Fort Kochi beach goes under the sea

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{image-Fort kochi beach_23082008.jpg}Kochi, Aug 23: The famous Fort Kochi beach in Kerala is no more to be seen. The beach has been submerged under the sea due to sea erosion.

The beach has been witness to the arrival of Portuguese, Dutch and the British colonial powers in India. It was once a wide beach stretching few kilometers on both the ends filled with deep-sea water but now only a part of it is left.

Residents said that earlier they had to walk long to reach the other end of the beach, but now all that is gone and only the signboard is there as a proof of its existence.

"Till last year, we used to roam around the beach, though there were very little sand area left on the beach that too till the Gunnery point. But now one can only see the name on the tourism sign board. There is nothing left of the beach here," said Abdul Nazer, a resident.

The residents lament the disappearance of the beautiful beach that has been lost to the sea mainly due to erosion and also partly because of global warming and climate change.

"Now, there is absolutely no beach. Many foreign tourists as well as domestic tourists come here and ask where the beach is and where is Fort Kochi?," said Austin Paul, President, IFCHAT-International Forum for Cultural Heritage and Tradition, Kochi.

During the pre-colonial Kerala, the place was a small fishing village. It was christened as Fort Kochi after the territory was donated by the then Raja of Kochi to the Portuguese who build a fort on the beach.

The Portuguese built Fort Emmanuel was later destroyed by the incoming Dutch colonizers and it is from the fort that the beach derived its name.

Today, only few remains of the Fort like the old Gunnery survive as a mute testimony to the turbulent past of the beach. by Juhan Samuel


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