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Home :: South India Travel Destinations :: Kochi (Cochin) India

Kochi (Cochin)

» Location: Ernakulam, Kerala
» Languages: Malayalam, English, Hindi
» Known As: Cochin
» Best Season: September To May

Kochi (also called Cochin)
An all time tourist favourite, Kochi is the commercial capital of Kerala. It has to offer palaces, forts, beaches, backwaters, old churches, snake boat races, Kathakali, museums and the convinence of the big city. Kochi is just about the center of Kerala. It is basically a collection of islands and narrow peninsulas. Ernakulam is the commercial centre and forms the main land. The two main railway stations and the bus stands are located here. Fort Kochi & Mattanchery, form an ellongated island west of Emakulam. Willingdon island which houses the Airport, Port & the Naval base lies between Emakulam & FortKochi. Jos junction in Ernakulam is considered as the nerve centre of the city.

Prime Attractions of Kochi (Cochin)

Forts & Palaces
Mattancherry Palace ( Dutch Palace): This monument was built by the Portuguese in 1557 and presented to Raja Veera Kerala Varma of Kochi. The Dutch renovated it in 1663. The murals in the bedchambers and other rooms, depicting scenes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranic legends are the important features.

Gundu IslandThe 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 fibre, can be observed here.

Bolghatty IslandBolghatty Island is the site of the Bolghatty Palace built in 1744 by the Dutch that was later taken over by the British. Today Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) runs a hotel here. The island has a fine golf course making it an attractive picnic spot.

Santa Cruz BasilicaThis Roman Catholic Church situated close to St. Francis Church is a historic church built by the Portuguese. Pope Paul IV elevated the church to a cathedral in 1558 AD. But in 1795 AD, the British demolished it. About a hundred years later, Bishop Dom Gomez Ferreira commissioned this new building. Pope John Paul II proclaimed Santa Cruz a Basilica in 1984.

St. Francis ChurchThis was the first European Church to be built in India built in the Year 1503, which is currently owned by the Church of South India. The history of this Church reflects the colonial struggle of European powers in India, from the 15th to 20th Centuries.

Cherai Beach: This lovely beach bordering Vypeen Island is ideal for swimming. Dolphins are occasionally seen here. A typical Kerala village with paddy fields and coconut groves nearby is an added attraction of this beach.

The Hill Palace Museum, Thripunithura (Open 9:00am)Hill Palace, the official residence of the Kochi royal family built in 1865 AD, is about 10 kms. from Kochi and today it is the largest archaeological museum in Kerala. Numerous species of flora including rare medicinal plants grow here. Timings: The museum is open all days except Mondays from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm and 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm.

Pareekshith Thampuran Museum (Open 100:00am to 12)This archaeological museum (earlier known as Durbar Hall) adjacent to the Shiva temple in Ernakulam, features collections of 19th century oil paintings, pre-historic monuments, old coins in a numismatic gallery and collections of the Kochi royal family.

Timings: Open from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm and 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm. except Mondays.

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.

Willingdon IslandBeautiful backwaters surround this man-made island named after Lord Willingdon, a British Viceroy to India. This is the site of Kochin’s best hotels, customs and trading centres, the port trust and the headquarters of the Southern Naval Command.

Jewish Synagogue Located near the Dutch Palace, constructed in 1568, this is the oldest synagogue in the commonwealth, magnificently decorated by Chinese tiles and Belgian chandeliers. Giant scrolls of the Old Testament can be found here. Jew TownThe 2000-year-old Jew Town built in 1568, houses the oldest functioning synagogue in the Commonwealth. It is an enduring symbol of the eventful past of the Jews of Malabar.

Excursions of Kochi (Cochin)
Alappuzha Beach (70 km): Also known as the Venice of the East, Alappuzha is famous for its boat races, houseboat holidays, beaches, marine products and coir industry. A singular characteristic of this land is the region called Kuttanad. The granary of Kerala, Kuttanad is one of the few places in the world where farming is done below sea level.

Kalady: Located on the banks of the river Periyar, this is the birthplace of the 8th century Advaita philosopher, Sri Shankaracharya. The town is famous for its many temples.

Aluva (20 km): Just north of Kochi (Cochin), this town is situated on the banks of the river Periyar. In February- March, this town celebrates the famous Sivarathri festival, attended by thousands of devotees. Wildlife

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Thekkady (190 km): Rolling hills, tea and cardamom plantations welcome you to Thekkady. One of the largest wildlife reserves in India, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is more popular as a tiger reserve. A boat ride on the splendid waters of the Periyar Lake provides the perfect recreation.

