A perfect specimen of Portuguese architecture, St. Francis Church in Cochin is believed to be the first of its kind among the numerous European churches built in India over time. Being built at the start of the 15th century by Portuguese traders, a reflection of the colonial past of the region can be seen in its architecture. Owing to its vital historical significance, the renowned church has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cochi.
St Francis Church was just a simple wooden structure in its earliest days. However, when Portuguese viceroy Dom Francisco Almedia came up with the idea of reconstructing the church for the King of Cochin, he agreed. It culminated in the reconstruction of St. Francis Church into a stony structure in 1516.
At present, St. Francis Church is known for its sobriety and simplicity. Yet, so simple are some of the features of the church. It feels like the structure is still stuck in the bygone era. A prime example of this is the collection of wood and cloth fans on the inside, which are operated with the help of ropes.
Not only the fans, glass windows at the entrance hall greatly complement the old look of the interiors. The beautiful porticoes with stepped pinnacles, the three sectional bell towers, and the beautiful choir area are other fascinating features in the church which are sure to draw your amusement.
The Vasco da Gama connection
Vasco da Gama, a renowned explorer and the first Portuguese sailor to land in Kerala, passed away in 1524 while making his third trip to Kochi. In this church, he was laid to rest. His remains were sent back to Portugal after 14 years. His gravesite is prominently noted inside the church and has drawn visitors ever since.
Address: Head Post Office, Saint Francis Church Road Opp, Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala 682001
Visit duration: One hour
Opening hours: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (Monday to Saturday), 12.00 am to 5.00 pm (Sunday).
Entry Fee: Free
Not to miss features: The stunning fixtures and simplistic architecture
Famous for: Architecture, photography, and religion.
Best time to visit: October to February
How to reach: A public bus, auto-rickshaw or cab could be hired to reach St Francis Church, Cochin.