Ernakulam


Overview


Kochi on the southwest coast of India at 9°58′N 76°13′E lies at sea level, spreading an area of 94.88 square kilometers with a coastline of 48 kms. The city is bordered with backwaters, covering the northern end of a peninsula, several islands, and a fraction of the mainland. Kochi has Arabian Sea in its west and eastern side is the urbanized region in the rest of the mainland area.

Kochi is having the highest population density in the state and is part of an extended metropolitan region, with the largest urban agglomeration in Kerala. Kochi comes under the Greater Cochin region and is categorized as a B-1 grade city by the Government of India and it is the highest graded city in Kerala. The Statutory Bodies;  Corporation of Cochin is the governing body of the city, which was formed in the year 1967, and the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) and the Goshree Islands Development Authority(GIDA) supervise and carry out the development projects of Kochi. 

Heralded as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, Kochi has been a consequential spice-trading centre on the west coast of India since 14th century. Kochi was the first of the European colonies in colonial India engaged by the Portuguese Empire in 1503 and it remained their main domain until Goa was culled in 1530. Later Kochi was occupied by the Dutch and the British, with the Kingdom of Cochin becoming a princely state.

From the total number international and domestic tourists coming to God’s own state, Kochi stands prime. According to Nielsen Company survey with the Outlook Traveller magazine, Kochi has recently been ranked the 6th best tourist location in India. In a study conducted by means of McKinsey Global Begin, Kochi found a spot in the listing of 28 Indian cities to be among the increasing 440 global cities that can integrate 50% on the world GDP with the year 2025.

The Southern Naval Command of the Indian Navy is located in Kochi. The city gets the state headquarters of the Indian Coast Guard with an annexed air squadron, selected Air Squadron 747 Interface of Kochi, a worldwide Container Transshipment Critical, the Cochin Shipyard, offshore SPM of the Kochi Refineries and the Kochi Marina will be the major commercial naval facilities available in Kochi. Kochi shelters the Cochin Stock Exchange, International Pepper Swap, and main chemical industries like the FACT, TCC, IREL, HOCL and also Kochi Refineries, electrical industries like TELK and industrial parks like the Cochin Special Economical Zone and Infopark. High Court involving Kerala and Lakshadweep is situated in Kochi. Kochi is also an abode for Cochin University involving Science and Technological know-how, Kerala's National Law School and the National University involving Advanced Legal Scientific studies.

Highlights


Kochi is better known as the financial capital of Kerala with various industries, business, companies, and IT companies employing a large number of people. Upon the completion of the proposed Metro Project in 2017, Kochi will be known as a Metro City. Kochi has a very long and well-known history to its credit. Heralded as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, Kochi has been a significant spice-trading centre on the west coast of India since 14th century. Kochi stands top in the total number of international and domestic tourist arrivals in God’s own country. Kochi found a place in the list of 28 Indian cities to be among the emerging 440 global cities that will add 50% of the world GDP by the year 2025.    

Average climate: 20°C - 35°C

Best season to visit: November to February

Language spoken: Official language is Malayalam, English is widely understood. Hindi and Tamil are used occasionally.

Currency: Indian Rupees

Food: Diverse cultures, such as Chinese, Arabs, Portuguese, English, Dutch, French, Russians, Japanese and all these have influenced the food habit of Kochi and it being a costal city, seafood is plenty here and is a local specialty.

Clothing: It is advised to carry appropriate winter warmers while traveling in the winter season.

Travel Tips: Kochi has its own airport, which is known as Nedumbassery international airport, situated 30 kms, North-East of the city, with regular flights to major cities of the world, making Kochi the fifth busiest airport in India. Kochi is well linked to the rest of India by a wide network of rails with two major railway stations; in Ernakulam South Railway Station, Ernakulam Town. The best season to enjoy the serene beauty of Kochi is between October - February, with a soothing climate. Kochi offers a complete 2-day tour package with its long list of places of attractions and tourist activities.    

