About Cochin ( Kochi )
Set on a cluster of islands and narrow peninsulas, the port city
of Cochin (Kochi) reflects the eclecticism of Kerala perfectly.
With a rich past and a bustling present, it has been the
business hub of the region from the very early days.
Cochin consists of mainland Ernakulam, the islands of
Willington, Bolgatty and Gundu in the harbour, Fort Cochin and
Mattancherry on the southern peninsula, and Vypeen Island north
of Fort Cochin, all linked by ferry.
The influence of Chinese, Jews, Arabs and Europeans is evident
in Cochin and its people. The oldest church in India,
500-year-old Portugese houses, old tiled houses built in the
Chinese pagoda style, the famous Chinese fishing nets, a Jewish
community whose roots go back to the Diaspora, synagogues and
mosques all tell the fascinating story of this harbour town.
The harbour is still at the heart of the city and pepper, sea
food, rubber and coir are exported from here. Despite this,
Cochin is an attractive city with serene back-waters, lagoons
overhung with feathery coconut palms and picturesque islands.
The older parts of Fort Cochin and Mattanchery are an unlikely
blend of medieval Portugal, Holland and an English country
village grafted onto the troppical Malabar coast. Cochin is one
of India's largest ports and a major naval base.
What to See
Bolghatty Palace - Once a mansion of the British Resident and
now a hotel, is in palm fringed Bolghatty Island.
Mattancherry Palace - The palace (Dutch Palace) was built by the
Portuguese in 1557 and presented to the Cochin Raja, Veera
Kerala Varma. The Dutch renovated it after 1663, and hence the
palace has another name, 'Dutch Palace'.
The most important feature of Mattanchery Palace is the murals
in the bedchambers and other rooms, which depict scenes from the
Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranic legends connected with Shiva,
Vishnu, Krishna, Kumara and Durga. These murals are some of the
most beautiful and extensive, and are one of the wonders of
Jewish Synagogue - Constructed in 1568, this is the oldest
synagogue in the Commonwealth. A stone slab from Kochangadi
synagogue (built in 1344, and has then disappeared), inscribed
in Hebrew, can be found on the inner surface of the wall. The
synagogue has hand-painted, willow pattern floor tiles brought
St. Francis Church - Built in 1503 by Portugese Franciscan
friars, this is India's oldest European-built church. The
original structure was wood, but was rebuilt in stone in
mid-16th century. Vasco da Gama, the first European to reach
India, died in Cochin in 1524 and was buried here for 14 years
before his remains were transferred to Portugal. The tombstone
Chinese Fishing Nets - Lined along the sea-front, these fishing
nets exhibit a mechanical method of catching fish, introduced by
Chinese traders from the court of Kublai Khan. These nets are
also seen along the backwaters between Cochin and Kottayam, and
between Alleppey (Alappuzha) and Quilon (Kollam). They are
mainly used at high tide.
Parishath Thampuran Museum - Housed in what was previously
Durbar Hall, constructed in traditional Kerala style, the museum
contains collections of 19th century oil paintings, old coins,
sculptures and Mughul paintings and exhibits from the Cochin
Maybe it's Kochi's cosmopolitan lineage, its sophistication and
dynamism, which has helped it become the commercial capital of
Kerala (one of the 50 most sought after tourist destinations in
the world). From a thriving port to a flourishing spice trade,
from industrial entrepreneurship to fine arts, even some great
cuisine, there is so much to savour here.
The Mahatma Gandhi Road (earlier known as the Seventy-feet
Road), branching off from Banerji Road in its north end right
upto Thevara Junction, approximately four kilometers down south,
cuts through what is today the city's main commercial district.
A bustling shopping centre where one can buy almost all kinds of
goods on sale, including textiles, ready-made garments,
jewellery, handicrafts, electronic goods, books, footwear, toys,
etc. There are also half-a-dozen cinema houses for your
entertainment. Minus the dazzling range of shops, buildings on
either side house banks, finance firms, insurance companies,
hospitals, airline offices, travel bureaus, hotels, and
restaurants. By nightfall, the city's main artery brightens up
with colourful neon signs and is enlivened by busy shoppers or
people coming out to enjoy themselves. Both, the Ernakulam
Junction railway station and the KSRTC bus station are located
centrally, east of M G Road. The Cochin Shipyard is located
south, overlooking Willingdon Island.
Kerala Tourist Development Corporation's daily conducted boat
cruises around Cochin harbour visit Willingdon Island, Gundu
Island, Mattanchery Palace, Jewish Synagogue, Fort Cochin, St.
Francis Church, Chinese fishing nets and Bolgatty Island.
Tourists can also watch Kathakali performances, as well as
displays of Kalaripayattu.
FACTS & FIGURES
Area : 8,700 sq km
Population : 1,600,000
Languages : Malayalam and English
Being situated very close to the sea, Kochi has a moderate
climate, with heavy rains during JuneAugust due to the southwest
monsoon. Winter starts from December and continues till
February. In summer, the temperature rises to a maximum of 35C
and 25C in the winters. Annual average rainfall is 310 cm.
Where to Stay
KTDC Hotel, Bolghatty Island.
Bharat Tourist Home, Darbal Hall Road, Ernakulam.
Taj Malabar Hotel, Willington Island
Casino Hotel, Willington Island
Hotel Sealord, Ernakulam
The International Hotel, Ernakulam
Hotel Taj Residency
Hotel Avenue Regent
Hotel Le Meridien
HOW TO REACH
There are Indian Airlines and Jet Airways direct services to
Delhi, Bombay, Madras, Goa, Bangalore, and Trivandrum from
Cochin is connected by rail to most of the important cities like
Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai.
Cochin is connected by road with several tourist centers in
India. It is 565 km from Bangalore, 223 km from Coimbatore, 848
km from Goa, 694 km from Madras, 470 km from Mysore, and 312 km
Taxis and auto-rickshaws are available for local transport.
Tourist taxis, both air-conditioned and ordinary, can be hired
for a day.
Medical and Dental Health Care Scenario in India with health
tourism in perspective.
Dental tourism - Facilities we offer at our clinic
Tourist information on Kochi.
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