Kochi (or Cochin) is set on a cluster of islands and narrow peninsulas and has one of the best natural harbours in the world.

The famed `Malabar Spices’ were exported from this very port, bringing to Kochi visitors as varied as the Arabs, the Dutch, the Portuguese and, finally, the British. All of them have left their mark on the architecture, making Kochi one of the most unique and fascinating towns in India.

What to see

Chinese Fishing Nets - These unique cantilevered nets were introduced to Cochin by traders from the court of Kubla Khan. It takes four people to operate the nets and many times during the day you can see the long arms of the nets moving to catch the seafood that Cochin is so famous for. Silhouetted against the sunset, the Chinese fishing nets provide some wonderful photo opportunities.

Mattancherry Palace - Originally built by the Portugese for the Raja of Kochi, the palace was extensively renovated by the Dutch in 1663, hence its second name, the Dutch Palace. The Palace houses Raj memorabilia such as Palanquins and dresses. Of more importance though are the exquisite murals on its wooden walls which portray scenes from the Hindu epics, Ramayana & Mahabharata. (Timings: 1000 hrs-1700 hrs. Closed on Fridays and national holidays)

The Jewish Synagogue - Narrow cobbled streets, aromatic with the spices lead to this small Synagogue. Handpainted Cantonese tiles make up its floor and from the ceiling, lovely oil lamps are suspended. The Synagogue houses four scrolls of the Torah. The oldest artifact in the Synagogue is the copper plate from the Raja of Kochi, proclaiming his good relations with the Jewish community. (Timings: 1000 hrs-1200 hrs & 1500 hrs-1700 hrs. Closed on Saturday and Jewish holidays).

The Church of St Francis - This is said to be the oldest European (Portuguese) built church in India. The church went through many Christian orders, such as the Roman Catholic, the Dutch Reform, the Anglican & finally today, the Church of South India. Vasco Da Gama, who died in Cochin was buried here originally for 14 years, before his coffin was sent to Lisbon. Today, however, his tombstone can still be seen. One of the features here are the hand pulled punkhas (fans) which are operated by servants, sitting outside.

Bolgatty Island: It is famous for the Bolgatty Palace which has now been turned into a KTDC run hotel.

Gundu Island - The smallest but a rather charming island around Kochi. It has a coir factory.

The Hill Palace Museum: (Timings: 0900 hrs-1700hrs (closed on Monday).

Musuem of Kerala History - Timings: 1000 hrs-1200 hrs. & 1400 hrs- 1600 hrs (closed on Monday).

Parikshit Thampuram Museum or Kochi Museum: Timirgs,0930 hrs-1200 Mrs.& 1300 hrs - 1700 hrs (closed on Mon.and national holidays).

Vallarpadarn: It has a beautiful church dedicated to St Mary.

Getting There

Air: Kochi is connected by Indian Airlines and private airlines with major cities.

Rail: Kochi/ Ernakulam is connected by rail with all major cities in India.

Road: Kochi is connected by road with Alappuzha 64 Km., Bangalore 565 Km, Chennal 694 Km, Coimbatore 223 Km, Kanyakumari 306 Km, Kodaikanal 305 Km, Kollam 150 Km, Kottayam 76 Km, Kozhikode 224 Km, Modurai 324 Km, Mangalore 484 Km, Munnar 130 Km, Mysore 484 Km, Ootacamund 312 Km, Thekkady 190 Km, Thiruvananthapuram 223 Km.,Thrissur 80 Km.

Sea: The Kerala Inland Water Transport Corporation operates regular backwater boat services to Kollam (8 hrs.). ‘SPORTS’operates tours from Kochi to the lakshadweep Islands from mid-September to Mid-May.

General information

Area: 83.52 Sq. Km.

Temperature: Summer - Max: 35 Deq.C. Min: 22 Deq.C. Winter- Max: 32 Deq.C. Min: 20 Deq.C. Rainfall: 25.4 cm (June to October). Altitude: See Level. Season: October to March. STD Code : 0484.

Excursions

1.Alwaye: (121 Km): A famous Shaivaite pilgrim centre.

  1. Vaikom (31 Km): Famous for it’s temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.

3.Cranganors or Kodungallore (32 Km.): Kerala’s first international harbour, where St. Thomes Is believed to have landed In 52 AD.

4.Kalady (45 Km) The birth place of Adi Shankaracharya, the great Indian philosopher.

5.Malayattur: (53 Km): Famous for the Catholic Church dedicated to St. Thomas.

6.Ettumanoor (63 Km): Famous for an ancient Shive temple.

  1. Allappey (64 Km): The centre for back water cruises in Kerala. The Nehru Trophy boat race is held here on the second Saturday of August every year.

  2. Ambalapuzha (76 Km): Famous for the temple of Lord Krishna.

  3. Kottayam (76 Km): A busy commercial city with the famed backwaters of Kerala.

  4. Athirappally & Vazhachal (77 Km): These have some beautiful waterfalls near the Sholayar ranges.

  5. Thrissur (180 Km): A former capital of Cochin state it is famous for the Vadakkumnatha Temple and the annual Pooram Festival.

  6. Kumarakom (86 Km). It is an enchanting village surrounded by paddy fields and the Vembenad lake.

  7. Haripad (94 Km): Famous for the Lord Subramanya Temple and the major Snake boat race held at Payipad (3 Km. from Haripad) during Onam.

  8. Cheruthuruthi (100 Km): Kerala Kalamandam, the training centre for Kerala’s art forms such as Kathakali, Mohiniattam, was established here in 1930.

  9. Mannarsala (100 Km): It is famous for the Snake Temple situated in the forests.

  10. Guruvayur (108 Km): Is famous for the ancient shrine of Lord Krishna

  11. Munnar (130 Km): The highest town in Kerala (1524 mts), it has extensive tea plantations.

  12. ldukki (133 Km.): The ldukkki hydro-electric project is the biggest of its kind in Kerala.

  13. Malamnpuzha (154 km): With it’s lake created by a high dam and terrace gardens, Malampuzha is agreat place for a tranquil holiday.

  14. Vandanmedu (157 km): Situated at a height of 4000 feet, it is the largest producer of cardamom in the country.

  15. Palghat (163 Km): A big agricultural town, it is a gateway to the Malampuzha dam.

  16. Kottakal (168 Km): Famous for the Kottakel Arye Vaidye Sala, a pioneering centre for Ayvrveda.