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Home » Destinations » Destinations by State / Region » Kerala » Kochi

Kochi

 


Kochi Ouick Information

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Summarise the city :
Queen of Arabian sea; Kerala's commercial capital

Best time to visit (High & peak months) : 
October to March

Experiences :
Tropical beaches & backwaters, music & dance, temples & churches

City calling code :
+91-0484

Recommended no. of days for a tourist :
1 day

Best buys :
Spices, prawn & mutton pickles, contemporary art from Kashi art gallery

Essentials to be carried along :
Cotton outfits, sun glasses, sun blocks, hats etc

All about the city :
Referred to as the 'Queen of Arabian Sea', Kochi is the most cosmopolitan and modern city of Kerala.It comprises of Ernakulum (the mainland) and a group of islands on lake Vembanad- Kerala's USP. Main tourist attraction here is visiting these islands on local ferries.

Kochi was the capital of the erstwhile princely state of the same name. It was also dominated by the Chinese, Dutch, Portuguese and the British at some point of time, all of whom have left indelible marks. The existence of Jewish Synagogue, Christian and Portuguese churches, temples and mosques, Chinese fishing nets all at one place portray Kochi as the melting pot of various cultures. It is this variety that makes Kochi popular with tourists of different religious background.

Besides the monuments Kochi has many exciting things to offer. The tourists can enjoy thrilling boat races, spellbinding Kathakali dance performances, apart from surfing the beaches and going on lively cruises. Thus Kochi is a hot spot for tourists round the year with a wide variety of dining options to suit your pocket and palate and also comfortable hotels to help you unwind and relax in tranquil environment near amazing sea coasts. (interesting read: Beauty of Doing Nothing! )

So, if you are in Kochi you can muse in museums, munch on crispy snacks, marvel at the Chinese fishing nets, choose your pick from fishermen's net, cheer boat races, see Kathakali performances and shop for souvenirs to make your visit memorable.
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Kochi Tourist attractions

Name (suggested time required to see the place)DescriptionEntrance charges (if any) for Foreigner Close Day (if any) Open / Close time
St Francis Church Having the distinction of being the oldest church built by Europeans in India, this church was first built in timber by the Portuguese in 1503. It was overlaid with stone masonry. The attraction here is the tomb of Vasco da Gama who was originally buried here in 1524. His mortal remains were 14 yrs later taken to Lisbon. The 'Doop Book 'or the old baptism and marriage register from 1751-1804 is capable of drawing the attention of any history buff. no entrance feenone6am-7pm Sunday service in English between 8 am - 9 am
Santa Cruz Basilica This Portuguese church recently celebrated its 500th anniversary and is supposedly India's oldest church. During the period when the Dutch were converting all buildings in the region into warehouses to store their goods and weapons the church was somehow spared, but it could not escape the wrath of the British & was partially destroyed in 1795.It was however rebuilt in 1905.It has an imposing façade that is built in Gothic style of architecture as is marked by soaring spires. The interiors are also equally impressive.  none9am- 1 pm,3-5pm
Pardesi Synagogue The unique feature of this 400 year old synagogue is the hand painted willow pattern porcelain tiles which were brought from China. And this uniqueness is evident from the fact that these tiles find a place in Salman Rushdie's novel The Moor's Last Sigh. The building has a very rich interior with abundant use of gold and brass. The Jews were conservative people so accordingly an upstairs balcony had been provided for the women to worship. Here one more thing that grabs attention is the 45 feet clock tower that has numerals in Hebrew, Arabic, Latin and Malayalam. INR 10Fridays, Saturdays & Jewish holidays10am-noon & 3-5pm
Mattancherry Palace Like many other buildings in Kochi this palace was raised by the Portuguese in 1555.They presented it to the Raja of Cochin,Veera Kerala Varma probably as a goodwill gesture in order to secure trading privileges over the others. Later the Dutch renovated it and hence it is alternatively known as Dutch Palace. Its marvelous murals depict scenes from the famous Indian Epics of the Ramayana & the Mahabharata besides the royal regalia. Do not forget to see the ladies bedchamber featuring lord Krishna(with 6 hands) engaged in play with the Gopis.  INR 10Friday 10am-5pm
Chinese fishing nets Popularly known as 'Cheena Vala' in Malayalam these fishing nets dot the entrance of Kochi harbour. They were introduced in the region by the traders from the court of Chinese king Kublai Khan. And to our surprise the technique is till date serving its purpose. These nets are mainly used during the high tides and require at least 4 men to operate successfully. The worth noticing fact about them is that beside China Kerala is the only place where you can find these nets.   