Place of Interests


Chinese Fishing Nets, Fort Kochi

Cheenavala (The Chinese fishing nets) are distinctively unique to Kochi is located in Fort Kochi which is about 16 kms away from Ernakulam city. The traders from the court of the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan is believed to have introduced Cheenavala here in Kochi for fishing. Outside China, only in Kochi these fishing nets are found. Still many fishermen are using these massive nets for their livelihood. A whole stretch of the coast along Fort Kochi and Vypeen are spotted with these nets.

Fort Kochi beach

Fort Kochi is located about 16 kms away from Ernakulam city. With the Chinese fishing nets and sailing ships in the background, leisurely walk on the Kochi beach, mainly at sunset is a memorable experience. European style bungalows can be spotted along the beach. The coastal stretch has many small stalls, which make on demand delicious traditional cuisines using newly caught fish.

St. Francis Church, Fort Kochi

St. Francis Church located about 16 kms away from Ernakulam city in Fort Kochi is the oldest church constructed by Europeans in India. Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese trader who reached India from Europe by sea, was buried in the St. Francis Church and later his remains were taken to Portugal.

Vasco House, Fort Kochi

Vasco house, which is located in Fort Kochi on Rose Street, is generally believed to be one of the oldest Portuguese model houses built in India. The house exhibits European glass paned windows and verandahs.

Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi

The present Santa Cruz Basilica is located in Fort Kochi which is about 16 kms from Ernakulam city. The original church was built by the Portuguese at Fort Kochi in 1505 and was elevated as a cathedral in 1558. In 1795, during the British colonial period the cathedral was destroyed and was reconstructed in 1905 and raised to the status of a basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1984.

Indo-Portuguese Museum

Late Dr. Joseph Kureethra, Bishop of Kochi, in an attempt to preserve and exhibit the affluent cultural heritage and Portuguese influence, established Indo-Portuguese museum located inside the premises of the Bishop’s House at Fort Kochi, which is 16 kms from Ernakulam city. The museum displays the Portuguese influences on Fort Kochi, the surrounding areas and especially, the Western parts of Kochi.

The museum has five main sections: Altar, Treasure, Procession, Civil Life, and Cathedral. The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation has contributed sculptures, precious metal objects, and vestments, among others from the Cathedral of Santa Cruz and other churches of the Kochi diocese to the collection at the Indo-Portuguese Museum.

Jewish Synagogue and Jew Town, Mattancherry

Jewish Synagogue is located at a distance of 14 kms from Ernakulam city.  The synagogue is admirably adorned with Chinese tiles and Belgian chandeliers was built in 1568. Giant scrolls of the Old Testament can be found here. It is located near the Dutch Palace in Mattancherry.

Dutch Palace (Mattancherry Palace), Mattancherry

The Dutch palace, which is better known as Mattancherry Place is located at a distance of 14 kms from Ernakulam city. The palace originally constructed by the Portuguese is known as Dutch Palace now. Later in 17th century, the palace was modified and presented it to the Raja of Kochi by the Dutch. The palace was the venue for the coronation of many Rajas of Kochi. The palace has an excellent album of wall paintings portraying scenes from the Hindu epics; Mahabharatha and Ramayana.

Bolghatty Palace, Bolghatty Island

Bolghatty Palace is located at a distance of 7 kms from Ernakulam metropolis in Bolghatty Island. Palace has been converted to a hotel, which is now being run by the Kerala Tourism Growth Corporation (KTDC). The island incorporates a tiny golf course while offering panoramic views in the port and the harbour.

Palliport (Pallipuram) Fort

Pallipuram Fort, situated in the northern farthest point of the Vypeen Island in the village of Pallipuram, is around 25 kms from the city center. Pallipuram known as Palliport to the British is about a few miles from the Munambam beach. This European fort, erected by the Portuguese in 1503, is one among the heritage site in Kerala.

