Kochi/Cochin (South India- Kerala) City Guide
Cochin set on a cluster of islands and narrow peninsulas, the port city reflects the eclecticism of Kerala perfectly. With a rich past and a bustling present, it has been the business hub of the region from the very early days.
Ernakulam is the commercial capital of Kerala with one of the finest natural harbours in the world. The city lies about 30 kms north off the airport. The downtown city-area is known as Ernakulam and the areas surrounding it, comprising mainly of islands, is collectively known as Kochi (Cochin). From here, ships set sail for foreign ports with pepper, seafood, rubber and coir, from time immemorial. Arabs, Chinese, Dutch, British and Portuguese seafarers followed the sea route to Cochin and left their impressions on the town.
The Chinese fishing nets, believed to be erected in 1350 AD, swaying in the breeze over the backwaters, the Jewish Synagogue on Jew Street, The Dutch Palace at Bolghatty, Maharajas Palace at Tripunithura, the narrow streets of Fort Cochin and Mattancherry, old temples and colonial churches attract tourists from all over.
Access by Air:
Cochin International Airport is one of the country's youngest Airports with modern facilities and conveniences. Located at Nedumbassery, which is about 30 kms off Kochi (Cochin) city, this is the first airport in India that was constructed with private participation ,outside the ambit of Airport Authority of India. Government of Kerala, Non-Resident Indians from over 30 countries, Traveling Public, Financial Institutions, Airport service providers and others are the major stake holders.
Currently, more than 70 flights operate in and out of this Airport daily connecting all major cities across India and International destinations like Dubai, Sharjah, Chicago, Colombo, Singapore and more.
Access by Road:
Cochin's National Highway connects it to the major cities of India. The National Highway connecting Cochin is superbly made with long driving and motels in between kept while upgrading the highway for the welfare of the drivers in mind.
Access by Train:
Regular train services connect Kolkatta to all the major cities in India such as to Mumbai in Western India, New Delhi in North India, Kolkatta in East India, Chennai in South East India etc.
Sightseeing places in and around Cochin:
Bolghatty Palace - Once a mansion of the British Resident and now a hotel, is in palm fringed Bolghatty Island.
Mattancherry Palace: The palace (Dutch Palace) was built by the Portuguese in 1557 and presented to the Cochin Raja, Veera Kerala Varma. The most important feature of Mattanchery Palace is the murals in the bedchambers and other rooms, which depict scenes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranic legends connected with Shiva, Vishnu, Krishna, Kumara and Durga.
St. Francis Church: Built in 1503 by Portugese Franciscan friars, this is India's oldest European-built church. The original structure was wood, but was rebuilt in stone in mid-16th century.
Backwater Cruise : The motor-launch cruise on the enchanting backwaters through the coconut groves and quiet lagoons is an exciting tour. Visit Bolghatty Palace, the beautiful Dutch Colonial mansion built in 1744, Ypan, Vallrtaom, see tiny fishing hamlets and fisherfolk in their colourful costumes.
CHINESE FISHING NETS: The Chinese fishing nets are a fascinating sight unto itself. These nets, at the entrance of the harbour and along the backwaters with pivots of wood, were introduced by traders from the court of Kublai Khan in 1350AD.They can be seen all along the backwaters of Kerala.A gang of fishermen are required to lower and then hoist this net and it's a wonderful sight watching them net their catch in this old-fashioned way. Chinese nets have become the international insignia of Kochi and is rarely used anywhere else.