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Kochi (India)

Travel Guide Asia India Kerala Kochi

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Introduction

Chinese Fishing Nets

Chinese Fishing Nets

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Kochi is the new name of Cochin, a jewel in the crown of Kerala with its European heritage and true cosmopolitan temperament. A boat ride across the breathtaking blue lagoons and backwaters offers a glimpse of Kochi's rural life and its true beauty.
The port city of Cochin (Kochi), rightly known as the Queen of Arabia reflects the essense of Kerala perfectly. With a rich past and a bustling present, it has been the business hub of the region since the very early days. Cochin consists of mainland Ernakulam, the islands of Willington, Bolgatty and Gundu in the harbour, Fort Cochin and Mattancherry on the southern peninsula, and Vypeen Island north of Fort Cochin, all was linked by ferry but now some islands have bridges. The influence of Chinese, Jews, Arabs and Europeans is evident in Cochin and its people. The oldest church in India, 500-year-old Portugese houses, old tiled houses built in the Chinese pagoda style, the famous Chinese fishing nets, a Jewish community whose roots go back to the Diaspora, synagogues and mosques all tell the fascinating story of this harbour. Cochin is an attractive city with serene creak & lagoons overhung with feathery coconut palms and picturesque islands.

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Sights and Activities

St. Francis Church

The St. Francis Church was originally dedicated to Santo Antonio, the patron Saint of Portugal. It was built by the Portuguese in 1510. It is the first church to have been built in the new European influenced tradition. Vasco da Gama who arrived in India at Cochin in 1502 and died here in 1524. He was originally buried in this church cemetery and his gravestone can still be seen here, although his remains were later taken to Lisbon. The church was renamed as St.Francis in 1663, and the Dutch converted it to a protestant Church and substantially modified it. The Church was under the control of Dutch until 1795. In 1804 it became a Anglican Church. The congregation joined the church of South India in 1949.

Chinese Fishing Nets

The Chinese fishing nets found here are the only ones of its kind in India. It is believed that traders from the court of the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan introduced these nets here. These nets are set up on Teak wood and bamboo poles.

Jewish Synagogue

The Jewish Synagogue is an imposing structure which was built in 1568, when the Jews settled in Mattancherry, after their expulsion from Rahabi, who built a clock tower and paved the floor synagogue with hand painted willow pattern tiles brought from China. Its most important relics are the impressive copper plates recording king Bhaskara Ravi Varma's 4th century decree that guaranteed the Jewish settlers domain over Cranganore (Kodungalore). The Synagogue itself is elaborately decorated with crystal chandeliers and carved wood with blue and white ceramic tiles

Mattancherry Palace

The Mattancherry Palace was built by the Portuguese in the middle of the 16th century. This structure was taken over in 1663 by the Dutch, who added some improvements before presenting it to the Rajas of Cochin. The rajas also made more improvements. This palace is notable for some of the best mythological murals in India, particularly in the bed chambers. In that room one can see the entire story of Ramayana on the walls. The palace also contains rare examples of traditional Kerala flooring, which looks like polished black marble but is actually a mixture of burned coconut shells, charcoal, lime, plant juices and egg whites.

Dance Performance of "Mohiniattam"and dinner

At the Taj Malabar Hotel - Mohiniattam is derived from the words "mohini" And "attam". Mohini means a beautiful woman and attam means dance. So this dance is an exquisite feminine style with undulating flow of body movements. This dance form is done by women and is a gentle dance form with great fluidity.The theme of the dance is generally "sringara" or love. Delicate themes of love are performed with suggestive abhinaya, subtle stures, rhythmic footwork and lilting music. After the performance relish a traditional meal “Saapadu” which includes various delicacies having flavour and aroma, spice and subtlety a wholesomeness that is exquisite on plate and light on stomach, define Kerala’s culinary tradition.

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Getting There

By Plane

Cochin International Airport (IATA: COK, ICAO: VOCI), which is about 25 kilometres (15 mi) north of the city, handles both domestic and international flights. It is the largest airport of Kerala, and one of the busiest in India. Flights are available to a wide range of destinations including to Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Goa, Sharjah, Jeddah, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Kuwait, Bahrain, Muscat, Doha, Kuala Lumpur, Dammam and Singapore.