Cherai Beach

Cherai Beach is located at a distance of 30 kms way from Ernakulam city on the north end of Vypeen Island is a serene and perfect beach to be engaged in swimming. The enchanting beauty of coconut trees lined up on the shore and nearby paddy fields makes the Island, one of the most-sought-after beaches among the other small Islands. The beach can be reached by land or by boat.

Willingdon Island

Willingdon Island is located at a distance of 13 kms from Ernakulam city is a man-made Island, was formed in 1933 when sand was dredged to deepen the backwaters level for Cochin Port under the direction of Sir Robert Bristow. Airport, Seaport and the railway terminus (Cochin Harbor Terminus) were situated on this island and now it is the home of the Cochin Port and the headquarters of the Southern Naval Command. The airport remains to be the naval air station, while the main airport has been moved to Nedumbassery, 30kms north-east of Cochin.

Marine Drive

Marine Drive is about 5 kms away from Ernakulam city close to High Court Boat Jetty. A leisurely walk along the long tree-lined coastal corridor is an ideal place to hang-out, mainly in late afternoon, or at dusk. The lively backwaters, with fishing boats, speedboats, ships, tankers and passenger boats floating on are soothing to the eyes. The Mazhavil Palam (Rainbow Bridge) which is made in the shape of a rainbow is the center of attraction giving an elevated platform to view and enjoy the backwaters.

Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary

Mangalavanam is a highly sheltered bird sanctuary situated right in the heart of Kochi city behind the Kerala High Court building. It is the home of many alien and rare varieties of migratory and resident birds. It is often regarded as the ‘green lung of Kochi,” as it is constantly keeping the city’s air pollution under check.  

Parikshith Thampuran Museum

The durbars of the Rajas of Cochin were conducted in the incredible edifice located within the Durbar Hall grounds which falls adjacent to MG Road Ernakulam. Later, it was converted to a museum, which 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.

Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kaloor

The Nehru stadium in Kaloor with a seating capacity of 60,000 in multiple tiers is the fourth largest stadium in India and the biggest in Kerala is located 3 kms away from Ernakulam center on Palarivattom – Kaloor road. The ground is lit by a set of unique convex pylon floodlights that arch over the ground. The stadium is a multiple-use stadium for both cricket and football.

Hill Palace, Tripunithura

Hill Palace is located about a distance of 11 kms east of Cochin in Tripunithura, a satellite town of Cochin, was constructed in the 19th century by the Raja of Kochi. The palace was the throne of the Raja of the Kochi province. The palace converted into a museum is displaying a fine collection of articles portraying the wealth and splendor of the Rajas of Kochi, including the throne and the crown. The museum also houses a large collection of archaeological findings.

Climate: The climate in Thripunithura is tropical without much variation with the climate that of Kochi. In most months of the year, there is significant rainfall in Thripunithura. There is only a short dry season. The average annual temperature in Thripunithura is 27.3.

People: The descendants of the Cochin royal family still live here, this has shaped the life style, culture and language. The people are engaged in business and white-collar job for their livelihood. As most of the people practice Hindu religion, they are vegetarians and wear more traditional dress than western attires.

Culture: The royal town is one of the major centers of traditional cultural heritage of Kerala. The rulers of Kingdom of Cochin were great lovers of various arts. This made fine arts and architecture flourish under them in many ways and still it is being continued and celebrated. The town is also a famous centre of learning for classical arts like Carnatic music, Kathakali and Mohiniyattam besides percussion instruments like mridangam, chenda, and maddalam. 

Festivals: Atham, the day which marks the 10-day long Onam festivities is celebrated with great enthusiasm at Tripunithura known as Athachamayam. The Athachamayam takes on colourful hues, evoking the reminiscences of the legend of Mahabali and his kingdom and also the rule of Maharajas of erstwhile Kochi state.

Wonderla Amusement Park

Wonderla is South India's largest amusement park situated about 15 kms from Cochin at Pallikara. The park has a range of attractions including mini castles, water theme park, Ferris wheel, rides, slides, shows, and fountains. It is an ideal place for both kids and adults and can be engaged in with some audacious fun.

