Cochin GUIDE

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A city tucked in the beauty of coconut palms and endless blue waters is one of the important towns in South India, with a natural harbour. It is the commercial hub of Kerala. Kochi is a dynamic city with soaring land prices and rapidly industrializing suburbs. A trading port since Roman times, it lies on the main trade route between Europe and China. The town has three main parts- Fort Kochi, Willingdon Island and Ernakulam. This city is home to the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth as well as numerous old churches and temples. Half the fun of visiting Kochi is moving around on local ferries.


The city of Kochi is the biggest and most important port in Kerala. Many small towns and villages like Fort Cochin, Mattanchery, Ernakulam, Edapally, Vytilla, Vennala, Tevara, Manamangalam, Vypin, Vallarpadom, Thopumpady, Kannamali, Eda Kochi, Bolghatty and Palluruthy form a part of Kochi. There have been different views about the name of the city, but it is not known exactly from where it originated. The Kochi harbor boasts of a glorious past. It earned a significant position on the world trading routes after massive flooding of the river Periyar in 1340 AD destroyed the world famous port at Kodugallur. After this, Kochi started to grow and soon developed into a major trading port dealing in pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, etc. The Chinese, Arabs, British, Dutch and Portuguese helped Kochi to emerge as a bustling center of commercial activity, connecting the mainland to the rest of the world. Many great travelers, scholars and traders like Fa Hien, Vasco da Gama, Sir Robert Bristow contributed to the growth of the city. In the year 1530 AD, Kochi was under the rule of the Portuguese, at this time the city grew into a prosperous town. 'Manuel Kotta', was the first European fort in Kochi built by the Portuguese. The Dutch invasion began around 1653 and by 1663 they emerged victorious over the Portuguese. It was then that the Dutch built Fort Williams here. In the year 1814, Kochi became a part of the British colony. The Willingdon Island, which now accommodates the Kochi Port, Airport and the Head Quarters of Southern Naval Command, was developed under the supervision of the British ruler, Sir Robert Bristow. After India became independent in 1947, the state of Kerala was formed by the unification of provinces Kochi, Malabar and Travancore in 1956. In 1967 the Corporation of Kochi was formed, which included the towns of Fort Kochi, Mattanchery, Ernakulam and many nearby villages.


Cochin Facts & Figures
State Kerala
Area 2408 km² 
Population 27,97,779
Literacy 80.14%
Languages Malayalam, English
Tourist Season Throughout the Season


Taj Malabar Malabar Escapes Serenity Abad Metro
Le Meridien Malabar Escapes Privacy Bolgatty Palace
Brunton Boatyard Fort Malabar Escapes Trinity Bolgatty Island Resort
Grande Residencia Abad Plaza Palmgrove
Taj Gateway Hotel Presidency Royal Village
Trident Oberoi Abad Atrium Soma Kerala Palace
Casino Abad Airport Tea Bungalow
Gokulam Park Abad Fort Wyte Fort
Avenue Regent Malabar House Fort  


St. Francis Church Bolgatty Palace Kerala Museum Pareekshith Museum Hill Palace Museum
Marine Drive Princess Street Jews Town Chinese Fishing Nets M.G Road
Fort Kochi Beach Willingdon Island Kaladi Dutch Palaces Cherai Beach


By Air - Cochin/ Kochi (Airport Code: COK) has a domestic airport with flights to Agatti, Bangalore, Mumbai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Goa, Madras and Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum - the capital of Kerala). The Cochin International Airport is under construction and is in the finishing stages. Currently, there are regular international flights to the Gulf. Flights to other destinations will start soon. Other international airports nearby includes Mumbai, Madras, Bangalore and Trivandrum.

By Rail -
Kochi and Ernakulam are connected to the rest of India by an extensive network of rails. There are three important railway stations here namely Cochin Harbour Terminus, Ernakulam Junction and Ernakulam Town. Many important trains start from here and many others pass through these stations.

