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Most visitors to Cochin, the port city on Kerala’s south-eastern coast that is often counted among its most frequented tourist spots, naturally gravitate towards Fort Kochi. Still bearing traces of its rich and eventful history as the place where the Portuguese set up the first-ever European settlement in India, in 1500, this once-fortified encampment replete with colonial-era churches, sprawling bungalows and spice warehouses converted to exhibition spaces, is steeped in a mellow, old-world charm that serves as a stark contrast to the bustle of the city beyond. …

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