Kalady Tourism


Kalady, Kodanad Elephant Training Center, Malayatoor

Climate: The climate is tropical in the region. In most months of the year, there is significant rainfall in Kalady. There is only a short dry season and it is not very effective.

People: Most people follow either Catholic or Sreenarayana guru tradition of beliefs. All the families are known by traditional family names People in the region are largely engaged in agriculture for their livelihood and both men and women wear the traditional attires like lungi, shirt, and Saree. People in the region follow traditional food items and follow both vegetarian and non-vegetarian culinary. 

Culture:  It is one of the major centers of where the traditional cultural heritage of Christians and Hindu co-exist in a prefect blend. The strong presence of the two religious movements has strongly polished the cultural fabric of the religion with various kinds of dance and music pertaining to each religion. Kathakali and Mohiniyattam, Thiruvathirakali and Margam Kali are widespred in the region.  

Festivals: Traditional festivals like onam are celebrated with great enthusiasm. Also Christmas and New Year are celebrated with great pomp and show. Temples and churches celebrate the fest with great religious fervour.

Kalady

Kalady is situated east of the Periyar River, which is 35 kms away from Ernakulam city and the place is better known as the birthplace of Sree Sanakaracharya the founder of Advaita (non-duality) Philosophy. It has been an admired destination for pilgrims. Kalady has a significant place in the spiritual map of India only after its rediscovery in the late 19th century by the then Shankaracharya of Sringeri and the successive consecration of a temple for Sri Adi Shankara in 1910.

Kodanad Elephant Training Center

Kodanad, renowned for elephant rescue, caring and training centre, and mini zoo, is situated on the south side of the Periyar River at a distance of 5 kms from Perumbavoor, 13 kms from Kalady and 42 kms from the east of Cochin. The elephant-training center makes Kodanad village one of the major tourist spots in Kerala. 

Established in 1950-60s, elephant kraal is said to be the largest of several elephant training centers in Kerala for captured elephants from the adjoining forest regions. Muthanga of Wayanad district and Konni of Pathanamthitta district are two other elephant training centers in Kerala. Particularly skilled people popularly known 'Paappaan' (Mahouts) train the elephants. As capturing elephant from forest was banned by Government of India in 1970s, Kodanad is become a rescue training centre.

Kodanad falls in Malayattoor forest headquarters is famous for elephant Kraal which is a made up of wood compartment and tall in size. In this, elephants are kept well-taken care of and trained. Baby elephants which are found lost in the forest, rescued and brought into the kraal are owned by the forest department. Once the training is complete and the elephants turned adults are sold to various temples across Kerala. The activities and mischievous behaviors of baby elephants attract a large number of tourists to Kodanad. The famous Malayatoor pilgrim center is close to Kodanad.

Elephant has an essential part of Indian tradition and culture. Back here in Kerala, elephants are often referred to as the sons of the 'Sahya' (the Western Ghats). Any temple festival is incomplete without the presence of an adorned elephant and elephant has been always considered as an auspicious animal. Rows of royally decorated elephants, sated with vibrant silken umbrellas make the most magnificent part of any event in Kerala. 

Malayatoor

St. Thomas shrine Malayatoor situated at a distance of 8 kms from Kalady and 52 kms from Kochi at 609 m elevation on Malayatoor hill is one of the most important Christian pilgrim centers in Kerala. Interestingly, the name `Malayattoor' is a blend of three small words, Mala meaning Mountain, Arr denoting River and Oore meaning Place, therefore, Malayattoor is a meeting place of mountain, river, and land. The holy place attracts devotees from across the state as well as from the neighbouring states.

St. Thomas is supposed to have landed at Kodungallur in Kerala in AD 52. While journeying through Malayattor and having met with unfriendly natives, he run off to mountaintop and remained in prayers and that he left his footprints on one of the rocks. According to beliefs, during prayer, he touched a rock, upon which blood gushed from it. The major festival in Malayattor falls on the first Sunday after Easter. It is conventionally believed that St. Thomas used to make the Sign of the Cross on the rock, kiss it, and pray at Kurisumudi and in the spot a miraculous golden cross appeared. Pilgrims climbing the Malayattor hillock call out constantly "Ponnum Kurishu Muthappo, Ponmala Kayattom,” meaning "O Patriarch of the Golden Cross! Climb we shall, this golden hill.

