A hodgepodge of cultures collide on the banks of the estuary where Cochin carves out her home. Chinese fishing nets the size of skyscrapers boxy Dutch architecture and pretty Portuguese palaces point to the blend of influence here while the Raj era remnants soaring spires of old-world mosques and near-abandoned synagogues all add to the dense varied tapestry of inspirations and imprints. Founded by a prince in the 15th century Cochin immediately became a favoured anchorage for sailors and traders from every far-flung corner - even taking nearby Kerala’s crown as the world's first global port city. Now fragrant spice markets cut the hot air with cardamom and clove while antique stores groan beneath the weight of singing copper. Hit the backstreets of Fort Kochi for a deep and dreamy Ayurvedic massage marvel at the Krishna murals that adorn the bedchamber walls of the Mattancherry Palace or admire India’s one of the oldest European-built Christian churches - as you duck into the cool hues of St Francis. A day can easily meander past on a backwater cruise spreading south from Cochin and gliding down a lacy network of creeks lagoons lakes and rivers. Surrounded by swaying palms and rice paddies – you’ll experience rural India in her best dress. When daylight dwindles taste the soft spicy kick of dal roti followed by Firni – almonds apricots and sweet milk crushed with pastel green pistachios for a silky light finish.