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Shubhyatra >> Kerala Yatra >> Cochin (Kochi)

Cochin (Kochi)

District : Emakulam
Location : Ernakulam in Kerala, 220 km from Trivandrum
Known As : Lagoon's Country.
Best Time To Visit : Post Monsoon, September to May.

Cochin (Kochi) - The Lake of The Lagoon

Kochi Backwaters - Kerala
Kochi Backwaters - Kerala

To See : Fort Kochi and Mattancherry, Santa Cruz Basilica, Princess Street, St. Francis Church, Vasco da Gama Square, Dutch Cemetery, Cochin Carnival.
Most Famous For : St. Francis Church, Vasco da Gama Square and Sea Beaches.
Don't Miss : Fishes, Prawns that are the famous Taste Buds of Cochin.
Must Experience : Fishing with Chinese Fishing Nets – a huge Cantilevered Fishing Net.
Getting Around : Veegaland – 24 km, North Paravur – 48 km, Kaladi – 45 km, Kodanad – 45 km, Bhootathankettu – 50 km, Malayattur – 47 kms, Pazhur – 25 km, Aluva – 21 km.
To Shop : Mattancherry and Jew Street – Antique Items, Spices, Coffee, Bric-a-Brac. Malabar Spices Shop – Fresh Spices.
Getting There : Air - Cochin International Airport at Nedumbassery (34 km 45 mins).
Rail - TrivandruErnakulam Junction. Lakshadweep Express connects Kochi to Mumbai.
Road - Ernakulam is on N-H – 47, N-H - 47 A leads to Kochi, N - H – 7 from Bangalore, N - H – 17 from Kozhikode.
Inside Tip : Take a Ferry Cruise on a long Boat from Ernakulam to Islands of Kothad located in the Backwaters.
Important Distances : 218 km N of Trivandrum, 223 km S of Kozhikode, 531 km SW of Bangalore, 731 kms from Chennai, Palakkad – 146 kms, Alleppey – 63 kms, Kollam - 147 kms, Thrissur – 79 km.
Where to Eat : Grand Hotel Restaurant – Seafood like Shrimp, Crisp-Fried Mussel, Grilled Prawn, Lobster and Squid. Nalukettu on Chittoor Road, Krishna Inn – Warriam Road – Specialize in Kerala Cuisines like Appam – Stew or Appam-Chicken Curry.
Staying Options : Fort Kochi, Brunton Boatyard, Ballard Bungalow, Malabar House, Fort House, The Old Courtyard.

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" Truth is sometimes, not just stranger than fiction,
but more colourful, intriguing and real.
History proves this. As does Kochi "
-- Anonymous

One of the most famous tourist attraction in Cochin is the natural harbour on the Arabian Sea coast, which Kochi likes to show off in the evenings. That is when the lights around the harbour and the seafront start twinkling and ferry you to an almost fairytale like atmosphere. The fairytale milieu suits Kochi impeccably since it is one of the most laid-back of Kerala cities. A city that despite being the commercial hub - handling spices, rubber, coir and fish products - is a self-assured juxtaposition of both the past and the present. Till recently, Kochi was Cochin, and only half as frenetic. It was a lagoon that made Kochi a cherished tourist destination as far back as the early 16th century and it is the same lagoon that makes Kochi one of the nation's busiest ports now. It was an eponymous flood that transformed Kochi's destiny by turning it into a natural harbour. Beside that, it also added gems of islands to the pendant of Ernakulam, thus gifting it an anodyne aroma of sea-air, an idiosyncratic charm of her own. With this beautiful necklace around her neck, this ancient port, eventually, came to be known as the Queen of Arabian Sea.

Preface of The Glorious Harbour City

Travel to the city, Kochi, that has moved so breezily over the chapters of history, that it didn't even puffed its pages. Once upon a time what you see today was little more than a fishing hamlet. The inescapable aroma of spices and sandalwood together with the strategic location on the shores of Arabian Sea, drew many Europeans - Portuguese, Dutch and later the British - here who over the course of several millennia, remodeled Kochi into a melting pot of different cultures; a prodigious blend of tradition and modernity. This is reflected in the buildings and structures all around the old quarters, making a stage where you can find history in every step.

How To Hunt The Hyped Attractions

The most important heritage sight-seeing is in Fort Kochi and Mattancherry. You will need a couple of days of leisurely walks to take in this heritage quarter. Visit Fort Kochi, the single most important itinerary in Kochi's promotional kit and a précis for the city's mix of Portuguese, Arab, Dutch and British antecedents. Housing the first European township, Fort Kochi over the sands of time played the fascinating roles of a major military base, shipbuilding centre, a cultural hub, and a centre for Christianity, all in one.

Drive to Rampart Road, located towards south of Fosse street to reach the Portuguese-built five centuries old Santa Cruz Basilica. Its Gothic facade with soaring spires is imposing, but it is the interiors that are truly impressive.wander through the Princess Street, one of the oldest in Fort Kochi, and see the colossal mansions created in colonial style, standing solitary with their peeling pastel, bronze-stucco walls and flowerpot-laden windowsills. Catch the fresh aroma of the next-morning's loaves prepared in the bakery down the street.