By Train

There are two main railway stations: Ernakulam Junction and the Ernakulam Town (locally known as the 'South' and 'North' railway stations respectively). Both of these railway stations are in Ernakulam with the historical part of the city, Fort Kochi, accessible by ferry.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Abad Airport HotelOpp. Cochin International Airport, NedumbasseryHotel-
Abad HarmoniaChowra P O, TrivandumHotel-
Baby's Home stayS.Thamaraparambu 1/1581AGuesthouse94
Birds LagoonThattekkad P.O, Palamattom KothamangalamHotel-
Bluegrass HomestayFoshe Road Kunnumpuram JnHostel-
Bounty Yatra1/1367 Njalimparambu Jn, Rids Dale Lane,Hostel-
Carl-Dale Backwaters Vacation HomeXVIII/73 Carl-Dale Parry Junction, Thoppumpady,Hostel-
Casa De ForteJubilee Junction, Veli, Fort KochiHotel-
Cochinn14a Kairali St Ashoka Road, KaloorHostel-
Costa Gama Home Stay @ Fort Kochi1/1613 A, Thamaraparambu Road, Fort Cochin, KeralaHostel91
Fort Heaven ResidencyOPP. Frderal Bank,Kunnumpuram (JN) Fort CochinHostel-
Greenview InnGreenview Inn KakkanaduGuesthouse-
Haritha FarmsKadalikad PostGuesthouse-
Hotel Abad AtriumM G Road, Cochin,Hotel-
Hotel Abad MetroRajaji Road, (Off.M G Road)Hotel-
Hotel Abad PlazaM G Road, CochinHotel-
Hotel Hill PalaceRefinery Road, Irimpanam Jn.,Hotel-
Hotel Mother TreeH;No 1/937, K.L,Bernard Master RoadGuesthouse85
Kerala Village Homestay2/850-B, Puthenparambil Near Govt. H.S.S. Bus StopHostel-
Kovil Home StayX/1646, Amaravathy,Near Amman Kovil Temple Fort Kochi, Kerala, IndiaHotel-
Orion HolidaysK.L Bernard Master Road Fort CochinGuesthouse-
Padikkal Recidency1/1206A, Njaliparambu JN., K.B.Jacob RoadGuesthouse82
Ponmala HomeII/145 ,Manappattuchira Road Malayattoor P OGuesthouse-
Prem's Homestayh/no 1/894, Njaliparambu Junction, K.b.jacob Road Fort Cochin,Cochin-1Guesthouse87
Rain Tree Lodge1/618 Petercelle Street, Fort Cochin KeralaHostel-
SajhomeFederal Bank ATM Building, Fortkochi KunnumpuramHotel-
Santa View HomeStayH.No.1/939, Near Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort CochinHostel-
Seaview Apartment in Fort Cochin11/628 F Mackenzie GardenApartment-
Tag und Nacht11/590C,Opp Naval Maritime Museum Mackenzie GardenGuesthouse90
Tantraa HomestayBishop garden lane no 1 PattalamHostel81
ThomasinnKochuparambil, Shenoy Cross Road KaloorHostel92
Time Square Hotelon Club Road ErnakulamHotel90
Tom Heritage VillaXI/509-C, Pattalam Road, Esi Junction, Fort CochinGuesthouse-
Woods ManorWoodland's Jn M.G Road ErnakulamHotel-

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Keep Connected

Internet

There's good coverage over most of India for Internet cafes. However, following the recent terror attacks in Mumbai and some other cities, all internet cafes have been instructed by the authorities to maintain a register and note down the identification details of all persons using internet. Sify iWay is a reliable and cheap cafe with over 1,600 cafes over India. iWay also allows you to open a pre-paid account that you can use all over India. Whenever you have Internet access probably the best and cheapest way to call family and friends at home is software that allows users to make voice calls over the Internet such as Skype.

Wifi hotspots in India are, for most part, limited. The major airports and stations do offer paid wifi at around RS.60-100 an hour. Delhi, Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai are the only cities with decent wifi coverage. At Mumbai airport, you get to use WiFi internet free, for an hour or so.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country code for India is 91. To dial outside the country from India, prefix the country code with 00.

The general emergency number is 100 (emergency response police & fire), while for ambulance you should dial 102 or 112, though some regions have 108 for this emergency. 108 is used in in the Indian states of Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Goa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha,Assam, Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. 108 can be called for medical, crime, fire, or any other emergency from any phone.

Local phone numbers can be anywhere from 5-8 digits long. But when the area code is included, all landline phone numbers in India are 10 digits long. Cellphone numbers usually start with '9', '8', or '7'. Toll-free numbers start with 1-800.

If staying longterm it is probably wise to think about investing in a mobile phone. You'll possibly need to provide a photocopy of your passport and itinerary, so come prepared. Make sure you arrange it upon arrival in a big city, as it can sometimes be difficult to organise with language barriers and such in more regional areas. You can buy a cheap nokia for about RS.1,200 with a pre-paid plan. Airtel is a good carrier to think about as they have great coverage, and constant offers for cheaper calling. To recharge, most shop vendors with phone carrier signs can do it via their own phone. You give them your mobile number, they put it in their phone and you'll both get messages as to whether or not the recharge has been successful. Also, if possible, buy the phone in the state where you do the most travelling as the charges are higher in the states where you did not originally buy the phone.

Over the entire country there are plenty of public phones, even in the middle of the countryside. Although most of the time these phones are not very well maintained and have horrible connections. Therefore remember when using one of these public phones one must be extremely patient.
For international calls from payphones, you'll have to visit a reputable internet cafe with a phone-booth. Mobile phones are usually a better and cheaper option.

Post

India Post is the national postal service of India, and on their website you find details about prices to send postcards, letters and parcels, both domestically and internationally. For most postcards to send internationally, it is better to visit the post office before writing on the card as you may need quite a few stamps. Parcels must be taken to a tailor, he will then sew it up in white linen. Make sure he seals it with red wax, otherwise the post office may refuse to send it or try to get you to pay them to do it. Sewing up a parcel should only cost RS.50 to 200. In general, post offices are open from 10:00am to 1:00pm and 1:30pm to 4:30pm in most bigger towns and cities, though there are regional variations and some might keep longer hours or be open during (part of) the weekend as well. Ask around.

If you want to send bigger packages/parcels, it might be better, faster and sometimes even cheaper, to contact a private company like DHL, TNT or UPS.

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This is version 18. Last edited at 13:58 on Feb 5, 14 by Utrecht. 3 articles link to this page.

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