Earlier we used to call it Cochin, but now it is Kochi, the commercial hub of Kerala. Kochi is known as the Queen of Arabian Sea. The city is famous nowadays because of Cochin Biennale which happens every alternate year. It is a wonderful exploration of art and craft; something no art-enthusiast should miss! The city is famous for spicing trading since the 14th century. The Central government has considered Kochi as a Tier-2 city.
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Kochi comes under the Greater Cochin region. Kochi’s development part comes under Greater Cochin Development Authority or GCDA as it is popularly known. Kochi also has the southern naval command of India. Cochin Shipyard, Cochin refineries, Cochin Stock Exchange, FACT, Special Economic Zone and InfoPark are all located in and around the Cochin City. These along with the malls and tourism make up for Kochi’s multi-hued culture and economy.
Kochi was famous for its spice trading with countries across the world. Romans, Jews, Greeks, Chinese and Portuguese used to visit the Muziris Port in Kochi regularly for trading spices. There was a huge flood in 1341 which damaged the Muziris port near Kodungallore. Thereafter, the Cochin Port became very important in central Kerala. During the 15th century, Chinese traveller MaHuan wrote about Cochin in his books. In 1440, when the Italian Voyager Niccolo Da Conti came to Cochin, he referred to it in his book.
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The Kingdom of Cochin was established during the 12th century and it was under the Chera Kingdom. But after the Chera Dynasty, Cochin was under Perumpadappu Swaroopam. The rulers of Cochin shifted the capital from Cochin to Thrissur. Later in 1870, again they shifted the capital to Tripunithura, a suburb of Kochi. Ernakulam district was formed in April 1958 by including some parts of Malabar, Cochin and Travancore kingdoms.
Mattancherry is around 9 Km away from Kochi city. It is a popular tourist destination they really enjoy. You can see many Tamilians, Gujaratis and Goans in Mattancherry. They all reached here long back for trading spices. Thanks to this mix of culture, the people of Mattancherry celebrate all South Indian and North Indian festivals. There is a Jain temple dedicated to Shri Dharmanath in Mattancherry. This Temple has a huge area and has specific places for prayer and offerings. There is no caste restriction in this temple.
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Mattancherry has India’s oldest Jewish synagogue which is still functioning. The Palace of Mattancherry, Pazhayannur temple and mosques are very famous tourist destinations in Mattancherry. In the palace, you can see many spears, swords other weapons used to guard the boundaries from enemies. Mattancherry Jew Street is a place famous for handicrafts from across India. You should never miss the spices you can buy here.
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Fort Kochi beach is the best place to enjoy your evenings playing beach volley. What makes Fort Kochi more picturesque are the Chinese fishing nets along the waterways. These huge nets are not easy to handle by a single person, so they work in a group to catch fish. The Portuguese-built Fort Emanuel is another popular tourist spot here. St. Francis Church is very famous because it is where Vasco Da Gama was buried. Fort Kochi was under the Portuguese, Dutch and English for a long time. Buildings of Fort Kochi have a mix of all these cultures. Santa Cruz Basilica and Bishop House are other monuments in Fort Kochi. All these monuments have more than 300 years of history to tell.
You can enjoy shopping in the city. You can go to Asia’s second biggest Mall, Lulu, at Edappalli where you can get anything under the sun. It’s a huge mall with multiplex, gaming zone, food court, restaurants and very popular brands. There are more malls in the city – Oberon, Nucleus, Central, Grand Mall etc.
Photo by Sangeeth VS
Kochi is well-known for its backwaters. You can enjoy it in the evening at the Marine Drive. Here the Rainbow Bridge is a popular hangout which opens to the Kochi backwaters and lights up in the evening. You will find a good crowd in the place with people who come to enjoy the sunset. There are many small shops nearby where you can enjoy snacks along with the sunset. There is boating facility from Marine drive. You can choose Kerala tourism packages in which you can visit the suburbs by boat along with an authorised guide. You can visit Fort Kochi and Mattancherry from Marine Drive.
Featured Photo by Tim Moffatt