Cochin: Fort on Vypeen

The Kottapuram Fort in Varakullam is the last monument on our tour. In the Dutch archives this is the Fort Cranganore on the Canoli river. As most of the forts in India it was built by the Portuguese, this one in 1523. The Dutch captured it in 1663 and reduced it drastically in size and added a weapon depot. They used it as an outhouse to guard their trade ships. The ruins of the original fort show that the walls were more than 50 centimeter thick and made of laterite. On the initiative of the Muziris Heritage Project excavations are taking place that unearthed VOC coins from 1748 and 1753 and a few  graves from which emerged a skeleton. Even in the Christmas holiday three men were working on the excavation site, with pipes. Most of the places within the fort were covered with cloth.



Excavation work going on

We were dropped at the Catholic Lady of Our Hope church near the ferry. There was a mass going on that we witnissed until it was over. It was very old fashioned, mass in Latin and sometimes English. The church secretary had organised that an elderly man was waiting for us. He was 66 – year old Louis Joachim Hendricks, from Portuguese descent, speaking in Creole. He has worked on a Dutch ship named Nederwaal.


When the mass was finished we could go to the altar, we needed to remove the mat in front of it to see the gravestone of the widow of VOC man Johan Hendrik Medeler, and not Medeler himself, as is suggested by Van der Pol (page 183).