Situated on the West Coast in India, Kochi or Cochin is a wonderful tourist destination of Kerala. Encircled by the Western Ghats in the East and the Arabian Sea in the West, Kochi has been counted among the top three tourist destinations by the World Travel & Tourism Council. The city is among the most historically rich places in India. Kochi or Cochin was the first European colonial settlement in the country. Serving as the second main city on the Indian west coast, Cochin has now other destinations like Fort Kochi, Mattancherry and Ernakulam. Shaped by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British, it showcases the cultural influences in various Indo-European architecture.
The city has been under the reign of many dynasties such as the Arabs, the British, the Chinese, the Dutch and the Portuguese. Over the years, Kochi has come up as the commercial and the industrial capital of Kerala.
Major Tourist Attractions in Cochin
Santa Cruz Basilica
Built by Portuguese in 1505, the church dates back to many years ago. With its soaring spires, the Gothic Facade looks impressive. It also boasts of its imposing interiors. Following the Dutch Conquest, the church was changed into warehouse. Travellers can visit this church, which is as beautiful as other Catholic cathedrals are.
The Mattancherry Palace or Dutch Palace
Originally built by the Portuguese, Dutch Palace is a beautiful palace. In the 17th century, the Dutch seized it and presented the palace to the king of Kochi after modifying it. Since then, it has been referred to as the Dutch Palace. It boasts of a rich collection of mural paintings, depicting scenes from the famous Hindu epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Chinese Fishing Nets, Fort Kochi
Chinese fishing nets are undoubtedly unique to Cochin. The nets were introduced by the traders from the court of the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan. These massive nets are used by many fishermen to earn their livelihood.
Constructed in the Jew Town in 1568, the Jewish Synagogue is a wonderful structure. With its impressive furnishings, it beckons many tourists. Chinese tiles and Belgian chandeliers adorn the entire synagogue.
It is a spectacular gallery in Kochi, which is constructed facing the backwaters. The site is a favourite hangout for locals with several shopping malls. It has the two new constructed bridges, the Chinese Fishing Net and Rainbow Bridge. The sight of rising and setting over the sea mouth makes it an important tourism destination in Kerala.
Other Places to See
Besides the above mentioned tourist attractions, the city also houses St. Francis Church, Indira Gandhi Boat Race and Paradesi Synagogue. Kochi backwaters also hold a special place in Kerala tourism.
Best Time to Visit
Between October to March
Cochin is a gourmet’s delight with its variety of seafood like shrimp, grilled prawn, lobster, soft-shelled crabs. You can also taste the appam-stew or appam-chicken curry at Nalukettu.
Kochi serves as an important shopping destination in Kerala. It offers tourists to choose from a plethora of shopping items. Jew Town, Broadway, Kairali and Cinnamon are the popular shopping areas of the city. Tourists can buy the finest handicraft items, designer clothes, spices, electronics and homeware.
Kochi houses various staying options, catering to the requirements of travellers. Fort Kochi and Ernakulam are the places where you can find many accommodation options including budget, home stays, luxury and boutique hotels.
How to Reach
The international airport of the city lies at Nedumbassery, which is 20 km away from the city centre. It links Kochi to important cities in India and international destinations.
Kochi has railway stations in Ernakulam and near the harbour, which have trains adjoining this port to main cities across India.
Reaching Kochi by road is a good option as the city is well-linked to Coimbatore, Bangalore and Chennai.