International Art Festivals
In recent times, beginning 2013, Fort Kochi has made a mark on the international art scene with the Kochi Muziris Biennale. Every two years the town hosts this exhibition of contemporary art across a variety of mediums that include film, installations, paintings, sculpture and performance arts by both Indian and international artists of repute. What is truly unique to the festival is that the exhibition is not located in a fixed venue. Instead, it sprawls over a vast area in different parts of the town and the surrounding islands, set in heritage buildings, old but disused structures, spice warehouses, cafes and an assortment of gallery spaces. This inherently dynamic quality of the festival gives people a chance to absorb the ancient character of the town as they move around it to get to various venues. The Biennale is fast becoming an attraction in its own right, bringing a new category of visitors to this ancient port town - the art lover and savant!
Buildings and Monuments
There really is so much to see in Fort Kochi for both the connoisseur of heritage and the casual visitor. Buildings are the most visible marks of colonial presence, and Fort Kochi abounds in buildings of many shades and character - from churches and cemeteries to houses, shops, schools, post offices and spice warehouses. Many of these buildings, particularly former houses, have now been turned into wondrous boutique hotels and homestays. Many of these buildings have been restored to retain their colonial soul. Some of our properties in Fort Kochi are from the colonial period and echo their historical character faithfully to this day.
Chinese Fishing Nets
The Chinese fishing nets that line the road from the jetty to the beach are also remnants of history. Though believed by many to have been brought to Kerala by ancient Chinese travellers recent research reveals that they are more likely to have been brought by Portuguese settlers from Macau, a former Portuguese colony. It is worthwhile for a first time visitor to Fort Kochi to pause awhile at these nets when they are being operated to see how they work. They symbolise a rare combination of human ingenuity, simple mechanical principles and physical strength.