The famous church is positioned at Kurisumudi, a lush hill in the Western Ghats girdled partially by the Periyar River. The Church has a full-size figure of St. Thomas and the mark of the feet of the Apostle on a rock. The shrine has been declared an international pilgrimage station.

Bhoothathankettu

Bhoothathankettu dam and tourist spot sited outside the village of Pindimana is at a distance of 10 kms away from Kothamangalam town and 50 km away from Kochi is 100 mtrs above MSL and has a very moderate climate with an average climate ranging from 23 °C - 32 °C.  A modern dam, impounding the Bhoothathankettu Reservoir (Thattekad Reservoir), has supplemented the original natural dam. During the Malayatoor pilgrim season, travelers use the roads through the forest.

The unshaped large stone are set on both side of the Periyar River to structure the dam looks as if it was built by super humans. According to a popular myth, the natural fortification of forests and hill were built by Bhoothams (Evil spirits or ghosts, hence the name Bhoothathankettu (For of the evil spirits) came to being.    

Pedal boating and speed boating facilities are provided in the reservoir is the main tourist attraction of Bhoothathankettu. The dam area is landscaped with tree houses and a children's play area. A nature walk path to the old Boothathankettu is very refreshing and captivating and return path is parallel to the river. Through the dense forest of Boothathankettu, it is just 14 km drive to Edamalayar dam. Trekking through the forests is an exciting experience.

Attractions


The arresting port city, Cochin is a delight of tourists. Lush mangroves, coconut tress mirrored in the transparent waters of backwaters, antique churches, cathedrals and fort - tourists on seeing the sights of Cochin would find all these and more. Bordered by the Western Ghats on the east and the imposing Arabian Sea in the west, Kochi occupies a very strategic location and has been a significant trading zone and attractive tourist destination since time immemorial. The tradition and status of this captivatingly picturesque port city has maintained till the date.

Kochi is better known as the financial capital of Kerala having a blend of cultures because of its diverse, multicultural, and secular communities. People from various religious communities such as Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism, and other denominations are harmoniously living here in the city. Now Kochi has become a metropolitan city having people from all parts of India. Hinduism is the major religion here in the city with 47 percent of the population.

Of course, the major chunk of inhabitants in Kochi are Malayalis and ethnic minority groups such as Tamils, Gujaratis, Jews, Sikkimese, Anglo-Indians, Konkanis, and Tulus are also residing here in Kochi. 4.3% of the city's population is Scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. The literacy rate of the Cochin was 94.3%.

Ancient time’s major trading zone is turned to be a major tourist destination today. The people of Kochi are very much keen in preserving its traditions and culture are very much inclined towards preserving and as well as exhibiting them.  Kochi has produced a few prominent personalities like K. J. Yesudas (singer), Sahodaran Ayyappan (social reformer), Pandit Karuppan (social reformer), and Asin (model and actor).

There are many performing arts complexes across the city, offering a good experience of a blend of art forms and culture. Kochi has the largest number of regular evening Kathakali theaters, offering the best insight into this conventional dance-drama art form of Kerala. Apart from Kathakali, many other events are regularly performed in Kochi.

The people in Kochi are increasingly becoming fashion-conscious, often deviating from the traditional Kerala attire to western casual clothing. Kochi hosts a number of high profile fashion shows, like Grand Kerala shopping festival. Kochi is also the venue of the annual Cochin Flower Show and International Aqua Show. 

Kochi-Muziris Biennale

The Kochi-Muziris Biennale is an international exhibition of contemporary art forms that is being organized Kochi since 2012. The exhibition of various art forms is exhibited in a range of locations across Kochi, Muziris and surrounding islands. The exhibitions are held in existing galleries and halls, and site-specific installations in public spaces, heritage buildings, and disused structures.

