Parade Ground and the VOC Gate
|Adjacent to the St Francis Church is an open ground covering an area of about four acres. This is the Parade Ground where the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British colonists used to conduct their military parades and drills. The buildings around the Parade Ground served as their defence establishments. This continued until the tricolor was hoisted at the Ground in 1947.
After Independence, Parade Ground, earlier Barraca Maidan or the barracks ground, became a sporting arena and regularly hosted cricket and football matches. Many decades back, it had been selected as the venue for the prestigious Ranji Trophy and the All India Rugby Football Tournament.
The Ground, once green and well maintained, has very little or nothing of its past glory. However, with the St Francis Church on one side and the VOC Gate and Cochin Club on the other, this historical landmark is still a picturesque sight.
The VOC Gate, facing the Parade Ground, is another landmark of Fort Kochi. Built in 1749 by the Dutch East India Company, the gate carries a monogram VOC; hence the name.