Cochin

Travel Guide Asia India Cochin

edit

Introduction

Cochin( now referred to as Kochi) is located on the west coast of India in the naturally beautiful state of Kerala. The city which is part of Ernakulam district is bounded by the Arabian Sea in the west and the Western Ghats on the east and is often referred to as the “Queen of the Arabian Sea”. Kochi is considered as the industrial and commercial capital of Kerala( the political capital being Thiruvananthapuram) and is one of the principal seaports of India. Kochi has been an important trading port since the ancient ages. European traders were lured to this port as it offered them the lucrative opportunity to trade in Indian spices, which was much in demand in Europe during the medieval period. Kochi was occupied by the Portuguese in 1503 and it became the first European Colonial settlement in India. The city was subsequently occupied by the Dutch and British until India gained independence in 1947.

Top

edit

History

Muziris (present-day Kodungalloor on the mouth of the Periyar River), 40 km north of Kochi, was the center of trade with ancient Rome in the products like pepper and pearls, fine silks, cotton, muslin, honey, betel, tortoise shell, cinnamon leaf, black pepper, ginger grass and indigo.

The formation of Kochi harbor has an interesting story. The harbor was formed in 14th century when a great flood in the Periyar river led to an outlet in the sea. The floods had meanwhile silted up the mouth of the Muziris harbor and this rich ancient port was rendered useless. This natural event forced the rich and powerful merchants of Muziris to shift to Kochi.

For centuries, Kochi was the battleground of European powers for the control of the lucrative spices trade. The Portuguese were the first to arrive in Kochi and a couple of years later, the legendary traveler Vasco da Gama himself landed in Kochi. The Portuguese erected a fort for the protection of their factory which was named as Fort Manuel, after the King of Portugal. This was the first fortress constructed by the Europeans in India. Then came the Dutch and finally it was the British who gained control of Kochi until India gained independence in 1947.

Top

edit

Sights

Fort Kochi, with its European heritage is the most prominent tourist spot in Cochin and many important monuments related to the city’s history are located in Fort Kochi. These include:

  • St Francis Church – This is the oldest church built in India by the Europeans in 16th Century. Vasco da Gama , the famous Portuguese trader and explorer was buried here, however his remains were later shifted to Portugal by his son.
  • Santa Cruz Basilica – This structure dates back to 1505. The original cathedral which was built by the Portuguese was subsequently destroyed and re-erected by the British. It was upgraded to the status of Basilica in 1984
  • Fort Kochi Beach – This small beach is ideal for a stroll and the serene and peaceful atmosphere can have a relaxing effect on the body and soul. The traditional Chinese fishing nets which are still used by the local fisherman for catching fish can be seen in abundance in this area.
  • Jewish Synagogue and Dutch Palace –The synagogue was built in 1568. The Chinese tiles and Belgian chandeliers adorn this wonderful work of decorative architecture. Giant scrolls of the Old Testament are stored here. The Dutch palace was built by the Portuguese which was later modified by the Dutch and was subsequently transferred to the rulers of Kochi. Scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata can also be found in this palace.

Some of the places which are worth visiting and are close to Kochi are:

Thripunithura, 12 kms from Kochi has a Hill Palace Museum housing the collections of the Kochi and Travancore royal families.

Edapally, 10 km north of Ernakulam, has the Museum of Kerala History. This museum has a large collection of articles and is worth a visit.

Parur, 35 km north of Kochi, is truly a secular place which best represents the cultural and religious mosaic of this region. There is a synagogue, Brahmin Temple, a Syrian Orthodox Church, a Krishna Temple, and a temple of goddess Mookambic.

Top

edit

Events and Festivals

The deity of Shiva temple situated at the heart of Kochi is popularly known as Ernakulathappan. The annual festival is an eight-day event, and on all these days, Seeveli procession with nine tuskers and Panchavadyam are held. On the seventh evening, Pakalpooram is conducted and various dance forms like Kathakali, Ottanthullal and music concerts are held by renowned artists.