Indian and international artists display art works through the mixture of mediums such as film, installation, painting, sculpture, new media, and performance art. The Kochi-Muziris Biennale seeks to invoke the historic cosmopolitan legacy of the modern metropolis of Kochi, and its mythical predecessor, the ancient port of Muziris. Beside the exhibition the Biennale throws open various platforms for talks, seminars, screenings, music, workshops and educational activities for school children and students.

Activities


Boat cruise

Boat cruise through the backwaters of Kochi is a marvelous experience. Both Public and private boats plying their services to Willingdon Island, Fort Kochi,  Vypeen, Mattancherry, Varapuzha and Bolghatty Island.

Kathakali performance

India Foundation (Kalathiparambil Road), The Cochin Cultural Centre (Manikath Road), and Art Kerala (Kannanthodathu Lane) organise Kathakali performances every evening. Kathakali is a traditional dance form of Kerala. The striking facial expressions, hand gestures and dance moves of the Kathakali performer will leave the spectators awestruck.

Kochi-Muziris Biennale

The Kochi-Muziris Biennale is an international exhibition of contemporary art forms that is organized Kochi from December to March since 2012. The exhibition of various art forms is exhibited in a range of locations across Kochi, Muziris and surrounding islands. The exhibitions are held in existing galleries and halls, and site-specific installations in public spaces, heritage buildings, and disused structures.

Shopping

Kochi with the number of shopping malls, handicraft shops, handloom shops, traditional and cultural item shops and so on give a spending opportunity for the tourist to be engaged in real shopping to carry a few relic of having been to Kochi.

Events & Festivals


Kochi celebrates a bunch of traditional Kerala festivals like Onam and Vishu along with North Indian festivals like Holi and Diwali with great fervor because of its metropolitan population. Christian and Islamic festivals like Christmas, Easter, Eid ul-Fitr, Milad-e-sherif, etc. are also widely celebrated here in Kochi. An overwhelming feast called the Cochin Carnival is celebrated at Fort Kochi every year in the last ten days of December. Unique games, dirt bike races, beach volleyball and fireworks display are arranged as part of the festivities. The carnival is observed in Kochi as a continuity of the Portuguese New Year festivities held here during the colonial days. Kochi is also the permanent venue for India International Boat show and the India International Aqua show.

Many of the festivals and events in the region are centered on religious celebrations. The devout culture that is very much part of the Cochin heritage is still strong and alive today. Indira Gandhi Boat Race is one of Kerala’s most famous boat races marking the beginning of Tourism Festival.

Tourism Festival is organized to bring together all 13 ethnic groups living in Cochin for a week-long festivity that keeps the streets of Kochi vibrant. One of the main features is a food procession offering samples of the various specialties of the communities.

Yosakoi Festival is a Japanese festival celebrated in Kochi and this festivity keeps Kochi Street exciting. The festival starts on August 9 with a large fireworks display, while the Yasakoi Dance Festival is organized on August 12. Games, performance, and fireworks are a big part of the celebration.

Athachamayam Festivals - elephant processions followed by vivacious musical ensembles make their way to a charming park, featuring sculptures by renowned artist kanai Kunhiraman. This festival marks the first day of the Onam Festival.

Onam is festival commemorating the visit of King of Mahabali each year. It is the most popular festival celebrated in Kerala by all religions alike, which falls in the month of August or September. It is also a harvest festival.

History & People


History


Kochi has a very long and well-known history to its credit. The origin and source of the name Kochi still remains unknown. It is believed that the name Kochi is the modified version of 'Cochazhi' in vernacular language, which means 'small sea'. However, there is a popular belief that 'Kochi' was named so by the Chinese. A few historians claim that traders from the court of the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan gave Kochi the name of his motherland. The strange Chinese fishing nets that is only spotted here in Kochi could be seen as the strong Chinese influence in the city had in the past.  There is yet another theory says that the name Kochi is derived from the word 'Kaci' meaning 'harbour'.

