Cochin: Hidden Dutch gems at Vypeen 2020

It took last night quite a bit of internet research to find it: Cochim Lasarus Huys. This sign in Dutch on the Little Flower Covent U.P School in Pallipuram is the only thing left of the Lepers’ Asylum set up by the Dutch in 1728. It is a one-hour drive away from Fort Cochin on Vypeen. It was sheer luck that I made some other pictures of the school and that another sister than the one welcoming us pointed the sign out to me on another building than the old one. The first sister had pointed us to the information board on the back gate that I saw first.

It reads:

“This site was granted by the Rajah at Cochin to the Portuguese in the year 1600 for the building of a seminary. The Portuguese buildings which served also as a fortress, were occupied by the Dutch in 1661, and the present Leper Asylum was established here in 1728. The site passed into possession of the British government in 1795”.

Earlier in the morning we visited the Pallipuram Fort that was really a watch tower. It is the most ancient European building in india – About AD 1503. Conserved as a historic relic by the Government of Trancore AD 1909. It is a massive block of recently white washed heavy stone.

The people in this area live mostly from fisheries. I saw many fishing ships and even a small shipbuilding yard.


Dutch church renovated

I had the biggest surprise during the stop at a large church, the Our Lady of Snow Basilca. A service was going on in the white and blue church. An information board shared the history of the place and Vypeen Island. There I read under 1602 that the Dutch after defeating the Portuguese built a small church next to the old church and dedicated it to St. Rockey. Tipan Sultan destroyed most of the Christian places of worship in 1791.

The entry AD 1823 read: “St. Rockey church build by the Dutch was renovated”. And there it was! The small Protestant white-washed church next to the tall Catholic church. Now it is mainly used as storage space. The name is funny and non Dutch, but the front looked a lot like other Old Dutch churches I have seen.

On the way back I was dropped at David Hall, which was put together from three old Dutch houses.

I had a nice veggie burger there. Back at the homestay I got a call from Joydeep’s friend Rajat Bhattacharjee. He had cancelled my train ticket for this evening and booked me a flight to Mumbai for tomorrow at 19:15. I again stayed inside until 18:30. I then asked Karthyt my auto rickshaw driver to take me to a medical supply shop to buy sterile mouth caps and sterile hand washing bottles, especially for my ex Joke who will be traveling on Sunday. At the Vasco da Gama square there was fabulous drumming going on, followed by an intriguing shadow puppet play. I had a nice prawn curry at the The Roti at 20:00.