Kochi, formerly known as Cochin is a city in the Indian state of Kerala. Kochi is the commercial capital of Kerala. The city is one of the principal seaports of the country and is located in the district of Ernakulam, about 220 kilometers north of the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram. And so down the ages, Kochi prospered as a busy port city and commercial center. Its seafront is still extremely relevant to Cochin and to India: it houses a Naval Base and one of India's busiest ports. It's twin city, Ernakulum, are an important railhead and industrial center.
Kochi's location between the blue, blue waters of the Arabian Sea and Kerala's emerald backwaters, its rich medley of Indian and foreign architecture, its truly unusual sights like the Chinese fishing nets and its quaint quiet localities like the Jewish Quarters demand the attention of all who travel to Kerala. As a result of successive waves of migration over the course of several centuries, the population of the city is a mix of people from all parts of Kerala and most of India. The pan-Indian nature is highlighted by the substantial presence of various ethnic communities from different parts of the country. Kochi has a diverse, multicultural, and secular community consisting of Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Jams, Sikhs, and Buddhists among other denominations, all living in peaceful co-existence.
FAMOUS TOURIST PLACES OF COCHIN
Chinese Fishing Nets
The Chinese fishing nets (Cheenavala) are distinctly unique to Cochin. It is believed that traders from the court of the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan introduced these nets here. Oddly, these nets are found only in Kochi, outside China! Many fishermen earn their livelihood by fishing using these massive nets. A whole stretch of the coast along with Fort Kochi and Vypeen are dotted with these nets.
This cruise will take you around three Islands namely Vypin, Gundu & Bolgathy. At the end of the cruise you come to the Chinese fishing nets to watch the sunset over the Arabian Sea. Also at this time you will see Dolphins jumping in front of the mouth of the Bay. It is a spectacular sight only to be seen to be believed.
Cochin Backwater Tour
Vypin Island: This is about 21 km. from the city is a major center for commerce and is connected to the mainland by a bridge, which is easily accessible by boat. It boasts of a lighthouse at Ochanthuruth open from 3 pm to 5 pm on all days. Ferries shuttle across the narrow strait from Fort Cochin to Vypin Island. After every 30 minutes ferries move from Cochin to Vypin Island They are miles of surf beaches, but bathers would feel most comfortable at Cherai Beach, 5 km. from the ferry, where one can find a couple of basic cafes and guesthouses. This island also boasts of good beaches and the early-16th-century Pallipuram Fort (open Thursday).
Gundu Island: The magnificent 16th century Pallipuram Fort situated on Gundu Island is the smallest of the cluster of islands around Kochi. There is a coir factory run by a co-operative society, and the process of manufacturing coir from coconut fiber can be observed here.
Bolghatty Island: This is the site of the Bolghatty Palace built-in 1744 by the Dutch that was later taken over by the British. The island has a fine golf course making it an attractive picnic spot. The building was once a Governor's palace for the Dutch and later the home of the British Governors. The palace is two-storeyed containing well-decorated bed chambers, a huge lounge wherein historical portraits are displayed. The ferry ride from the mainland Ernakulam to the island is a pleasurable experience.
The Dutch Palace was originally built by the Portuguese. Later, in the 17th century, the Dutch modified it and presented it to the Raja of Kochi. Coronation of many Rajas of Kochi was held here. The palace has a fine collection of mural paintings depicting scenes from the Hindu epics Mahabharatha and Ramayana. The palace is located in Mattancherry.
IMP: It remains closed on Fridays. Timings for the visit: 1000 hrs to 1700 hrs.
The synagogue, built-in 1568, is magnificently decorated by Chinese tiles and Belgian chandeliers. Giant scrolls of the Old Testament can be found here. It is located near the Dutch Palace in Mattancherry.
IMP: It remains closed on Fridays and Saturdays. Timings for the visit: 0900 hrs to 1200 hrs and from 1500 hrs to 1700 hrs.
Kathakali Dance drama
Kathakali Dance Performance. Kathakali is a traditional dance form of Kerala and the impressive facial expressions, hand gestures and dance moves will leave one spellbound.
Fort Kochi beach
A stroll along the beach, particularly at sunset with the Chinese fishing nets and sailing ships in the background, is a memorable experience. Many European style bungalows can be seen along the shoreline. The coastal stretch has loads of small stalls, which make on demand mouth-watering traditional cuisines using freshly caught fish.
St. Francis Church
It is the oldest church built by Europeans in India. On his 3rd visit to Kerala, Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese trader who Make on-demand mouth-watering traditional cuisines using freshly caught fish. St. Francis Church - It is the oldest church built by Europeans in India. On his 3rd visit to Kerala, Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese trader who reached India from Europe by sea, fell ill and died in Kochi. He was buried in the St. Francis Church. Later his remains were taken back to Portugal. In spite of that, his burial spot inside the church has been clearly marked out.
Vasco House, Fort Kochi
Vasco house, located on Rose Street, is believed to be one of the oldest Portuguese houses in India. Vasco da Gama is believed to have lived here. This house features European glass paned windows and verandahs.
Santa Cruz Basilica
The original church, situated in Fort Kochi, was built by the Portuguese in 1505 and named as a cathedral in 1558. The British colonists destroyed the cathedral in 1795. The current structure was built in 1905 and raised to the status of a basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1984.
Bolghatty Palace, Boighatty Island
This Dutch palace is situated on Boighatty island which is just a short boat ride away from the mainland. The palace has been converted to a hotel run by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC). The island has a tiny golf course and the panoramic views of the port and the harbor make it an attractive picnic spot. Frequent boat service is available from the mainland.
Palliport (Pallipuram) Fort
It is the oldest surviving European fort in India, built by the Portuguese in 1503. It's situated in Pallipuram on Vypeen island.
Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary
Mangalavanam is a protected bird sanctuary situated right in the heart of Kochi city. It is the home of many exotic and rare varieties of migratory and resident birds. Mangalavanam is located right next to the High Court of Kerala.
Forests & Wildlife Museum of Kerala History, Kalamassery
The museum has on display spectacular audio-visual exhibits depicting the history and culture of Kerala along with many life-size statues of many famous personalities and several paintings depicting Kerala history.
- Parikshith Thampuran Museum
This Rajas of Cochin used to conduct their durbars in this impressive building located within the Durbar Hall grounds. It was later converted to a museum that has a treasure trove of archaeological findings and relics including old coins, sculptures, oil paintings, and murals. The building has been taken over by the Kerala Lalitha Kala Academy and now houses the Gallery of Contemporary Art. All the exhibits of the museum have been moved to the Hill Palace museum.
This lovely beach ideal for swimming is located on the north end of Vypeen island, one of the many small islands just off the mainland. The beach is lined by gorgeous coconut groves and paddy fields. Vypeen can be reached by land or by boat.
Veega Land is South India's largest amusement park situated l4kms from Cochin. The park includes a range of attractions including mini castles, water theme park, Ferris wheel, rides, slides, shows, and fountains. Kids and adults alike can enjoy the fun and activities.
A stroll along the long tree-lined coastal pathway that lines the backwater is well worth the time spent, especially late afternoon or dusk. The bustling backwaters, dotted with fishing boats, speedboats, ships, tankers, and passenger boats, can be observed from this walkway that lines the coast.
Willingdon Island This man-made island was created in 1933 by sand dredged while deepening the backwaters for the Cochin Port.