St. Francis Church
Cochin, the Queen of the Arabian Sea and the Venice of the East, is situated in the state of Kerala. The oldest European church of India is the church of St. Francis at Cochin. The credit for it goes to the Portuguese who built it in 1510. This was originally built in wood, but later, the wood was replaced with stone. It was subsequently taken over and modified by both Dutch Protestants and British Anglicans. Vasco da Gama, the great Portuguese explorer, was buried here in 1524 but his body was later transferred to Lisbon.
The church is a charming simple structure, with vaulted timber ceilings, punkah (fans) and a tropically rumbling facade. Here, the service have been conducted according to the rituals of the Catholic Church (for the Portuguese), the Dutch Reform Church (for the Dutch), and the Anglican Church (for the British). Now, they are under the aegis of the Church of South India. Just south to it, is the 20th-century Santa Cruz Cathedral and to the north lies Chinese fishing nets.