Welcome to Kochi!
Kochi or as per colonial name Cochin has been an important spice trading centre on the West coast of India since the 14th century. Don’t get confused on many names the city has, like the main railway station`s name Ernakulam. It’s just because after India’s independence Kochi was formed by merging smaller towns like Fort Kochi, Mattanchery, Ernakulam and many nearby villages. Kochi is also the headquarters of India’s Southern Naval Command and home to the Navy’s main training centre. Because of its strategic location on the international seafaring route between Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific Rim, the harbor of Kochi has developed into a major world trading center and it has been ruled by numerous empires. Therefore, so many cultures have come in and blended into this beautiful spot of Kochi. Here is our Top 5 Must-See Places in Kochi!
1. Fort Kochi and beaches
The coast of the Fort Kochi district is very interesting as here you can watch fishermen earning their livelihood by fishing with giant nets called Cheenavala. It is considered that outside of China, these massive fishing nets are only found in Kochi, and have been introduced to this port city by Chinese traders. Take a walk around the beaches, where locals are spending their time in the evenings. Here you will also find souvenir stands with local handicrafts that are made just on the spot and vast marine products that are being cooked in sea side restaurants.
2. Churches and temples
Locals in Kochi practice a range of religions like Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Jainism, Judaism and Sikhism. Therefore Kochi is a city to explore the religious buildings. And some to mention are churches. Those are so different! India’s first European church, St. Francis Church, was built exactly in Kochi by Portuguese, it was later renewed by the Dutch and then by the British. This church contains a clearly-marked burial spot for Portuguese trader Vasco da Gama, who died in Kochi during his third visit. Vasco da Gama was buried in the St. Francis Church, but his remains were later taken back to Portugal. Do not miss Santa Cruz Basilica and others as well!
3. Jew Town
The Jewish Synagogue is another popular tourist attraction in Kochi. It’s decorated with Chinese tiles and Belgian chandeliers, is quite a touristy point of the city so you might find yourself in a crowd and q just to get in. The synagogue is small, but beautiful. And it is located in the Jewish district of the city where you will find different antiques, souvenirs and some traditional Indian handicrafts. In this place you will also find boats that will offer you a ride and Dutch Palace, built in 1568.
4. Princess Street
This street is one of the oldest streets in Fort Kochi. Here you will be able to find buildings of European architecture with British, Dutch, Portuguese and French touch. Also a number of coffee shops, restaurants, tourism information centres and souvenir stands. Amazing handicrafts, bright clothes, jewelry and perfumes from natural oils. And not only – visit Ayurveda centers and spas!
5. Alappuzha or Allapey
You can try boat rides in Kochi, but most of the tours and boats will bring you to Allapey, which is located 50 km South from Kochi. Allapey has become one of the most visited spots in Kerala thanks to its unique backwaters, boat races, beaches and an assortment of marine products. Take a boat just for yourself for 5$ an hour or try a houseboat cruise. There is also annual Nehru Trophy Boat Race, held near Alappuzha.
Portuguese, Duch, British, Arabs and Chinese have left the footprint on Kochi development. And these different cultures that have arrived here years ago have now blended together, making Kochi marvelous and interesting place to visit. This city has taken care of tourism and here you will be able to find not only sites to visit, but also different tours like river cruises, rides to elephant sanctuary and many more. Kochi will give you great experience of Kerala state. Enjoy!