“We are like children building a sand castle. We embellish it with beautiful shells, bits of driftwood, and pieces of colored glass. The castle is ours, off-limits to others. We’re willing to attack if others threaten to hurt it. Yet despite all our attachment, we know that the tide will inevitably come in and sweep the sand castle away. The trick is to enjoy it fully but without clinging, and when the time comes, let it dissolve back into the sea.”
I took this random candid shot at the beach at Fort Kochi. The little family looked really cosy with the baby engrossed in making sand castles while her parents looked indulging at her efforts. Reminded me of my childhood…… the first time I saw the sea……. and this vast expanse of different looking mud (sand) and of course so much water……. water as far as the eye could see……. touching the sky and the sun and all those stars…….. millions of them!!! The place was Puri in Odisha. It was the first time I saw the sea or that much water. It was a revelation. I wouldn’t let go of dad’s hands and held on tight. Living among the hills….. with two rivers that dry up by winter……. witnessing so much water and all that noise of the waves was monumental. I have never forgotten that first. Also made my first sand castle 😀 I had taken a very long time to build that one also was very meticulous about it. It was a lopsided structure looking like a hill and I had taken a lot of pain to make a tunnel through it and decorating it shells that I had collected in the beach….. It also had a garden wall and a garden. Most of the time the whole structure crumbled down only to rebuild it all over again. Writing on the sand with my newly learnt vocab and drawing crazy stuff on the sand only to see all of it wash away by the waves.
I have often tried to recapture that innocence and built many castles over the years in different beaches in different states and countries……. still that first castle that I had build in Puri remains in memory as my favorite. I can probably build better castles today but the innocence of the first one is just a memory today.
This is a quaint little church but one of the most visited one in Fort Kochi. It is simple in architecture and looks neither grand nor indulgent. But once you enter it, it transports you to a bygone era. Plus the interiors tell us a very different story from what the exteriors do in terms of its importance in history of Christianity in India. The church once housed the remains of Vasco da gama, a Portuguese navigator and will be linked to him for eternity. The plaque on the outside of the church had the following information about its history and origin.
St Francis Church was the first European church to be built in India within the oldest European settlement of fort Cochin. Presumably it owes its origin to the Franciscan friars who accompanied the Portuguese expedition in 1500 AD. Originally it is said to have been erected of wood but later rebuilt in stone and roofed with tiles by 1516 AD and dedicated to St Anthony. It remained in the order of St Francis till 1663 AD when it came under the control of the dutch who reconditioned and converted it into a protestant church. Again during 1779 AD it was renovated as indicated by a tablet fixed over its facade but continued in the possession of the dutch even after the British control over Cochin in 1795. Till it was voluntarily surrendered to the Anglican communion in 1804 AD. Presumably it was renamed after the patron saint during the later half of the 19th century. At present it has been taken over by the church of south India.
Surmounted by a bell-turret over the gable front, the church, facing west, has an impressive facade with arched entrance and windows flanked by stepped pinnacles.
Here in this church, Vasco Da Gama, the first European navigator from Portugal to India, was laid to rest in 1524 AD until his remains here were removed and taken to Portugal in 1538 AD.
The grave stones of the Portuguese and the Dutch that were removed from the floor of the nave have been refixed respectively over the northern and southern side wall of the church. The earliest Portuguese epitaph here dates back to 1562 AD while that of the dutch to 1664 AD
Some of the heraldic designs and armorial bearings on the tomb stones are of fine workmanship.
A few memorial brass plates and marble slabs erected in memory of important persons in service of the church are later additions adorning the walls.
St. Francis Church is one of the oldest European Churches in Kerala. It is a major landmark on Fort Kochi which was built in the 16th Century AD. The history of this church reflects the colonial struggle of the European powers in India from 15th to 20th centuries. The flood in Periyar during 14th century changed Kochi as a natural harbour and the marine trade become prolific along with KozhiKode and Kannur.
The arrival of Portuguese navigator Vasco Da Gama in 1493,the foreign supremacy over India. The Portuguese Commander Admiral Cabral visited Kochi in 1500 AD and Unni Ramakoil, the then Rajah of Kochi pepermittedim to trade here. In 1503 AD Alphonso Albuquerque was given permission by the Rajah to build a fort at the mouth of the river. The five Friars who accompanied Albuquerque to Kochi in 1503 AD, erected a wooden church dedicated to St. Bartholomew within the temporary fort made with mud and bamboo. Later on the church was rebuilt in stone and tile roofed. The Franciscans raised the present edifice, in the name of St. Anthony in 1516 AD. The first Portuguese navigator, Vasco da Gama’s mortal remains was buried in the church. Later on his son Pedro da Silva da Gama took his mortal remains back to Portugal in 1538 AD.
The east facing Church has an impressive frontage that reflects the typical Portuguese style. The facade with an arched opening and one of the tiers has flanking windows, a bell fry over the gabled front and steeped pinnacles on sides. From 1510 AD to 1663 AD the Portuguese officially called St Francis Church as the conventional church of the order of the St Francis of Assisi. The Dutch made changes in name and structure of this Church and did some major restoration works in 1779 AD. After the advent of the british it was the government Protestant church from 1619 – 46 AD. However, this church was known by the names St Francis only after the substantial restoration and renovation carried out by the British in 1886 – 87 AD.
This is a centrally protected monument under the control of the Archaeological Survey of India since 1923.
I took this pic at the Neemrana Towers, Fort Kochi. This is a heritage NON-hotel. A beautiful place to stay when you are at Fort Kochi. It is built around a 17th century light house. Not many hotels in Kochi would offer a chance to discover the old world charm where, sailors, travellers, traders, planters feasted and danced under chandeliers, suspended from high wooden ceilings. It is like stepping into another old world with antique furniture and antique settings but with the best air conditioning and plumbing 😀
It is a mix of the old and the new. These are the wooden stairs that lead to the reception. The cost makes it at par with budget hotels so it is affordable to one and all. More Pics Coming up