Kochi (colonial name Cochin) is a vibrant city situated on the south-west coast of the Indian peninsula in the breathtakingly scenic and prosperous state of Kerala, hailed as 'God's Own Country'. Its strategic importance over the centuries is underlined by the sobriquet Queen of the Arabian Sea. Informally, Cochin is also referred to as the Gateway to Kerala. From time immemorial, the Arabs, British, Chinese, Dutch, and Portuguese have left indelible marks on the history and development of Cochin.
Over the years, Cochin has emerged as the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala and is perhaps the second most important city on the west coast of India (after Mumbai/Bombay). Cochin is proud of its world class port and international airport that link it to many major cities worldwide.
Tea Plantation This lovely seaside city is flanked by the Western Ghats on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west. Its proximity to the equator, the sea and the mountains provide a rich experience of a moderate equatorial climate.
Strictly speaking, Cochin is a small town. But, Cochin has outgrown its original bounds and is now the general name given to much of the region adjoining the original town, which now includes Cochin, Fort Kochi, Mattanchery, Ernakulam and many other nearby towns and villages. Cochin is situated in Ernakulam district in the state of Kerala. Ernakulam is also the name of a town - the administrative capital of Ernakulam district - but, for all practical purposes Ernakulam and Cochin, generally, refer to the same place.
Kochi is the arguably the ideal starting point for exploring the unfathomable diversity and beauty of Kerala, rated in the top three tourist destinations by the World Travel & Tourism Council and featured in National Geographic Traveler's '50 greatest places of a lifetime'.
PLACES TO VISIT
Chinese Fishing nets at Fort KochiFort Kochi is situated about 13 km from Ernakulam and is famous for Chinese fishing nets, picturesque beaches and architectural style of the buildings. European style is clearly evident and that makes this small town stands apart from other towns in Kerala.
Jew Synagogue and Jew Town:
Jewish Synagogue Kochi Jew synagogue (Paradesi Synagogue) is built in 1568 and is one of the oldest active synagogues. This synagogue is located in the old part of Mattenchery Town in Kochi known as Jew Town.
Dutch Palace, Mattenchery:
The Dutch Palace (also known as Mattenchery Palace) is very near to the Jew town. It was built in 1555 A.D by the Portuguese and presented to Veera Kerala Varma, Raja of Kochi. It has a huge collection of Kerala Temple murals, portraits and exhibits of the Rajas of Kochi.
With coconut trees lining the pellucid lake waters for kilometers at a stretch …the backwaters of Cochin proffer one of the most enchanting sights to tourists. Apart from the numerous ancient monuments, like the Jewish Synagogue, Fort Kochi and the Mattancherry Palace, built during the pre-British times, the backwaters in Kochi city of Kerala is just another reason why hundreds of tourists flock to this beautiful port city the whole year round.
It is a popular meeting jaunt for localites. This scenic pathway is built facing the Vembanad lake. The walkway has two recently built bridges; the Rainbow bridge and the Chinese Fishing Net Bridge. The sunset view from here is simply awesome!
St Francis Church:
St Francis Xavier's Church at Fort Kochi was built in the year 1503, by the Portuguese traders. They came here with Admiral Pedro Alvarez de Cabral, via the same route taken by the legendary Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, who landed at Calicut in 1498.
Located in Vypin Island, Kochi, Cherai Beach is one of the beautiful beaches facing the Arabian sea. It is about 25 Kms from Cochin and is an ideal place to unwind and enjoy the long sandy beach!
Hill Palace Museum:
Hill palace museum is the Kerala’s first heritage museum and is also the largest archaeological museum in Kerala. It is situated near Tripunithura, Kochi. It was built in 1865 and was the administrative headquarters of Kochi Rajas.
Pareekshith Thampuran Museum:
Pareekshith Thampuran Museum is a very good archeological museum located near the Shiva temple, on the Durbar Hall Road at Ernakulam. This museum boasts of an impressive collection of 19th century paintings, ancient monuments and coins, scriptures made in stone and Plaster of Paris, murals as well as memorabilia belonging to the Cochin royal family.
This palace was built by Dutch in 1744 and is one of the oldest existing Dutch palaces outside Holland. Bolgatty palace is located in Bolgatty Island, Kochi. It is now converted into a heritage resort by the state.
Kodanad Elephant Training Center:
Kodanad is a rural village near Cochin which is around 42 Kms from Ernakulam town. This place is famous for the elephant training centre established in 1950. Because of the Indian government ban to elephant capture, Kodanad is now just a rescue training centre for stranded baby elephants and wounded elephants.
Willingdon Island is a man-made island created in 1933 under the supervision of Sir Robert Bristow. Up until recently Cochin airport, Sea port and the railway terminus (Cochin Harbor Terminus) were functioning on this island. Now, the Cochin Port Trust and the headquarters of the Southern Naval Command function here. Airport continues to function as naval aviation wing. There are beautiful walkways and jetty’s on this island. My favorite is the “Embarkation Jetty”. It has a walkway and a jetty close by. A good place to enjoy a leisure walk over evening sun!
HOW TO GET HERE
Cochin is well linked by air to Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and other metropolitan cities of India.
By rail as well, Cochin is connected to various other cities of South India and the rest part of India.
Cochin is also well connected by road to various tourist cities in the south. A leisurely walk through the city is the best way to discover historic Cochin.