The Valanjambalam Devi Temple located in the heart of Ernakulam celebrates an annual festival for two days known as Thalapoli Utsavam. The procession with five decorated elephants accompanied by temple musical ensembles known as Ezhunnallippu takes place on both days.

Top

edit

Weather

Kochi has a tropical climate and moderate weather conditions exist throughout the year though the summer months (March-May) can be quite hot. It rains heavily in Kochi during monsoon season (June-August) which keeps tourists away during this period. The best time to visit Kochi is during the winter season (Nov-Feb) when the temperature is moderate and there is hardly any rain.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max33.5 °C34.1 °C34.5 °C34.2 °C32.2 °C30.6 °C30 °C30.1 °C30.1 °C31.1 °C32 °C33.1 °C
Avg Min19.6 °C19.8 °C23.2 °C24.3 °C23.6 °C23.2 °C23.1 °C22.8 °C22.8 °C23 °C22.8 °C19.9 °C
Rainfall7 mm0.5 mm18.9 mm83.6 mm580.2 mm646.6 mm564.8 mm436.8 mm532.4 mm411.8 mm404.7 mm0.6 mm
Rain Days1.81.53.39.915.825.728.724.820.718.895.3

Top

edit

Getting There

By Plane

The Cochin International Airport is located around 30 kms north of the city and it handles both domestic and international flights. The city is connected with the major towns of India by direct flights and it is also served by flights from many Middle-east and South East Asian countries.

By Train

Kochi is well connected by rail network to rest of India. The city is served by three railway stations namely, Ernakulam Junction, Ernakulam Town and Cochin Harbour Terminus from where many of the long distance trains originate. Indian Railways operates the rail network in India.

By Car

Kochi can be reached from other important towns by road and the approximate distances are 565 km from Bangalore, 222 km from Coimbatore, 848 km from Goa, 694 km from Chennai, 470 km from Mysore, and 312 km form Ooty. Taxis can be hired for traveling to other parts of Kerala and also for visiting the highly popular places like Munnar and Periyar which are not served by the railways.

By Bus

State Transport buses are available to other cities of the state but the journey can be tiring and time consuming. Most often the sign boards on the buses are in local language so it can be difficult sometimes to make out which route the bus is going.

By Boat

Many of the cities of Kerala are located along the famous Backwater Stretch extending from Kollam to Alleppy and then from Alleppy to Kochi. It is unique experience to undertake this inter-city travel on a boat passing through the beautiful backwaters. Regular ferry service is available on this route at an affordable rate.

Top

edit

Getting Around

The area of Fort Kochi can easily be done on foot while a Taxi/Auto is required to explore other parts of Kochi

By Car

Taxis can easily by hired for traveling to the major tourist locations of Kochi. The rates vary depending on the season in which you are visiting but it is better to enquire about the rates from more than one tourist operator.

By Public Transport

Unfortunately there is no metro or tram system in the city. Local buses are available but make sure that you get in the right bus which can be tricky at times mainly because of the language barrier. If you feel lost in the city, seek advice from the local people as majority of them can speak some level of English.

Top

edit

Sleep

Kochi has a range of accommodation options: from the expensive resorts to the budget hotels. Kerala Tourism Development Corporation has numerous guesthouses and hotels across Kerala, which are comfortable and well maintained. The peak tourist season in Kerala is from November to February, when the rates shoot up and most of the hotels are full, so it is advised to have prior booking during this period. Cochin and its surroundings can also be enjoyed during the monsoon (June-August) provided you don’t mind getting drenched and there is a bonus, as the houseboats and hotels are all available at dirt cheap rates.

Upscale

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

Top

edit

Keep Connected

Cyber cafes are available in most parts of the cities. STD/ISD booths for making domestic and international calls can easily be found in all corners of Kochi.

Top

edit

Internet

Quick Facts

[edit]

Coordinates
  • Latitude: 9.9396253
  • Longitude: 76.2594981

Accommodation in Cochin

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Cochin searchable right here on Travellerspoint.

Contributors

as well as Utrecht (5%), (4%)

Cochin Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Cochin

This is version 9. Last edited at 3:28 on Aug 2, 17 by sleepBot. 3 articles link to this page.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License