Kochi (colonial name
Cochin) is a vibrant city situated on the south-west coast of the
Indian peninsula in the breathtakingly scenic and prosperous state of
Kerala, hailed as 'God's Own Country'. Its strategic importance over the
centuries is underlined by the sobriquet Queen of the Arabian Sea.
Informally, Cochin is also referred to as the Gateway to Kerala.From time
immemorial, the Arabs, British, Chinese, Dutch, and Portuguese have left
indelible marks on the history and development of Cochin. Over the years,
Cochin has emerged as the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala and
is perhaps the second most important city on the west coast of India
(after Mumbai/Bombay). Cochin is proud of its world class port and
international airport that link it to many major cities worldwide.
This lovely seaside city is flanked by the Western Ghats on the east and
the Arabian Sea on the west. Its proximity to the equator, the sea and the
mountains provide a rich experience of a moderate equatorial
climate.Strictly speaking, Cochin is a small town. But, Cochin has
outgrown its original bounds and is now the general name given to much of
the region adjoining the original town, which now includes Cochin, Fort
Kochi, Mattanchery, Ernakulam and many other nearby towns and villages.
Cochin is situated in Ernakulam district in the state of Kerala. Ernakulam
is also the name of a town - the administrative capital of Ernakulam
district - but, for all practical purposes Ernakulam and Cochin,
generally, refer to the same place.
Kochi is the arguably the ideal starting point for exploring the
unfathomable diversity and beauty of Kerala, rated in the top three
tourist destinations by the World Travel & Tourism Council and featured in
National Geographic Traveler's '50 greatest places of a lifetime'.This
site is an attempt to capture the beauty and vigour of this city and
provide as much information as possible to people who wish to know more or
visit Cochin. This site will use Cochin and Kochi interchangeably since
they refer to the same place. Kochi is the original name of the city,
while Cochin is the colonial name. Slightly larger version of some of the
images can be found in the Cochin album or Kerala album . All hyperlinks
marked with a will be loaded in a new browser window. Suggestions and
comments on any relevant matter pertaining to this site or its content are
Area 95 sq. km.
Population 1.35 million (2001)
Location 9° 58"N, 76° 17"E
Time Zone Indian Standard Time (IST) - UTC +5:30
Altitude Sea level
Rainfall 350cm annually
Temperature 20°C-35°C (68°F-95°F)
Seasons Monsoon season: June - September (heavy rains)
Mild winter: October - February (cool, dry with occassional rain)
Summer: March - May (hot and humid)
Languages State language: Malayalam ,English is widely understood.
Hindi and Tamil are used occasionally.
Religions Almost all major religions are represented including
Main Occupation Trading, fishing, heavy industry and information
Airport code IATA: COK, ICAO: VOCC
Telephone +91 484
Emergency numbers Police: 100, Fire: 101, Ambulance: 102.
Power supply 230V, 50Hz
Socket types: C, D and M
Currency Indian Rupee (INR), 1 Rupee = 100 paise.
Approximate rates: $1 = Rs 45, £1 = Rs 75, €1 = Rs 60
Cochin is a seaside town
just 10 degrees north of the equator. Hence, it is a moderately hot and
humid place round the year. Heavy showers with thunder and lightning are
experienced between June-September due to the south-west monsoon. The
north-west monsoon brings light rainfall during October-December. December
to February is comparatively cooler than the rest of the year. The average
annual rainfaill is about 350cm, most of which is contributed by the
south-west monsoon. During the summer, March-June, the temperature hits a
usual high of 35°C (95°F) while the mild winter high is 25°C (77°F). The
tempeature range is usually 20°C-35°C (68°F-95°F).
Chinese Fishing Nets,
Fort Kochi-The chinese fishing nets (Cheenavala) are distinctly unique
to Cochin. It is believed that traders from the court of the Chinese ruler
Kublai Khan introduced these nets here. Oddly, these nets are found only
in Kochi, outside China! Many fishermen earn their livelihood by fishing
using these massive nets. A whole stretch of the coast along Fort Kochi
and Vypeen are dotted with these nets.
Fort Kochi beach-A stroll along the beach, particularly at sunset
with the chinese fishing nets and sailing ships in the background, is a
memorable experience. Many European style bungalows can be seen along the
shoreline. The coastal stretch has loads of small stalls, which make on
demand mouth-watering traditional cuisines using freshly caught fish.
St. Francis Church, Fort Kochi-It is the oldest church built by
Europeans in India. On his 3rd visit to Kerala, Vasco da Gama, the
Portuguese trader who reached India from Europe by sea, fell ill and died
in Kochi. He was buried in the St. Francis Church. Later his remains were
taken back to Portugal. In spite of that, his burial spot inside the
church has been clearly marked out.
Vasco House, Fort Kochi-Vasco house, located on Rose Street, is
believed to be one of the oldest Portuguese houses in India. Vasco da Gama
is believed to have lived here. This house features European glass paned
windows and verandahs.
Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi-The original church, situated in
Fort Kochi, was built by the Portuguese in 1505 and named as a cathedral
in 1558. The British colonists destroyed the cathedral in 1795. The
current structure was built in 1905 and raised to the status of a basilica
by Pope John Paul II in 1984.
Jewish Synagogue and Jew Town, Mattancherry-The synagogue, built in
1568, is magnificently decorated by Chinese tiles and Belgian chandeliers.
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
was originally built by the Portuguese. Later, in 17th century, the Dutch
modified it and presented it to the Raja of Kochi. Coronation of many
Rajas of Kochi were held here. The palace has a fine collection of mural
paintings depicting scenes from the Hindu epics Mahabharatha and Ramayana.
The palace is located in Mattancherry.
Bolghatty Palace, Bolghatty Island-This Dutch palace is situated on
Bolghatty island which is just a short boat ride away from the mainland.
The palace has been converted to a hotel run by the Kerala Tourism
Development Corporation (KTDC). The island has a tiny golf course and the
panoramic views of the port and the harbour, makes it an attractive picnic
spot. Frequent boat service is available from the mainland.
Hill Palace, Tripunithura-Built in the 19th century by the Raja of
Kochi, this palace served as the seat of the Raja of the Kochi province.
The palace has been converted into a museum displaying a fine collection
of articles showing the wealth and splendour of the Rajas of Kochi,
including the thone and the crown. The musuem also houses a large
collection of archaeological findings. Hill Palace is located 16km east of
Cochin in Tripunithura, a satellite town of Cochin.
Palliport (Pallipuram) Fort-It is the oldest surviving European
fort in India, built by the Portuguese in 1503. Its situated in Pallipuram
on Vypeen island.
Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary-Mangalavanam is a protected bird
sanctuary situated right in the heart of Kochi city. It is the home of
many exotic and rare varieties of migratory and resident birds.
Mangalavanam is located right next to the High Court of Kerala.
Museum of Kerala History, Kalamassery-The museum has on display
spectacular audio-visual exhibits depicting the history and culture of
Kerala along with many life size statues of many famous personalities and
several paintings depicting Kerala history.
Parikshith Thampuran Museum-This Rajas of Cochin used to conduct
their durbars in this impressive building located within the Durbar Hall
grounds. It was later 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. All
the exhibits of the museum have been moved to the Hill Palace museum.
Cherai Beach-This lovely beach ideal for swimming is located on the
north end of Vypeen island, one of the many small islands just off the
mainland. The beach is lined by gorgeous coconut groves and paddy fields.
Vypeen can be reached by land or by boat.
Veega Land-Veega Land is South India's largest amusement park
situated 14kms from Cochin. The park includes a range of attractions
including mini castles, water theme park, ferris wheel, rides, slides,
shows and fountains. Kids and adults alike can enjoy the fun and
Marine Drive-A stroll along the long tree-lined coastal pathway
that lines the backwater is well worth the time spent, especially late
afternoon or dusk. The bustling backwaters, dotted with fishing boats,
speedboats, ships, tankers and passenger boats, can be observed from this
walkway that lines the coast.
Willingdon Island-This man-made island was created in 1933 by sand
dredged while deepening the backwaters for the Cochin Port, under the
direction of Sir Robert Bristow. A while back the Airport, Sea port and
the railway terminus (Cochin Harbour Terminus) were situated on this
island. Today, it is the home of the Cochin Port and the headquarters of
the Sourthern Naval Command. The airport continues to be the naval air
station, while the main airport has been moved to Nedumbassery, 30kms
north-east of Cochin. Most of the trains now terminate at Ernakulam
Junction instead of Cochin Harbour Terminus.
Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kaloor-The Nehru stadium in Kaloor, has a
seating capacity of 60,000 in multiple tiers. It is the fourth largest
stadium in India and the largest in Kerala. The ground is lit by a set of
unique convex pylon floodlights that arch over the ground. The stadium is
home to both the Kerala Ranji cricket team as well as FC Kochi football
Things to do
backwaters separating Ernakulam from Fort Kochi and Mattanchery are dotted
with many small and mid-sized islands. A boat ride through the backwaters
is an unforgettable experience.
Kathakali performance-See India Foundation (Kalathiparambil Road,
near the Ernakulam Junction railway station), The Cochin Cultural Centre (Manikath
Road, behind Medical Trust Hospital) and Art Kerala (Kannanthodathu Lane,
near Valanjambalam Temple) organises Kathakali performances every evening.
Kathakali is a traditional danceform of Kerala and the impressive facial
expressions, hand gestures and dance moves will leave one spellbound.
