Kochi is a bustling port city in the state of Kerala, that is home to a rich royal lineage and an eclectic mix of local and foreign cultures. The financial capital of Kerala, Kochi, offers its visitors a glimpse of old India as well as a bite of the cosmopolitan apple. It a beautiful playground for traders, travelers and explorers alike.
Kochi is an ancient port city, that came to being in 1341, after the great floods of the Periyar river. A European battleground, this city was nurtured through rivalry and has grown into a thriving economy and cultural hub.
What if we told you, there is a little something to satisfy the history nerd in you, the religious connoisseur, the art lover, the sports junkie, and the beach bum? Kochi is one such place in India, that offers a unique mixture of tradition, culture, history, and recreation. It is a wonderful city to explore with many architectural wonders and artsy surprises.
Currency: Indian Rupee (INR)
Population: 6.77 lakhs (as of 2011)
Time Zone: (GMT+5:30)
Area: 94.88 square km
Official Language: Malayalam, English
Location: Kochi is located in Kerala, a coastal state in Southwest India.
October to February is the best time to visit Kochi, due to pleasant weather conditions.
600 years ago, Kochi merchants started trading spices with the Dutch, Portuguese, Arabs and the Chinese. This paved way for economic prosperity and eventually the colonization by many of these foreign countries. Ultimately, it was the British who exercised control over Kochi, relinquishing the administration to the Diwans and the arts and culture to the Maharajas. Modern Kochi as we know it, was established by royal navy engineer - Sir Robert Bristow, who identified the need for a large port much like the Suez Canal.
Kochi is a melting pot of religions. Among the many places of worship, St. Francis church and Pardesi Synagogue are must visits. The former is India’s oldest European built church and the original burial ground of the great explorer Vasco da Gama. The latter was a spiritual haven for Pardesi Jews, housing magnificent artefacts from China and Belgium.
A visit to Kochi means a glimpse into its rich and fascinating history. Begin with Kerala Folklore museum, a quaint attraction filled with local crafts, folklore and antiques. Hill Palace Museum, once home to the Kochi royal family, is Kerala’s largest archeological museum. Do not miss the opportunity to view their personal collection of jewellery, paintings, sculptures, ornaments and epigraphy. Another museum worth visiting is the Indo-Portuguese museum which houses beautiful silver processional ornaments from one of India’s oldest catholic communities.
The Chinese fishing net , a former gift from Chinese Emperor Kublai Khan, is now a symbol of Kochi culture. This unusual fishing technique consist of 10m long mechanical contraptions that require up to 6 people to operate. The Dutch palace was a gift to the maharaja of Kochi that seen many coronations of Kochi kings. Its mural room is perhaps the most stunning, as it has depictions of the Ramayana and Mahabharata on a single mural.
Kerala is synonymous with its lazy beaches, white sand and palm trees. Cherai beach provides the perfect escape for an afternoon of jet skiing, volley ball or swimming. You might just be lucky enough to spot dolphins! Fort Kochi beach not only boasts a spectacular twilight, but has historical traces of the Dutch.
If you’re visiting Kochi in the months of August - September, join in the celebrations of Onam that symbolises the homecoming of King Mahabali. If your trip is in December, Cochin carnival takes place during the magical Christmas season and goes all the way into the new year. One of the highlights of this festival is its night beach parties. On New Year’s Eve, there is a colorful parade that carries the statue of Papanai (a representation of Santa Clause) which is taken to the beach and set aflame at midnight.
Kochi is home to the largest number of Kathakali theatres, so immerse yourself in a world of music, dance and drama. A visit to Kerala Fine Arts Complex or Kalikotta, the royal family’s official concert hall, will give you an authentic experience of Kerala’s diverse art forms.
Kochi has strong network of Kerala State Run Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus services that connects from all major towns. You can also hire car or taxi from nearby cities to reach Kochi. The drive to Kochi is scenic, as you get to see the many natural wonders of Kerala.
Kochi is well connected to all the major railway stations in India. Most Kerala bound trains stop at one either of the two stations in Kochi.
Cochin International airport is well connected to all the major cities in India, as well as the world. The main city center is 29km away from the airport.
There are yachts and cruise ships available from Mumbai, Goa, Lakshadweep, Colombo and Male. This makes for a beautiful journey.
Kochi is not considered a pedestrian friendly city; however, Fort Kochi with its colonial style stone pavements offers a conducive place to explore the many sights on foot.
Fort Kochi is a lovely place to cycle around, with a choice of walkways and dedicated tracks.
Kochi offers the convenience of auto rickshaws, which you will find at bus stops and junctions. However, negotiate a fair price with the driver before commencing your journey.
A variety of taxi services such as regular taxis, call taxis and radio taxis will enable you to select the best one for your needs.
You have the option of hiring a private car, as it is recommended not to self-drive due to treacherous road conditions. However, look to hire your car externally as most hotels charge a higher price.
The city offers an efficient bus network with a choice of four buses for you to avail off. This is a cheaper alternative. Regular tickets as well as single cards are available.
For a culturally rich transportation option, opt for the Metro as each station depicts a special Kerala theme.
This port city offers excellent ferry services. For inter-island trips opt for the Ro-Ro ferry service which is cheap, convenient and popular.
You can not only spice up your palate with tamarind and coconut while you are on your trip to Cochin, but also get a soothing view of nature during your Cochin holidays. Recognized as one of the major tourist destinations in India, Cochin tours can be pretty refreshing amidst your strenuous daily schedule.
Cochin travel packages can help you get in touch with the ancient era and be a part of ethnicity as you step into the ancient palaces and museums on your Cochin tour. Connect with multiple cultures at the same time like the Portuguese, Jewish, English, French, Dutch and even Chinese when you go with the Cochin vacation packages.
Be it for a stroll along the marine drive or visiting the beach and churches in the Fort Kochi area, Cochin holiday packages can be delightful to your heart and soul. Don’t forget to experience the relaxing ferry rides across the backwaters when you travel to Cochin. So what are you waiting for? Come and enjoy the brighter side of life here.