Kochi (Cochin), the Queen of the Arabian Sea, is situated on the west coast of India in the beautiful state of Kerala.

Exploring the Area

Kochi can be regarded as the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala. Kerala is one of the most prosperous states of India, flanked by the Arabian Sea on the western side and the Western Ghats on the eastern side. Roughly speaking Kochi is 10 º North and 76 º East.

Kochi is the most important city in Kerala. It is the second most important city (after Mumbai) on the western coast of India.

Climate: Being situated very close to the sea, Kochi has a moderate climate. Heavy showers are experienced during the months June, July and August due to the South-West Monsoon. The North-East Monsoon brings light rainfall during the months September, October, November and December. December to February is pretty cool. The annual rainfall is about 310 cm. In summer the temperature rises to a maximum of 35 ºC while in winter it is around 25 ºC.

Kochi is known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea and the Queen of the Adriatic. It is also referred to as the Gateway of South India.

The story behind the name...

It is not known exactly how the name Kochi originated. But many theories exist. Some historians believe that Cochin is a modified form of the word 'Cochazhi' which in Malayalam means 'small sea' others are of the opinion that 'Kochi' was named so by the Chinese. According to them, traders from the court of the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan gave Kochi the name of their homeland. Believe it or not, the Chinese fishing nets, found here (outside China) and nowhere else may be sufficient proof to support their belief. Still another theory is that Kochi is derived from the word 'Kaci' meaning 'harbour'. The Cochin harbour Kochi earned a significant position on the world trading routes after the world famous port at Kodugallur (Cranganore) was destroyed by massive flooding of the river Periyar in 1340 AD. Records show that Kodugallur/Cranganore was known to the Arabs and Chinese traders for centuries.

Kochi Kathakali performance

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What to See and Do

Bolgatty Palace

This Dutch palace is situated on the Bolgatty Island. At present it is being used as hotel. The island has a fine golf course and the panoramic view makes it an attractive picnic spot. Frequent boat service is available from the mainland.

Dutch Palace

The Dutch Palace was originally built by the Portugese. Later, in 17th century, the Dutch modified it and presented to the Raja of Kochi. Coronation of many Rajas of Kochi were held here. The place has a fine collection of mural paintings depicting the scenes from the Hindu epics Mahabharatha and Ramayana.

Hill Palace

Built in the 19th century by Raja of Kochi; the Kochi province was ruled from here. The palace has been converted into a museum displaying a fine collection of articles used by the Rajas of Kochi apart from many archaeological findings.

Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary

Believe it or not this bird sanctuary is situated right in the heart of Kochi city. It is the home of many exotic and rare varieties of migratory birds.

St. Francis Church

It is the oldest church built by European in India. On his 3rd visit to Kerala, Vasco da Gama, the Portugese trader who reached India from Europe by sea, fell ill and died in Kochi. He was buried in the St. Francis Church. Later his remains were taken back to Portugal. In spite of that the exact place where he was buried has been marked out inside the church.

Cherai Beach

Situated at about 21 km from the city and bordering Vypeen Island, the beautiful Cherai Beach is an ideal place for swimming. One can occasionally see dolphins here. A typical Kerala village with paddy fields and coconut groves nearby is an added attraction here.

Kanjiramattom Mosque

Thirty kilometres from Cochin at Kanjiramattom lies a mosque believed to have been erected over the mortal remains of Sheikh Parid. The great Muslim saint, Bavar is supposed to have prayed here and attained eternal bliss. Thousands of devotees throng this place during the Kodikuthu festival which takes place in December-January.

Trichur

Located in the central part of the state, Trichur is also referred to as the cultural capital of Kerala. The city and the area around it have a number of museums, art schools, and institutes, which are dedicated to preserving and promoting the rich cultural traditions of Kerala. One of the most important landmarks of this city is the Vadakkunathan Temple, located on a raised hillock in the centre of the city. The temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is an important pilgrim centre in Kerala.

Lulu Mall

Lulu Shopping Mall is largest shopping mall i nSouth India. Lulu Mall corries 300+ food outlets, stores and restaurants. There are both international brands as well as local specialties to see in this modern complex and there is also a premium five-star hotel managed by JW Marriott Hotels is located adjacent to it, within the mall compound.

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.

Fort Kochi Beach

A stroll along the beach, particularly at sunset with the Chinese fishing nets and sailing ships in the background, is a fine experience. Many European style bungalows can be seen along the shoreline.

Jewish Synagogue

The synagogue ,magnificently decorated by Chinese tiles and Belgian chandeliers ,was built in 1568. Giant scrolls of the Old Testament can be found here. It is located near the Dutch Palace.

Museum of Kerala History

The museum has on display life size statues of many famous personalities and several paintings depicting Kerala History.

Palliport (Pallipuram) Fort

It is the oldest European fort built in India. Situated in the northern extremity of the Vypeen Island and built by the Portuguese in 1503, Pallippuram fort is one of the oldest existing European monuments in India. The fort was captured by the Dutch in 1661 and subsequently sold by them to the State of Travancore in 1789. The Catholic Church at Pallipuram is an important pilgrim centre of the Christians.

Chennamanagalam

An important centre of handloom weaving and coir manufacturing, Chennamangalam was one of the chief centres of the Jewish Colony and the seat of Paliath Achan, the hereditary prime minister of the erstwhile state of Cochin from 1632 to 1809. The famous Vaipinkotta Seminary, built in the 16th century by the Portuguese, used to stand in the vicinity of the Jewish Colony. An old Syrian Catholic Church established in 1201 now stands near the ruins of the seminary.

Kalady

Located 45 km from Cochin on the banks of river Periyar is Kalady, the birthplace of Adi Shankaracharya. Shankaracharya was a great Indian philosopher who lived in the 8th century AD. Kalady has two shrines made in memory of Shankaracharya: one dedicated to him as Dakshina Moorthi and the other to Goddess Sharada.