Widely known as the ‘Queen of Arabian Sea’, Kochi/Cochin is a paradise for travelers who come in search of wonders. Kochi is one among the top rated international travel destinations where tourists can closely experience the glimpses of pre-historic, historic and modern era. Kochi is in fact the heart of God's own country – Kerala. It is the financial capital of the city with booming IT industry and various other trading endeavors as it is one of the chief port cities in the country. This cosmopolitan city has everything that can attract tourists irrespective of the seasons such as the comforts of a metro city, amazing beauty of nature, incredible culture, and so on. Be it an adventurous trip or a laid back holiday experience, Kochi tourism would never disappoint any of its visitors.
Historical Importance of Kochi
The known history of Kochi dates back to the 14th century, when we were under the colonial rule. In fact Kochi was the first European colony occupied by the Portuguese. After the Portuguese, the city was occupied by Dutch and British respectively, and made it a Princely state. Since it was the major port city, Kochi was considered to be the main center for the spice trade during that period. Greeks, Romans, Jews, Syrians, Arabs and Chinese were the main traders of spices. According to historians, the Kingdom of Kochi came into existence during the 12th century after the Chera Kingdom.
The specialty of this place was that many traders who came to this land, Jews being the prominent ones, later got settled here for various reasons. From the Portuguese rule Kochi went into the hands of the Dutch and later British. The Anglo-Dutch treaty of 1814 forced the Dutch rule to handover Kochi to the British rule. Under the British rule, the modern city started to develop with the large modern port and the largest man-made island called the Willington Island.
During the post independence era, the Kochi Maharaja agreed to join the Indian union and then in the year 1948 the royal state of Travancore-Kochi merged into the newly formed Indian Union. On your Kochi Tour, take the time out and do explore its historical grandeur.
Geographical Importance of Kochi
Kochi is located in the southwest part of the Ernakulam district. The geographic peculiarity of Kochi is that most of the areas in the city are at sea level with 48 kilometers of coastline. Cochin is also beautified with the astounding splendor of backwaters which attracts travelers from around the world. The major parts of the city are surrounded by water bodies and thus there are so many beautiful islands in and around the city to visit.
Because of being a coastal area the weather here is usually humid similar to that of Goa. The presence of Western Ghats on one side helps in getting a good amount of monsoon as well. The usual temperature here varies between 30°C to 35°C through the daytime and 25°C to 28°C through the nights. However the city experiences the best weather from mid September to mid March.
Sightseeing in Kochi
There are a number of places to visit in Cochin to experience the historical, cultural and geographic wonders. For travelers who are in quest of nature’s beauty, places like Cherai Beach, Vypeen Island, Fort Kochi Beach, Kodanad elephant Training Centre, Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary, and Marine Drive are must visits. The Indo-European style of architecture reflected in the old churches and temples of Cochin is a major attraction among visitors who come for Cochin tour. Santa Cruz Basilica, Church of Saint Francis, Vallarpadam Church, Kadamottom Church, St. Antony’s Shrine, Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple, Ernakulathappan Temple, Ettumanoor Shiva Temple, and Poornathrayesa Temple are a few of the most visited sightseeing places for its architectural wonders.
Travelers, who are enthusiastic about the colonial period and wish to closely understand the European inhabited community lifestyle, shall visit places like the Mattancherry Jews Street, Fort Kochi, Willington Island, Bolgatty Palace, Dutch Palace, Bastion Bungalow, VOC Gate, and David Hall and so on.
Apart from these splendid attractions, other places to see in Cochin include Famous art galleries, museums, amusement parks, for its visitors to have a wonderful time in the city.
Things to do in Kochi
Festivals being the major attraction for tourists, plan your Cochin tour to attend events like the Cochin Carnival during the New Year’s time, Onam Festival in the month of August or September, Shivaratri Mahotsavam at the Aluva Shiva temple and so on. Travelers can also experience the spectacular backwaters of Cochin in a grand houseboat ride through the Vembanattu Kayal.
Cochin has many shopping markets and places to satisfy its shopaholic visitors throughout the city. Tourists often buy antiques, traditional jewelries, apparel and spices when they visit Kochi. There are many art galleries, shopping malls, supermarkets, and textile showrooms where you could find all these. The Mattancherry Jews Street is one of the famous places for street shopping in Kochi where one can find anything to everything.
How to reach Kochi
Kochi being one of the main cosmopolitan cities in the country, is well connected with the rest of the country via air, rail, road and water. The Cochin International Airport, Nedumbassery which handles international and domestic flights is just 28 kilometers from the city.
The city is well connected with the rest of India through road transport. There are many major national and state highways which connect the Southern and Northern India.
The Thiruvananthapuram Railway Division under the Southern Railway Zone of Indian Railways connects Kochi to other parts of the country through rail. The Ernakulam Junction and Ernakulam Town are the two major railway stations in the city.
Kochi is one of the safest harbors in the Indian Ocean, which makes it one of the major seaports. Passenger ships to Colombo and Lakshadweep are run from Kochi under the State Water Transport Department.
Travel within the city is also hassle free for tourists as there is comfortable and cost effective public transport facility available from major sightseeing points. Road and water transport facilities are available for visitors to travel in and around the city.