Bolghatty Palace , Kochi - Kerakla
Bolghatty Palace , Kochi - Kerala

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Reveal The Magic of Golden Sands At Kochi Beach

A short walk from Princess Street will fetch you to the Vasco da Gama Square. Just before the beach, you can see huge cantilevered Chinese fishing nets, are found only in Kochi, outside China! It is believed that traders from the court of the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan introduced these nets here. Walk along the shores during dusk and dawn and you can see how the bamboo-and-teak contraption is lowered and the catch hauled in. Walk farther to reach the sun-kissed sands of Kochi Beach with a pretty lighthouse at one end of it. Recline on the white sands and watch ships proceeding towards Lakshadweep, until their black shadow blends with the horizon. Trace their last shadow and you will be looking at the Bolgatty Island, known for its palace of historical importance. The Bolgatty Palace Hotel - operated by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation - with its honeymoon cottages and small putting green, is irresistible to international yachtsmen and holiday-makers alike.

The Fragrance of The Jewish Community on The Streets of Kochi

Carving their own niche on the space of Kochi, the Jewish community has made the time stop here at the Jew Street. Today, with most of their former inhabitants living in Israel, the quondam residences of rabbis and traders are shuttered. But still their fretwork arches - often inscribed with a star of David - together with their once audacious blue and green facades, create an impressive sight. If you continue walking through the cobbled street, crossing several blocks en route, eventually you will come across the wrought-iron gates of the 400-year old Pardesi synagogue.

Said to be the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations, Pardesi literally means a "foreigner" in Hindi and accordingly, the Pardesi Synagogue literally means a synagogue of foreigners. Within the scientifically curved brass coloums and intricately carved teak ark, the Pardesi Synagogue houses the Jewish Scrolls of the Law, Belgian crystal chandeliers and Torah crowns of solid gold set with precious gems. One thing you can't overlook is the 45-ft clock tower with numerals in Hebrew, Latin, Malayalam and Arabic, depicted on its four faces.

Stuff Your Bags With Kochi Shopping

Kerala and Kochi have a lot to offer in shopping prospects befitting every pockets and needs. Take a tour of Kochi and look specially for cane, bamboo and jute handicrafts Kochi is known for. Visit Mattancherry and you can pick up quaint antique items, spices, coffee and tea besides the usual souvenir bric-a-brac. Don't forget to look for door jambs, old mirror frames, metal locks, and early 20th century ceremic and metal utensils. Fro spices, just follow your nose and watch out for the pushcarts and trucks bulging with bags of aromatic condiments being wheeled in and out of decorated godowns. For getting gold and silver jewellery, either pure or studded with precious/semi-precious stones, the main road running through the heart of Ernakulam should be the preffered destination. Interestingly, almost every swank jewellery saloonon MG Road faces a bank, which among other things also offer 'gold loans'!

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Boat Cruise , Kochi - Kerakla
Boat Cruise , Kochi - Kerala

Kerala Tourism Highlights Organised Boat Cruise

If one is interested in a packaged trip around the city, you can go for the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) conducted sight-seeing tours by boat twice everyday. The tour starts from the Jetty, behind Greater Cochin Development Authority Shopping Complex on Shangmugham road, and covers more or less all the famous tourist pads of the city. Tourists can also enjoy backwater cruises through the Kerala countryside. This is an amazing way to discover the real flavour of Kerala as it provides a enthralling experience of the village life and industry. The tours are conducted on country boats and the fare includes car transfer from/to Kochi.

Jet Set Go

Kochi's stragetic location and commerial importance on the world map has led to an extensive travel network linking the Queen of the Arabian Sea to the rest of the country and the globe by air, rail, road and sea. Cochin/Kochi (Airport Code: COK) is a world-class modern international airport, located 30 km NE of Ernakulam downtown, beside NH 47 (Kochi-Coimbatore-Chennai). Transfer to the city is available with pre-paid taxi services. An extensive network of national/state highways and local roads link Kochi to rest of the country. Moreover, NH 47 from Kanyakumari to Salem pass right through the heart of the city while NH 17 to Mumbai and NH 49 to Madurai (in Tamil Nadu) starts from Kochi itself.

Local commutation mainly depends upon the cheap and affordable private bus services (painted in bright red) regulated by KRSTC. Most of these services start from and terminate at downtown Jos Junction on MG Road. Remember they have fixed stops and may not necessarily stop near a location of interest. Tickets must be bought on board. For short distances you can go for an autorickshaw.

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Top 5 Reasons To Visit Kochi

Kochi - Kerala

Explore The Queen of Arabian Sea
Plan a holiday trip to Kochi, the breathtakingly beautiful Queen of Arabian Sea. Apart from being the most cosmopolitan city of Kerala, Kochi (or Cochin) also flaunts one of the finest natural harbours of the world.

The Chinese Nets of Fortune
Enjoy a Kochi tour and watch fishermen tug at the huge Chinese fishing nets with their huge haul. These nets that droop from lofty bamboo poles were believed to be brought here by traders from the court of Kublai Khan, the Mongolian king. Capture some scenic sunset moments with the silhouettes of these nets in the backdrop.

Chant A Prayer At The Old Synagogue
The 500-year old synagogue in Kochi is bedecked with mid-18th century handpainted Cantonese tiles. Hebrew inscriptions on stone slabs, ancient scripts on copper plates and great scrolls of the Old Testament are preserved here.

Bite A Fresh Bread
Wander along the Princess Street, one of the oldest in Fort Kochi, and see the colossal mansions created in colonial style, standing solitary with their peeling pastel, bronze-stucco walls and flowerpot-laden windowsills. Catch the fresh aroma of the next-morning's loaves prepared in the bakery down the street

Try Coconut Hair Oil
The secret of a Malayali women's long, black, lustrous hair could be yours too. Coconut oil is considered the best nutrient for hair and a coolant for the head. In Kerala, both men and women massage oil on their heads before a bath.

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