Kerala travel is incomplete without a visit to Kochi, the Queen of Arabian Sea. A cluster of islands, Kochi is embraced by the Arabian Sea which wins a place in the National Geographic’s list of ‘50 greatest places of a lifetime’. Located at the heart of Kerala, Kochi (also known as Cochin) is visited by the foreign tourists for its cosmopolitan atmosphere, beaches and backwaters, age-old monuments and natural bounties. Kochi backwaters are always an attraction to the tourists. Since a long time Kochi is the busiest harbor in Kerala and the foreign merchants-- the British, the Dutch, the Portuguese—ruled this fishing village of Kerala. So still a cosmopolitan atmosphere is seen in Kochi.
Now Kochi is developing into an IT hub of Kerala and the international airport of Kochi is its pride. Kochi is visited mostly as a backwater destination in Kerala.
Best time to visit :
As Kochi is located on the edge of the Arabian Sea, the climate is pleasant throughout the year. June to August, Kochi gets heavy rainfall, so one should avoid this period. The best time to visit Kochi is from the months of November to February.
How to Reach :
The International Airport at Nedumbassery is just half-an hour drive from Kochi city.
The Kerala State transport located near the Kochi railway station has bus service to major cities of Kerala and other southern cities like Madras and Bangalore.
One can reach Kochi traveling from two railway junctions-Ernakulam town and Ernakulam junction. The latter junction has train service to the North and South cities of India.
As a city of kerala, Kochi is also teeming with its rich cultural life. Like other places of Kerala, Kochi has also rich traditions of dance, sculptures, temple architecture, martial arts, and handicraft items. As it is a cosmopolitan city one will see here culture of various religions-Muslim, Hindu, Christian, etc.
The local artisan of Kochi is good in making of metalware, camel-bone carvings, wood carvings, articles made of coconut shells, bamboo cane, embroidered screw pine mats; grass mats; and several other types of handicrafts. The idyllic villagers lead a colorful life in Kochi. Kochi cuisine is also rich and varied in types.
Kochi travel weaves the fairs and festivals of the city to offer a real travel experience to the tourists.
Once it was celebrated to commemorate the legendary victory of the Raja of Kochi. Now it is a great festival in Kochi which falls in the months of August or September.
Cochin Carnival :
It is the most colorful festival in Kochi held every year during the last week of December. The whole city wears a new look in this carnival as all participate in this festival with great enthusiasm. The shops and houses are decorated white paper buntings. It features competition like tug-of-war, bicycle races and beach volley-ball and display of firework. A tour to Kochi, Kerala can be mesmerizing if one explores this carnival.
Indira Gandhi Boat Race :
The Indira Gandhi Boat Race is a boat race of the month of December held as a part of the tourism fair. It attracts large number of foreign tourists.
Jewish Festival :
The Jewish people of Kochi celebrate Jewish festival which is held every year during the months of September/ October. This festival is held as a sign of liberation of Jews from Egyptian slavery.
Activities in Kochi can be varied as it has lots of resources to thrill a tourist. Kochi travel is a complete one if one experiences the following activities.
Backwater cruise :
Backwater cruise is not to be a missed activity in Kochi. While in Kochi one must explore all the travel attractions of Kochi cruising on a boat. Houseboat cruising is itself a great fun to the tourists. The backwater canals of Kochi take one to a beautiful world of nature.
Shopping at Kochi :
Shopping menaces can have nice time at Kochi as it is the shopper’s paradise. One can purchase antiques, artifacts made of coconut shells, bamboo, cane, straw etc from Kochi shops. Khadi and handicraft shops are available in Kochi. One can shop at Broadway, Convent road and MG road.
Fun at Veegaland theme park :
While in Kochi one must trip to Veegaland, a water theme amusement park situated at Pallikkara. One can have fun at this water theme restaurant.
Experience Ayurveda :
Ayurveda, the healing Indian medical therapy are found in Kochi as it has a few ayurveda treatment centers. The Cochin Ariya Vaidya Sala is the most prominent one and other hotels and resorts like Hotel Taj Malabar, Birds Lagoon, Marari Beach Resort have ayurveda centers.
Kochi cuisine :
One must savor the delicious vegetarian cuisine of Kochi as Kochi cuisine has some refinement. The sea food- Meen Vevivhathu, Meen Pollichathu and other prawn and crab delicacies are some popular Kochi sea foods.
Tourist Places in Kochi
Kochi travel attractions are varied; a tourist can explore all the colonial buildings of Kochi. Kochi backwaters and beach also are fun to the tourists. The major Kochi tourists’ attractions are :
1Mattancherry Palace (Dutch Palace) :
Kochi was once the business center for the Portuguese traders; hence it has a witness to it. The Dutch palace was originally built by the Portuguese in the year 1557 and it became Dutch place when the Dutch renovated it later. Later it was a gift to the king of Kochi. One must visit this palace to see its various antique treasures from mural paintings to Dutch maps of Kochi. Some relics of royal life are also preserved in this palace.
