An Introduction

Kochi carries gracefully her renowned sobriquet Queen of the Arabian Sea. Kochi is an easygoing, pleasant mini-metro (greater Kochi has a population of 1.7 m) with an important harbour. Mainland Ernakulam is the busier sister city of Kochi and is the commercial capital of Kerala. Kochi has a superb natural harbour, an estuary that was created by a flood in 1341 AD. Spices and sandalwood attracted doves of traders from around the world including Arabs, Chinese, British, Dutch and Portuguese traders. M.G. Road and Marine Drive-Park Avenue are the main shopping areas of the town.

The harbour will in the future secure a significant role in the economy of the region as the Vallarpadam International Container Transhipment Terminal is planned in the neighbouring island of Vallarpadam.

Pic above: A Chinese fishing net, a cheenavala - These cantilevered nets, introduced by Chinese traders, exhibit a mechanical method of catching fish. Kublai Khan's traders introduced these nets in the mid-14th/15th centuries.

Major Sights

Mattancherry Palace
The Dutch Palace, as it is also known, was built by the Portuguese in 1557 AD and presented to the Raja of Kochi, Veera Kerala Varma. Renovations by Dutch earned the name Dutch Palace.
Jewish Synagogue
Built in 1568, this is the oldest synagogue in India. The surrounding area called Jew Town is a center for spice trading and curio shops.
Bolghatty Palace
Once the seat of the British Resident of Cochin, today the palace is a KTDC run hotel.
Santa Cruz Cathedral
St. Francis Assisi Basilica
This is the oldest church in Kochi blending Portuguese and Kerala styles.
Siva Temple
Maritime Museum
Kerala Kathakali Centre
Kathakali performances

A view from Mattancherry Palace

Getting There

Cochin International Airport, some 30 kms Northwest of Ernakulam at Nedumbassery offers flights to various points in southern India, Goa and Mumbai. Cochin Airport is also served by the following international airlines in addition to numerous Air-India/Air-India Express and Indian Airlines Gulf flights. Lufthansa is planning direct services to Kochi.

Oman Air
Gulf Air
Saudia Arabian Airlines
Qatar Airways
Kuwait Airways
SriLankan Airlines
Silk Air

Ernakulam Junction is a major railhead of the Southern Railway.

Kochi is well connected by road to different parts of Kerala.

Cruise ships occasionally berth at Kochi for a day or so. Ships ply also to the Lakshadweep Islands.

Local transportation consists of buses and auto rickshaws. Ferries connect Ernakulam with Vypeen Island, Mattancherry, Fort Kochi, Varapuzha and Willingdon Island from the Main Ferry Station.


Hotels are plenty in Kochi and Ernakulam. I have listed below few of the more popular hotels available.

Le Meridien Resort & Convention Centre Kochi is a five-star hotel located South of downtown Ernakulam.
Casino Hotel - Willingdon Island
KTDC Bolghatty Palace is a heritage hotel
Taj Residency is located on Ernakulam's Marine Drive
Taj Malabar on Willingdon Island
Brunton's Boatyard
The Avenue Regent - M.G. Road
The Woods Manor - M.G. Road
The International Hotel - M.G. Road
Abad Plaza - M.G. Road

Related Links

Ernakulam.com >>
Ernakulam District >>
Veega Land >>