One of the historical landmarks of Fort Cochin, is an open ground covering an area of about four acres. A garrison square flanked by barracks, this is the Parade Ground in Fort Kochi, formerly called Barraca Maidan,(Barraca meaning barracks in Portuguese). With the renowned St Francis Church standing tall at one end of the ground, and with only green hedges separating it from the Cochin Gymkhana, the Parade `maidan' was a scene out of an English setting.
The rain trees looming as virtual trees of life bordered the green. The Portuguese, the Dutch and the British colonists used to conduct their military parades and drills here. The buildings around the Parade Ground served as their defense establishments. This continued until the tricolor flag was hoisted at the Ground in 1947.
Today, the largest open ground in Fort Kochi, the Parade Ground is a an arena for sports and social gatherings. The renowned Cochin Carnival, concludes at the Parade ground. It is a prominent landmark of Fort Cochin, often reminding about the colonial past of this wonderful place. There is an old Banyan tree at the north east corner of the ground, near St. Francis church. This huge tree and the big trees bordering the ground, provide a green roof from the hot sun, for tourists and locals alike.