We at The Secret Garden have deep roots in the Fort Cochin community and are proud to support local businesses. Below are some suggestions.

Things to see around Kochi

In Fort Kochi

  • The Chinese Fishing Nets. Traders brought the nets over around 1400. Four men are needed to work the nets. You can buy fish down there and have it cooked for you in a nearby stall.
  • Saint Francis Church is said to be India’s oldest European built church. It was built in 1503 by Portuguese Franciscan friars. It was rebuilt in 1603. Vasco da Gama’s first tombstone is in the church (they moved his remains to Portugal).
  • Dutch Cemetery dates from 1724.
  • Santa Cruz Basilica. Built in 1506, the Basilica has very nice interiors and artefacts from different eras in Cochin.
  • The Promenade. You can walk along the river all the way from the Dutch cemetery to the Chinese fishing nets. A good place to meet the locals.
  • Antique markets
    • Take a look inside; Absolutely breathtaking collection of old and new artifacts and building parts from all over India.
    • Some of the more interesting are Heritage Arts, Crafters, and Albert’s little reasonably priced shop “Albert’s Arts Collections”
  • Secret Garden’s tailor, Sadeek, has his studio, Cotton Fields, next door to Albert’s Arts Collections.
  • Kashmiri shops. There are a lot of tourist shops. Many shops claim to sell “silver” and “pashminas”. Be aware that not everything is genuine and prices must be negotiated. Craft Palace on Synagogue Lane has promised to give fair prices to our guests. They also have a shop on Princess Street.
  • Restaurants:
    • Oceanos restaurant –  good seafood – on Elphinstone Road.
    • Dal Roti – on Lilly Street. Serves North Indian food.
    • Malabar house, top end, serves wine – on Napier Street.
    • Fort House, medium class, serves food on the pier across from the cultural show – on Calvathy Road, next to the Ferry to Ernakulam.
    • Kayees – Biryani restaurant.  In Mattancherry.
    • Kashi Art café – on Burger Street.
    • XL Bar –  a hang out with beer and snacks. On Rose Street.
    • Casa Maria – Jew Town Road in Jew Town. Simple menu, very good food for moderate prices.
    • Loafer Corner Café, Park Avenue/Princes Street. The hottest spot in town. Good cooling drinks. Try our favorite, Cucumber Mint.
    • Old Harbor Restaurant, top end, beautiful ambiance, serves wine. On Tower Road.
    • Eighth Bastions, superb fusion food, doesn´t serve alcohol.  On Napier Street.
    • Seagull, a popular fish restaurant that sells beer. On Calvathy Road.
  • Shops in Fort Cochin:
    • Fab India – on Napier Street
    • Nyra Maya – Petercelly Street, lovely hand spun and woven products of organic cotton.
    • Anokhi,  Lilly street.  Wonderful block printed garments from Rajasthan.
    • Shop and Safe, here you can buy anything you need from tonic water to toothpaste.

In Jew Town

  • Mattancherry palace. The palace is sometimes called the Dutch palace. It was built and presented to the Raja of Cochin, Veera Kerala Varma, around 1500 by the Portuguese as a gesture of good will. But more likely it was probably to secure trading privileges.  Later the Dutch renovated the palace it and hence the name.  There you can see incredibly well preserved Hindu Murals.
  • Synagogue. First built in 1568 and destroyed by the Portuguese a 100 years later and then rebuilt when the Dutch took Kochi.  Women have to wear long sleeves.

Shops in Ernakulam

  • Jaya Lakshmi, silks, sarees and ready-made garments.
  • Kaliyahan Silks, silks, sarees and ready-made garments.
  • Good Will, fashion jewlery.
  • Kadhi shop, hand spun and handwoven textiles.
  • Jokey. Good quality underwear.
  • Center Mall, local and international brands.
  • Lulu Mall, the biggest mall in Kerala, half way to airport.

It is best to take the ferry from Cochin and ask the rickshaw drivers on the other side. They know all these places.

Other things

  • Wine shop, BEVCO – on K.B. Jacobs Road, ask a rickshaw driver.
  • Massage – Ayurville an Agastya on MacKenzy Lane, ask our staff to make a reservation.
  • Beauty Saloon – Vinnie’s Beauty Salon Kitkat road.
  • Tailor- Sadeek our house tailor, gladly comes to Secret garden for orderings and fittings, or you can meet him at his studio, Cotton fields in Jew Town
  • The best dentist in town DR. Abraham with his modern and reliable clinic:
  • Glasses.  Eye and Lens Opticals, Princess Street Free. Computerized Eye Testing
  • ATM –You find them everywhere. The closest ATM is in Elphinstone Road, walk to the end, on the right, you will see the sign. Otherwise ask a rickshaw driver.