2Jew Town :
The Jew Town, only of its kind in India is located at Mattancherry; it is till an abode to the Jewish families. The Jewish synagogue is located at this town which has Hebrew stone inscriptions. One must explore here the ornate chandeliers and old clock tower. It is a tourist spot as the shops here sell Kerala artifacts and spices.
3Chinese Fishing Nets :
The ballooning Chinese Fishing Nets is a prime attraction of Kochi. Though it is a Chinese type, yet it is found in Kochi only now.
4Bastion Bungalow :
Now the residence the sub-collector of Kochi, this structure is worthvisiitng for its Indo-European style of architecture, and its tiled roof and verandah on the first floor are built from wood.
5Hill Palace :
It is now a museum perched on a hillock amidst acres of greenery, fountains and ponds. It houses wide variety of artifacts --works of art, weapons and ornaments, horse-driven carriages. The royal throne is decked with precious gems and stones. It also houses sculptures made of Plaster-of-Paris, ceramic vases from China and archeological remains of the Harappa and Mohenjodaro.
6Marine Drive :
The most beautiful place for couples and youngsters, Marine Drive is a happening place in Kochi. The rainbow bridge and the promenade in one side of it add beauty to the place. This is the best place for hang-out overlooking the sea life, happenings of chic life.
7Cherai Beach :
A beach of coconut groves and idyllic villages is an ideal beach to laze. Tourists frolic this beach for its natural bounties and beach fun.
8Kochi Backwaters :
Cruising down on the backwaters of Kochi, one can explore the true charm of Kochi. Booking a house boat at a boat jetty one can visit the Kochi Harbor, Wellington Island, Jewish Synagogue, Fort Kochi, Bolgatti Island, etc. Kochi travel always include backwater cruise on the canals.
Ernakulam (Cochin) Pilgrim Centre
Ernakulam district of Kerala has a few travel attractions, the religious centers are one of the prominent among them. The religious centers of Ernakulam are discussed below
1Jewish Synagogue :
Jewish Synagogue is the oldest synagogue built in 1568. The main attractions of the synagogue are 18th century hand printed, willow patterned flow tiles from china, a clock tower, Hebrew inscriptions on stone slabs, ancient scripts on copper plates, the great scrolls of the Old Testament, etc. There are also gold and silver crowns preserved in this synagogue.
2Kalady - Adi Sankaracharya :
It is located on the banks of River Periyar, which is the birthplace of Adi Sankaracharya, the great Indian philosopher of the 8th century. A shrine is here dedicated to Adi Guru in the name of Dakshimurthy and a temple dedicated to Goddess Sharada. A Sri Krishna temple is also located near it. A crocodile Ghat is located here. Adi Sankaracharya took his vows of renunciation at this Ghat.
3St. Thomas :
It is a famous church located 47 kms away from Kochi. It is a catholic church perched on the 609 feet high Malayattur hill dedicated to St. Thomas, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ. It is visited by thousands of devotees during the annual festival "Malayaattur Perunnal", which is held in the months of March- April.
4Munnikkal Guhalayam :
Munnikkal Guhalayam is perched on the top of a hill. It is believed that it was the residence of sage Jangaman before 2000 years ago. A famous temple of Lord Murugan is located in close proximity.
5St. Francis Church, Fort Cochin :
St. Francis Church, the first European Church in India was built by Portuguese in memory of Franciscan Friars in 1503. The protestant Dutch restored it and later it was converted to an Anglican church by the British in 1795. The Portuguese navigator Vaso-Da-Gama was buried here.
The other religious centers located at Ernakulam are Pazhur, Santhanagopala Krishnaswamy Temple and Vamanamoorth Temple.
Idukki Pilgrim Centre
Idukki district of Kerala has some renowned pilgrimage centers which attract the tourists throughout the year.
This is a famous Christian pilgrim centre and on the first Sunday after Easter is celebrated here by the Christian devotees. This Kaveri Mount matches the Mount Cavery where Jesus Christ was crucified. It is located at a high altitude.
2Mangala Devi Temple :
The ancient temple, 15Kms from Thekkady, is hidden in the dense woods at the top of a peak 1337 m above sea level. The temple is built in the traditional Kerala Style of architecture; visitors are allowed here only on Chitra Pournami festival day.
3Munnar CSI Christ Church :
The history of Munnar CSI Christ Church is unique which begins with a cemetery. This church was handed over to North Kerala Diocese by the British in 1981. It is now
Head quarters of CSI Munnar Pastorate.
4St. George C.S.I. Church :
St. George C.S.I. Church is the oldest church in Idukki and it was built by the British. The founder of this church is Rev. Henry Baker Jr. It is revered church for the Europeans as many British planters were buried at the cemetery of this church.
More great destinations can be found in the Explore India page.
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