In the pre-colonial period, Kochi was just a fishing village in the Kingdom of Kochi. In 1503 the Rajah of Kochi granted Fort Kochi to the Portuguese for having assisted to fight against the forces of Saamoothiri of Kozhikode with the forces of Afonso de Albuquerque. Having been pleased by the victory, the Rajah also gave them consent to build Fort Emmanuel near the waterfront to defend their commercial interests.

Portuguese constructed their settlement behind the fort, together with a wooden church, which was rebuilt in 1516 as an enduring structure, today the church is known as the St. Francis Church. Fort Kochi was in the hands of Portuguese for 160 years until in 1683 the Dutch detained the territory from the Portuguese, destroying quiet a number of Portuguese institutions, particularly Churches including convents.

Fort Kochi was in Dutch custody for over 112 years until 1795 British conquered the region defeating the Dutch. Fort Kochi was relieved from the clutches of foreign rule when India got her independence in 1947.

A combination of old buildings constructed by the Portuguese, Dutch, and British during their regime is still seen in the street of Fort Kochi.  Vasco da Gama was buried in St. Francis Church, which was built in 1503 by the Portuguese as a Catholic church comes under the Episcopal of Church of South India and now it is one of the national monuments.

Santa Cruz Basilica was constructed by the Portuguese in the 16th century was later destroyed by the British and rebuilt towards the end of 19th century. The landmark that fondly attracts more public and visitors’ attention is a series of pre-colonial Chinese fishing nets on the waterfront and it is believed to have been introduced by Chinese traders in the early 14th century.

From time immemorial, Arabian and Chinese traders found Kochi as their spice garden with their demand for pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, sandalwood etc. The history and culture of this region was shaped by the cultivation and trade the precious spices. Even today, Kochi stands as important centre of spice export and Spices Board (The flagship organization for the development and worldwide promotion of Indian spices by Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India) is headquartered in Kochi. The Arabian traders first sniffed out the vast riches of spice in Kerala, and they exported the highly wanted goods to Europe. Later, they were followed by the Portuguese, Dutch, and British.

In 1341, the natural harbor of Kochi was formed by flood at the same time the Kodungallur harbor was destroyed.  Subsequently, Kochi emerged as one of the most important harbors on the West Coast of India. It concentrated on the spice trade with China and the Middle East.

During 1500, Calicut was ruled by king Zamorin and Kochi by the Maharaja of Cochin when the first Portuguese ships berthed at the Malabar Coast: Vasco da Gama in Calicut and Pedro Álvares Cabral in Kochi. The Maharaja of Kochi felt endangered by the Zamorin of Calicut, and he expected that the Portuguese would come for his rescue. The Maharaja befriended with Portuguese, and they established their first trading center in Kochi. However, the Maharaja of Cochin was largely deprived of his power, and Kochi became the first European colony in India. The Portuguese pressurised the small Jewish community and even the Syrian Christians, as they were practicing nestorianism. The Portuguese tried to amalgamate the Syrian Christian Church with the Latin Church. This sparked clash, as most of the Syrian Christians were associated with various churches of the East and rejected the authority of the Pope and the Latin Church.

At the invitation of a deposed prince of Cochin Royal Family and the hereditary Prime Minister of Cochin, namely the Paliath Achan, Dutch came to Kochi. With the active and open support of the local Syrian Christians Dutch occupied Kochi in 1653.

1760 was an uncomfortable time for Kochi as there was vigorous conflict between the regional potencies. Hyder Ali, then later by his son Tipu Sultan, devastated Kochi. Tipu Sultan subordinated the town ephemerally to the kingdom of Mysore.

In 1814, Kochi became a component of the Madras Presidency becoming a component of the British colonial imperium. The British shaped the country until the 20th century, and Kochi has always been a consequential harbor and trade center. After having India gained her independence, Kochi was made the capital of the Union State Cochin in 1947.