By Road - Three important National Highways (NH) pass through/start from Kochi, apart from many state roads. NH 47 from Kanyakumari to Salem pass right through the heart of Kochi while NH 17 to Mumbai and NH 49 to Madurai (in Tamil Nadu) starts from Kochi. Private and public transport services are available to/from all major cities of South India from here.

By Sea - Kochi has a magnificent all weather natural port. Regular boat service to places like Kottayam and Alleppey are available through the scenic backwaters of Kerala.


Fairs and festivals are celebrated with traditional gaiety and fervor to invoke divine blessings as well as for the sheer joy of living. A celebration of life at its best.

Cochin Carnival :
Cochin Carnival is a merry making feast observed during the last week of every year in Fort Kochi in Kerala. The carnival dates back to the Portuguese New Year revelry held here during the colonial days. It has evolved as an occasion for the youth to enjoy the party-like atmosphere. With unique games, competitions and illumination during these days, Fort Kochi puts on a festive look. The highlight of the Carnival is the massive procession on the New Year Day. The procession is led by a caparisoned elephant accompanied by drums and music, spectacular floats, different folk art forms, Panchavadyam etc. North Indian dances also figure in the festivities.

Malayatoor Perunal :
A feast is held at the famous Catholic Church at Malayatoor on the Sunday after Easter to commemorate the visit of the great apostle, St. Thomas. About 52 km from Kochi, atop the hill, the church is dedicated to him and it is believed that he came to India in the first century A.D and visited Malayattoor twice. Pilgrims of all faiths visit the place chanting the name of the Apostle. The church is set about 2000 feet high and the grand feast that is organized on this day as a part of the celebration is called the 'Perunnal'. This feast is usually organized in March or April.

Attachamayam :
Celebrated to commemorate the legendary victory of the Raja of Kochi, the festival of Attachamayam is held on the eighth day of the Malayalam month of Chingam, which usually falls in August or September at the historical town of Tripunithura, near Kochi. A grand procession is taken out on this occasion, which is full of pomp and show, colors abound the pageantry, replete with caparisoned elephants, varieties of folk art forms, floats and other musical ensemble.

Onam :
The Harvest Festival of Kerala, is one of the most popular one too. The legend behind the festival goes back to the golden reign of the great, kind and mighty demon king Mahabali. This demon won over the kingdom of gods in war and Vishnu came to their aid. Lord Vishnu then disguised himself as a small Brahmin boy, Vamanan, and asked for three steps of land. The wish was granted and Vamanan then assumed the huge size and covered the whole land with his two steps and then asked the King for the place where he could put his third step. The king to honor his word offered his head as the third step and Vamanan pushed Mahabali into the abyss. However, he granted him a wish that he could visit his kingdom and people on a particular day once a year, the day which usually falls in the ten-day festivity of this harvest season. A floral carpet called "Athappookkalam" in front of houses, Carnivals, Boat Races, Dance, Music and Feast consisting of the traditional sweet dish of Kerala 'Payasam' on plantain leaf characterize Onam.

Indira Gandhi Boat Race : The boat races of Kerala are very famous. Many boat races are organized throughout the year in the state of Kerala. Kuttanad and the upper Kuttanad area are just one of the most famous boat racing spots. Since most of the natives of Kerala are agriculturists and fishermen by profession, boat races help to unwind them and show off their graceful and muscular physique as they work with each other as a team to win the race. Both the oarsmen and boats are selected carefully irrespective of their caste, creed or classes, merely, on the basis of their performances. Thus, a communal harmony is promoted through such events and a bond of union binds all the classes as one. The rolling backwaters of Kochi are very inviting and thus a grand gala is held here in the last week of December as a final touch to its spectacular Tourism Fair. Cheering crowds, zest and festivity abound when the sixteen majestic snake boats race neck to neck in gaiety, each vying for the coveted trophy of the race, which was instituted in memory of Indira Gandhi, the late Prime Minister of India.