Kathakali performance (a classical dance form)

 

check other classical dances of India:

Kathak at Khajuraho Dance Festival  

And

Bharatnatyam at Mamallapuram Dance Festival

A must do in Kochi is watching a live Kathakali performance. If you are an art enthusiast bring alive your taste for dance and allow your holiday to enrich your knowledge. As a visitor also you can learn about the intricate details of make up and costumes. The themes in Kathakali are based on Hindu mythology, particularly the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. The colors of the masks worn by the artists signify their character, like green for noble males, red for evils, yellow for women etc. This is truly an out of this world experience. The most commercialized venue is Cochin Cultural Centre at Manikath Road. The makeup starts at 5:00 pm and show at 6:30. INR 150 and above  Held in evenings at various centres. At most places the make up starts at around 6 and show by 6:30 or 7 pm.
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Getting there

AirRailRoad
Kochi has a world-class modern International airport at Nedumbassery located 30kms north-east of the city, with regular flights to major cities in India. Cochin is also connected to Singapore, Colombo (check: Scenic Srilanka Tour ) and all major cities in the middle-east (Abu Dhabi, Dammam, Doha, Dubai, Kuwait, Jeddah, Muscat, and Riyadh) by direct international flights.There are two main railway stations in Cochin: Ernakulam Junction (main station), Ernakulam Town. Many important trains start from here and many others from/to the south of kerala stop at these stations. Cochin is connected by road with several tourist centers in India. It is 565 km from Bangalore, 223 km from Coimbatore, 312 km form Ooty (Udgamandalam), 67 from Alappuzha , 222 km north of Thiruvanthapuram(Trivandrum) , 130 from Munnar , 76 from Kottayam (Kumarkom ), 192 NW of Thekkady .
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Kochi Festivals

Name of festivalDates / MonthsFestival details with link for more information
Cochin CarnivalLast 10 days of the yearCelebrated in the fort Kochi area, the major highlights are massive procession of caparisoned elephants and games. It looks as if everybody is bitten by a party bug.
Indira Gandhi boat raceLast week of DecemberIts pure theatre with serpent shaped boats competing with each other and the crowd cheering them with full enthusiasm.
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Excursions from Kochi

Excursion (distance in kms / time taken)Write up on the excursion
Hill Palace of Tripunithura(12 km from the city/25 min)Reached by a flight of steps this is the largest archaeological museum of Kerala.As the exhibits viz rare coins, old weapons, manuscripts etc clearly indicate it was the official residence of the erstwhile Kochi royal family. It is closed on Mondays. The timings are 9 am-5 pm
Kalady(48 km away from the city/ 1 hr and 30 min. by road) This is the birth place of Adi Shankaracharya, the promulgator of the philosophy of Advaitvad.According to a legend it was here that a crocodile caught hold of his leg and released it only when his mother permitted him to accept Sanyas.The Adishankaracharya shrine and the 8 storey keerti stambh raised after his name convey the deep reverence people had for this great saint.
Chennamangalam (42km from city/60 min)A beautiful amalgamation of natural beauty and man made structures at Chennamangalam has every thing that can drive one crazy to shoot or snap. The existence of Thirumala Devoswam temple (with 2nd largest brass bell in Asia), a synagogue, and an old catholic church indicate the religious harmony that this place enjoys. The erstwhile seat of the Prime Ministers of Cochin is now the centre for handloom weaving and coir manufacture.
Veegaland (24km from the city/ 40 min)This is supposed to be south India's largest amusement park. For its excellent water sport facilities it is the favourite weekend getaway for Kochi residents and tourists.
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Suggested Places to eat at Kochi

Name of the place Phone / Email Cuisine Opening & closing time
Cheenavala This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Multi-cuisine, Sea Food speciality 7.00 a.m. to 11.00 p.m.
Tandoor This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Indian, Chinese, Mixed, Andhra Cuisine, Punjabi (check: A Gourmet tour in India and The Taste of India, one of the special tours of India)11.30 a.m. to 12.00 midnight
Pizza Hut (has kids play area) This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Fast food11.00 a.m. to 11.00 p.m.
Note: In Kochi one can find a number of 'You buy and I cook' stalls behind the Chinese fishing nets. Here you can buy a fish of your choice, then take it to a kitchen where it is cooked and served to you. Meen pollichathu is a must taste delicacy of the region.
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Suggested tour programwith Kochi

Tour NameNo. Of days Other places covered
Best of Kerala9 nights/10 daysKochi-Munnar-Thekkady-Kumarkom-Alappuzha -Kovalam (Trivandrum)

A Learning Experience in Kerala   [one of the special tours]

8 nights/9 daysKochi-Munnar-Thekkady-Kumarkom-Kovalam (Trivandrum)

A Different Stay Everyday  [one of the special tours]

9 nights/10 daysWayanad-Kochi-Alappuzha-Kovalam (Trivandrum)-Neyyar Dam
Rustic Kerala on Balmy Backwaters
4 nights/5 days
  Kochi-Alappuzha-Kochi
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