People


Kochi is having the highest population density in the state and is part of an extended metropolitan region, with the largest urban agglomeration in Kerala. People in the region are mostly engaged in trading, fishing, heavy industry, and Information Technology (IT).

Down through the centuries Kochi had numerous dwellers from diverse cultures, such as Chinese, Arabs, Portuguese, English, Dutch, French, Russians, Japanese and all these have influenced the food habit of Kochi thus, Kochi has a long list of food dishes. The food diversity in Kochi is reflected in the cuisines that come from the kitchens of Kochi. Kochi being a coastal city, seafood is plenty here and is a local specialty. The calm backwaters provide fresh water fishes. Prawns, squids, and shrimps are prepared in local flavors. As there is abundance coconut tress, virtually there would not any dish prepared without grinded coconut in it.

The cosmopolitan culture has changed the clothing style of both men and woman, where men and women are increasingly using western attires than the traditional dhoti, shirts, saree, and salwar.

Climate


Temperature 20°C - 35°C (68°F-95°F)
Monsoon season: June - September (heavy rains)
Mild winter: October - February (cool, dry with occasional rain)
Summer: March - May (hot and humid)

Kochi's proximity to costal area does not make much seasonal temperature variation, with moderate to high calibers of sultriness. Annual temperatures range between 23 and 31 °C (73–88 °F) with the record high being 38 °C (100 °F), and record low 17 °C (63 °F). From June to September, the south-west monsoon brings in heftily ponderous rains as Kochi lies on the windward side of the Western Ghats.

From October to December, Kochi receives lighter rain from the northeast monsoon, as it lies on the leeward side. Average annual rainfall is 3,228.3 mm (127.10 in), with an annual average of 132 rainy days. Kochi gets an annual rain fall of 50cm.

Need to Know


Connectivity


Air

Kochi has a state-of-the-art international airport, situated 30kms North-East of the city, with regular flights to major cities of the world, making Kochi the fifth busiest airport in India. Kochi is well connected to Singapore, Colombo and all major cities in the Middle-East (Abu Dhabi, Dammam, Doha, Dubai, Kuwait, Jeddah, Muscat, and Riyadh) by direct international flights. Prepaid taxis are available from the airport to various parts of the city and can be booked from within the arrival hall.

Railways

Kochi is well connected to the rest of India with a wide network of rails. There are three main railway stations in Kochi: Ernakulam Junction (South Train Station), Ernakulam Town (North Railway Station), and also Cochin Harbor Terminus. Many consequential trains originate from here and all trains passing through the city have halt with the stations.

Road

Widespread network of national/state highways and local roads link Kochi to rest of the country. NH 47 from Kanyakumari to Salem passes right through the heart of Kochi and NH 17 to Mumbai and NH 49 to Madurai (in Tamil Nadu) starts from Kochi. Private and public transport services are available to/from all major cities of South India from here. Long distance coach tickets to Mumbai (Bombay), Chennai (Madras), Bangalore, Coimbatore, etc. can be obtained from locations of the city.

Sea/Backwaters

Kochi has a well-connected shipping canal used regularly by large cargo ships. From Kochi, there are frequent Regular boat services to Kottayam, Kumarakom and Alleppey through the scenic backwaters of Kerala. Vypeen, Mattancherry, Bolghatty islands are connected to the mainland by regular public and private boats plying from the main boat jetty. Many cruises ships also currently berth and the Ernakulam Wharf, which is part of the Cochin Port located on Willingdon Island.

Local Transport

Getting around Cochin is quite simple. There is cheap and affordable public and private bus services with halt at prime locations in the city and tickets can be bought on board. Services of auto rickshaws can be availed to cover short distances in the city. There are systematic and well maintained taxi services in the city and they can be pre-booked.

Kochi Metro

Kochi is the first Tier-II city in India to have a metro rail system under the Central Government's plan. The 25.65km metro line from Aluva to Petta with 22 stations is scheduled to be operational by 2017

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