Jewish Festivals :
It is believed that the Jews of Kerala migrated here in the 1st after the second temple of Jerusalem was destroyed in 72 AD. The Jewish community settled mainly in and around Mattancherry, Kochi and brought with them the Jewish customs and festivals. The Passover Festival is celebrated annually to commemorate the liberation of Jews from Egyptian slavery followed by the Pentecost Festival and the feast of the Tabernacles. Then, there are their New Year celebration in September or October and Hanukka, the 'festival of lights' too. Passover or Pesach festival is celebrated by the Jews in March or April as possibly sprung up as a Spring festival originally until it became related with the escape of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Pentecost is usually celebrated on the fiftieth day of the Passover and was originally an Old Testament festival related to agriculture and was celebrated in order to welcome the Spring. However, in the early New Testament period, it somehow became associated with the celebration of God's creation of His people and his gracious gift of the law on Mount Sinai. Feast of Tabernacles is one of the oldest festivals of the Jews. It is known as the Feast of Ingathering in the Bible and in Hebrew, it is known as Sukkoth. Similarly, Hanukkah is the jewish Feast of Dedication.


The land of kerala attracts a wide variety of people from different parts of the world. Famous for it's traditional and authentic food, this does attract crowds to the state. Keeping in mind the various tastes of the people,the eat-outs here have created menus which is a blend of different cuisines. From fast-food to sea food, even the traditional kerala style,food to suit all tastes are available. We have chosen a few eat-outs that will hopefully guide you in chosing an eat-out in relishing a meal of your choice.


Among Kochi's best buy are metalware, camel-bone carvings, wood carvings, articles made of coconut shels, baboo cane, embroidered screwpine mats; grass mats; and several other types of handicrafts. Kochi also has several antique dealers. Jewellery, readymade garments, and ethnic hand-woven textiles follow closely. The major shopping centres are on M.G.Road which cuts across the heart of the city, and the Marine Drive including Broadway. Shops open at 10 a.m. and close around 8 p.m. Generally all shops remain close on Sundays. Shopping Centres: M.G.Road, Broadway, Marine Drive, Government emporium: Kerala State Handicraft Apex Society, M.G.Road, Kerala State Handicrafts Development Corporation (Kairali) M.G.Road, Khadi Gramaudyog Bhavan, M.G.Road, Eranakulam, Jew Town, Broadway, Eranakulam Market, spices Board, N.H.Bye Pass.


Marine Drive is considered to be one of the most beautiful parts of the city. It is also called Shanmugham Road. The marine walk is the main hangout for the local populace as the view of the backwaters and the harbor from here is excellent. At night the lights from the various ships anchored at the harbor is just breathtaking. There are various buildings along the Marine Drive which are good examples of modem architecture with the notable one being Asoka Apartments on the southern end of the Marine Drive with a huge Namaste, the traditional greeting. The Marine Drive is gradually catching up as another busy retail center. The lively GCDA Commercial Complex along the waterfront features a kaleidoscope of several business establishments and other institutions, fast foods and cafes, and a variety of shops selling anything from perfumes to high-capacity refrigerators. Luxury apartments, elegant hotels, and office buildings are located on either side of the main Shanmugham Road which terminates at High Court Junction on the northern end, where the Ram Mohan Palace - the seat of the Kerala High Court - is situated. An evening stroll along the water-side promenade is a favorite pastime. Broadway - narrow despite its name - running parallel to the east of Shanmugham Road is among the city's oldest and busiest shopping streets, where the best buys include clothes and spices. The main Ernakulam market is also located alongside Broadway.


For the Culture enthusiasts, Kerala has much to offer. Kerala's history and culture dates back to centuries. Ancient rulers of the State took special interest in promoting the art and culture of the State. Raja Ravi Varmas paintings, Kathakali and Mohiniattam dance forms, Sculptures, temple architecture, Martial arts, handicraft items etc are great attractions of Kerala. The meeting place of many cultures, Hindu and Muslim, Christian and Jewish, Kerala has a particularly rich heritage of dance and drama and the people are among the most industrious and well educated in the country. Seafarers have also played an important role in shaping the history, socio-cultural background and food of Kerala.