One of the most well known port cities in India, Kochi which was once known as Cochin is a destination to reckon with. It lies on the western coast of India by the Arabian Sea and the second largest city in Kerala. It is fondly called as the ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’ as it was an important spice trading colony since the early 14th century. The Southern Naval Command of India is situated here. Today, it is a bustling metropolitan and hosts the highest number of national and international tourists in Kerala.
Kochi was first talked about in the 15th century, in the books written by a Chinese traveller Ma Huan and Italian voyager Niccolo da Conti. However, it is believed that Kochi existed in as early as the 12th century. In the 16th century came the Portuguese and formed their first settlement at Kochi in India. The Dutch followed suit and soon they had Kochi at their helm which later went to the British.
Kochi is a culturally diverse city as most of India is. People from different communities like Marathi, Malayali, Gujrati, Konkani, Punjabi, Bihari and Jews inhabit Kochi peacefully. Festivals from all the religions are celebrated here with great fervour. The food being drenched in coconut and spice, is very tasty and typically Keralan. North Indian and Chinese cuisine are also enough popular. Apart from food, the Kochiites- as the locals are called show great interest in sports like football and cricket.
Kathakali, one of the oldest theatre arts, is a dance form that originated in the south India. It is popular among the locals and tourists in Kerala. The state has many important Kathakali dance centers in Kochi which render training as well as organize dance recitals. The dance is presented in a group, the theme of the dance is based on different Hindu Mythologies, epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana. The makeup that a Kathakali artist puts on is very elaborate. Kathakali is an integral part of the life in Kochi.
Tourists throng places like the Dutch Palace, the Hill Palace Museum, and the Chinese fishing nets, the Santacruz Basilica, the Fort Kochi beach, the Jewish Synagogue and the Princess Street. The Dutch Palace is located at a distance of just 10 kilometres from Kochi. It was constructed by the Portuguese in the honour of the King of Kochi- Veera Kerala Varma. Subsequently, various renovations were made by the Kings of Kochi, giving it a Hindu feel.
The Hill Palace Museum was once the residence of the royals of Kochi. It has now been converted into a huge museum. There is also a small zoo in the premise. There are spectacular paintings from the collection of the royal families of Kochi and Travancore. The Hill Palace Museum is the largest museum in southern India and it has more than 500 artefacts on display in 16 different galleries. The royal crowns and crown jewels are what can catch your attention. There are strict security rules in this area. There are five gardens and two resting grounds in the building premise and also a small deer park here. Apart from the Hill Palace Museum there are four more museums that can be visited- the Museum of Kerala History, the Indo Portuguese Museum, the Indian Naval Maritime Museum and the Parikhsheeth Thampuran Durban Hall Art Gallery.
The Chinese fishing nets are fixed installations which are operated from the shore. They are used for a unique way of fishing. They are set up on teak and bamboo poles that are held horizontally by mechanism that lower them into the sea. Over six fishermen operate a single net, which stretches 10 meters in height and 20 meters over the water. Tourists come to see the nets being operated.
The Santa Cruz Basilica is one of the oldest churches in India. It signifies the heritage of Kerala. This cathedral was built by Francesco de Almeida in 1505. He was the first Portuguese Viceroy. The cathedral was used as an armoury in 1663 when the Dutch conquered Kochi. It was destroyed later on in 1795 upon the invasion by British. A granite pillar that survived the destruction has been kept on the south-eastern corner of the Basilica today.
The beautiful beach of Fort Kochi is a hub for those who love adventure sports. Catamaran sailing, kayaking, canoeing, parasailing, scuba diving, wind surfing and snorkelling can be enjoyed here. The beach is lively and vibrant, making you perk up for sports.
Built in 1568, the Jewish Synagogue is the oldest synagogue in India. The prosperous trading Jews are known to have first built it. It was rebuilt by the Dutch as it was partially destroyed in a war in the year 1662. The synagogue also bears a clock tower which was added late in 18th century. The tiles of the synagogue are delicately hand painted and have been imported from China. They are estimated to be some 200 years old and the most astonishing thing about them is that no two tiles bear the same design. Generous presents given to the synagogue over a period of time include a Belgian chandelier and five golden and silver crowns. The scrolls of the Old Testament are seen the moment you set foot in this pristine place.
The Princess Street is popular amongst tourists because it boasts of many western cafes and most importantly it exhibits European architecture at its best. As you walk your way through the crowd, you will find a lot of shops and galleries. An evening stroll on this street can be refreshing.
Rural culture can be observed up close at the eco friendly village made here. They are specially designed to exhibit exotic culture of Kerala without disturbing the natives. The Kambalangi Intergrated Tourism village and Mastyafed Milky Way Aqua Tourist village are some of them.
There are not a few reasons why Kochi tops the list of Kerala’s most visited tourist destinations. A holiday at Kochi may still surprise you in some or the other way!!
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Kochi is one of those destinations which will give you long lasting, refreshing memories. Famous as a port, Kochi has a different aura. The beach, the cathedrals, the streets full of people and the museums filled with amazing artefacts is how Kochi can be defined. The vibrant culture of Kochi and the sumptuous cuisine of Kerala make a visit to this place enjoyable.
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|5 Star Hotels:
||Brunton Boatyard,Taj Malbar
||Malbar House Hotel,Le Meridiean Hotel
||Cochin International Airport (27 km)
||Cochin Railway Station
|Nearest Major City(s):
||Coimbatore (115 km), Kollam (143 km), Thiruvanantpuram (193 km)
|How to reach:
||Kochi is well connected by buses. KSRTC connects Kochi with all major cities in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Deluxe Volvo buses are also available at any time to Chennai, Bangalore, Trivandrum, Hyderabad and Mumbai from Kochi. These buses charge about Rs 3 - Rs 4 per km
|Major Tourist Attraction:
||Backwaters, Marine Drive, Hill Palace.
||Finest natural harbors of the world.
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