for writing and photography and you'll get something resembling me. A dabbler by nature it feels at times that I have more interests than I can keep up with. Literature is what I professionally follow- mostly because of my love for writing, partly because it gives me enough time for my dabbling tendencies. Travel writing is one of those dream jobs that I one day wish to make a career out of, because it combines two of my best interests. I have an undying love for gadgets, books and languages- self trained in basic Japanese and bits of Korean, and on the side, I'm an avid science hobbyist- from quantum physics to the genome project- just about everything interests me. Writing however, like I've enough emphasized, remains the uncontested first and strongest passion- fiction, non-fiction or words dripping in sarcasm - it's all me.