Kochi - the name-Like
most cities in India, Kochi has a very long and illustrious history. But,
the origin of the name is still shrouded in mystery. Many theories exist,
but none are strong enough to be conclusive. Some historians believe that
Kochi is a modified form of the word 'Cochazhi' which in Malayalam means
'small sea'. Others are of the opinion that 'Kochi' was named so by the
Chinese. According to them, traders from the court of the Chinese ruler
Kublai Khan, gave Kochi the name of their homeland. The peculiar Chinese
fishing nets found here, the only place outside China where it has been
spotted, can possibly be attributed to the heavy Chinese influence the
city has had in the past. Still another theory is that Kochi is derived
from the word 'Kaci' meaning 'harbour'.
earned a significant position on the world trading routes after the world
famous port at Kodugallur (Cranganore) was destroyed by massive flooding
of the river Periyar in 1340 AD. Records show that Kodugallur (Cranganore)
was known to the Arabs and Chinese traders for centuries. After the
Kodugallur port was destroyed, the forces of nature created a natural
harbour at the nearby city - Kochi. Kochi started to grow and soon
developed into a major trading point dealing in pepper, cardamom,
cinnamon, cloves, etc., which were and still are famous for their
quality.The Arabs, British, Chinese, Dutch, Italians and Portuguese helped
Kochi emerge as a bustling centre of commercial activity, connecting the
mainland to the rest of the world. Kochi owes a lot to great travellers,
scholars and traders like Fa Hien, Vasco da Gama, Sir Robert Bristow, etc.
to her growth and prosperity. The English called Kochi 'Mini England', the
Dutch called it 'Homely Holland' and the Portuguese called it 'Little
Lisbon' highlighting Kochi's prominence. Italian traveller Nicolas Conti
wrote in his travelogue: "China is where you make your money, then Cochin
is surely the place to spend it."
Local and foreign rulers-Over the centuries, the princely state of
Kochi came under numerous empires. Over time, the original local rulers
were controlled by the Portuguese, Dutch , British and even the Zamorin of
Kozhikode (Calicut). Around 1530 AD, under the Portuguese, Kochi grew into
a prosperous town. The ruler of Kochi gave the Portuguese permission to
build a fort at Kochi called 'Manuel Kotta' (Fort Emmanuel) - which is the
first European fort in Kochi.The Dutch invasion began around 1653 and by
1663 they emerged victorious over the Portuguese. The Dutch then built
Fort Williams here. The Dutch were defeated by the great rulers of Mysore
- Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. Finally, when the whole nation lost to the
British, Kochi too became a part of the British empire in 1814. The
magnificent forts built here were destroyed by the British. Under the
supervision of Sir Robert Bristow, Kochi was developed into a major
harbour and Willingdon Island was created. Willingdon Island now
accommodates the Cochin Port, Naval Airport and the headquarters of the
Southern Naval Command apart from a host of other trading and commercial
India became independent in 1947, the state of Kerala was formed in 1956
by the unification of provinces Kochi, Malabar and Travancore. The
Corporation of Kochi was formed in 1967 by the merger of the towns - Fort
Kochi, Mattanchery, Ernakulam and many nearby villages. Growth in trade
and commercialisation has led to the rise of Kochi as the most important
city in Kerala and one of the major cities on the west coast of India.
Its strategic location
and commercial importance has led to an extensive travel network linking
Kochi to the rest of the country and the world by air, rail, road and sea.
(Airport Code: COK) has a world-class modern international airport,
located 30kms north-east of the city, with regular flights to major cities
in India. Cochin is also 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. Airlines operating
from Cochin include Air Deccan, Air India, Air India Express, Air Sahara,
Emirates, Go Air, Gulf Air, Indian Airlines, Jet Airways, Kingfisher
Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Mahan Air, Oman Air, Saudi Arabian Airlines,
SilkAir, SriLankan Airlines, and Qatar Airways, making it the fifth
busiest airport in India. The International and Domestic terminals are
located right next to each other. The airport buildings have been built in
traditional Kerala architectural style. It is the first Indian airport to
be built using private investment. Cochin airport is expanding at a very
fast pace. For regular flight arrivals and departures, follow the links
below. The airport is also used extensively by cargo and chartered
aircrafts. Prepaid taxis are available from the airport and can be booked
from within the arrival hall.
Ernakulam) are connected to the rest of India by an extensive network of
rails.There are three main railway stations in Cochin: Ernakulam Junction
(main station), Ernakulam Town and Cochin Harbour Terminus. Many important
trains start from here and many others from/to the south of kerala stop at
Road-An extensive network of national/state highways and local
roads link Kochi to rest of the country. Three important National
Highways(NH) pass through/start from Kochi, apart from many state roads.
NH 47 from Kanyakumari to Salem pass right through the heart of Kochi
while 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
purchased from private coach operators operating from Jos Junction in the
heart of the city.
Sea/Backwaters-Kochi has a magnificent all weather natural port
that is used regulary by large cargo ships. Regular boat service to places
like Kottayam, Kumarakom and Alleppey are available through the scenic
backwaters of Kerala. The outlying islands that make up Cochin, like
Vypeen, Mattancherry, Bolghatty, etc are connected to the mainland by
regular public and private boats plying from the main boat jetty off Park
Avenue and from the boat jetty near the High Court. 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 straightforward.
Cheap and affordable private buses (bright red) will take you to most
parts of the city, but they may not necessarily stop near a location of
interest. Tickets must be bought on board. Short distances can be covered
in an autorickshaw. Taxis or prebooked taxis are generally recommended for
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