Kumarakom (88 km): This unique backwater destination situated on the banks of the Vembanad Lake is considered the gateway to the backwaters of Kuttanad. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is a favourite haunt of migratory birds from across the world, which makes it a renowned bird watching centre. Kumarakom is also a centre for houseboat cruises.

Hill Stations
Munnar (130 km): 1600 m above sea level, Munnar is a nature lover's paradise and was the summer resort of the British government in South India. Sprawling tea plantations, picture-book towns, winding lanes and holiday facilities make this a popular hill station.

Among the exotic flora found in the forests and grasslands is the 'Neelakurinji'. This flower, which bathes the hills in blue once every twelve years, will bloom next in 2006 AD. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India, Anamudi, which towers over 2695 m. Anamudi is an ideal spot for trekking.

Tiger, Sambhar, Bison, Spotted Deer, Leopard, Malabar Flying Squirrel, Stripe-necked Mongoose and so on can also be spotted in the forest. Kumily, an important spice trade centre, lies in the periphery of the sanctuary.

Malayatoor Church: A famous Christian pilgrim centre, this 9th century Catholic church is situated on the 609 m high Malayatoor Hill. St. Thomas, the apostle, is believed to have prayed in this shrine.

Cheeyappara Waterfalls: The Cheeyappara and Valara waterfalls are located between Neriamangalam and Adimali on the Kochi - Madurai highway. The Cheeyappara Falls cascades down in seven steps.

Thommankuthu Waterfalls: Located 20 kms from Thodupuzha, Thommankuthu is a small and beautiful, wild waterfall. Thommankuthu attracts thousands of tourists every year. The wild beauty of the scenic waterfall will steal the heart of any traveller.

Kanjiramattom Mosque: The mosque is situated at Kanjiramattom, 30 km from Kochi (Cochin). It is believed that the mosque was erected over the mortal remains of a Muslim saint, Sheikh Parid. Another great Muslim saint, Baver is supposed to have prayed here and attained salvation.

Shopping in Kochi (Cochin)
For Handicrafts
» Kerala State Handicrafts Development showroom- Kairali, M.G. Road.
» State Handicraft Society Emporium - Surabhi, M.G. Road.
» Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan, the showroom of Khadi Village Industries at Pallimukku, M.G. Road

Coir Board

» Coir Board Showroom on Mullassery Canal Road.

Fairs & Festivals of Kochi (Cochin)
» Aattachamayam
» Cochin Carnival
» Indira Gandhi Boat Race
» Jewish Festival
» Malayatoor Perunal

Places to stay in Kochi (Cochin)

» Taj Malabar, Willingdon Island.
» Taj Residency, Marine Drive, Ernakulam.
» The Renaissance, Palarivatton, Ernakulam.
» ATS Willingdon, Willingdon Island.
» The International, M.G. Road, Ernakulam.
» Park Avenue, Princess Street, Fort Cochin.
» Luciya, Ernakulam. Seagull, Calvathy Road, Fort Cochin.

Tourist Information about Kochi (Cochin)
Tourist Information Centre: Government Of India Tourist Office, Willingdon Island; Kerala Tourism Development Corporation Tourist Reception Centre, Shanmugham Road.

Post & Telegraph: General Head Post Office, Hospital Road.

Nearby Cities of Kochi (Cochin)
» Coimbatore (193 km)
» Kozhikode (Calicut) (181 km)
» Thrissur (130 km)
» Madurai (270 km)

How to Get There
By Air: Kochi is connected by excellent air network to all major cities in India.

By Rail: Kochi has three main railway stations, namely, Ernakulam Junction, Ernakulam Town and Harbour Terminus on Willingdon Island.

By Road: Kochi (Cochin), an important commercial centre of the South India is very well serviced by a network of national and state highways, connecting it to all major centres of the area.

By Local Transport: Taxis, city buses and autorickshaws.

By Ferries: Ferry service is available for travel between the island towns.

General Information about Kochi (Cochin)
» Area: 83.52 sq. km
» Altitude: Sea Level.
» Latitude & longitude: 9.9 N & 76. 2 E.
» Climate: Tropical.
» Temperature range: 35 C to 22.5 C.
» Clothing: light cottons
» STD code: 484.

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