Bishop House at Fort Kochi is the abode of the Catholic Bishop of Kochi diocese. It is only a short walk from Parade Ground towards the south. The structure of Bishop House bears witness to Kochi’s long colonial history.
Since the beginning of 16th century, with the presence of the Portuguese, Catholicism has been practised and preached in Kochi and its neighbouring areas. The Portuguese established their fort in Kochi in 1503 and for many subsequent decades, Catholic missionaries accompanied every Portuguese ship that traveled to Kochi.
Built in 1506, Bishop House was initially the residence of the Portuguese Governor. Half a century later, Dom Jos Gomes Ferreira, the 27th bishop of the diocese of Kochi, acquired this building and Bishop House was established on 4th February 1557. Dom Jos Gomes Ferreira’s jurisdiction at the time included not only India but Burma, Ceylon, and Malaya as well.
Successive bishops made alterations as well as additions to the building but the basic structure remains unchanged. The entrance of the building features a circular garden path from the gate to the main entrance. The house itself has many pillars and arches built in the Gothic style of architecture. The living rooms and corridors are vast. Each element of Bishop House—the size of its rooms, the wooden staircase, stained glass windows, and the marble plaque—depicts the glory and charm of the yester-years. There is a series of 36 wall paintings on the large wall of the parlour of Bishop House. These paintings depict the history of the arrival of the Portuguese, the establishment of the Catholic Church in Kerala, and the growth of the diocese. Bishop House keeps an archive of the Portuguese period in Kochi. The grounds of this site also house an Indo-Portuguese Museum which exhibits remnants and artefacts from different Catholic churches in and around Kochi. Both Bishop House and the Museum are open to visitors.
Visiting hours: 9.00 am to 1 pm; 2 pm to 6 pm. It is closed on Mondays and public holidays.
- by Kerala Tourism