Kochi, also known as Cochin and often called as Ernakulum is one of the most prominent tourist cities of Kerala. Besides being important for tourism, Kochi is also a major industrial and commercial city of Kerela. Kochi is one of the most preferred tourist destinations in the world.
Designated as the ‘Queen of Arabian Sea’ it remained the preferred sea port for trading and commercial activities for centuries and at present it is one of the largest sea hub of India. One can witness the Indian and the western culture imbibed at this place because of the different communities that have lived here for years including Portuguese, Britishers, Chinese and Dutch. This place has a rich culture and heritage attached with it.
Kochi offers many interesting tourist destinations, beautiful beaches and monuments that attract many visitors around the globe. Kochi is also famous for some of the very interesting things like traditional Chinese fishing nets, oldest Church of India, Portuguese houses that are around 500 yr old, spices, coconut palm trees and many more.
Major Tourist Attractions in Kochi
- Fort Kochi – Fort Kochi is a small place to roam around in Kochi. It is one of the best sight-seeing destinations here. This place consists of many architectural buildings and structures of European style. Tourists can walk through the beaches to witness the sailing ships and traditional fishing nets. They can also relish the local delicacies of Kochi at this site.
- Jewish Synagogue – It is one of the oldest active synagogues in India built by Jews in 1568. Tourist and visitors keep this place to visit on priority in their itinerary.
- Bolgatty Palace – Bolgatty Palace is one of the exciting destinations in Kochi to visit. It is located on the beautiful Bolgatty Island. Being managed by Kerela Tourism Development Corporation, this place which was once a royal palace has been converted to a good quality hotel. Visitors enjoy many activities like boating in backwaters and play golf.
- Willingdon Island – This island is named after the former viceroy of India, Lord Willingdom. It is a man-made artificial island made up of the sand that has been dug out to deepen the Kochi port.
- St. Francis Church – It is the oldest church of India built in around 1503. Its magnificent architectural style makes it one of the most visited sites in Kochi by the tourists.
Besides those that are mentioned above, there are many other places of tourist interest in Kochi that attract many visitors and pilgrims from all across the country.
- Mattancherry Palace
- Marine Drive
- Pareekshith Thampuran Museum
- Museum of Kerela
- Thattekad Bird Santury
- Kathakali Centres
Festivals and Fairs
Kochi is famous for some of the exotic events and festivals that are celebrated here with full pomp and gaiety. Tourists and visitors specially plan their travel during the festive time of Kochi. Apart from the all the famous Indian festivals, some of the very important festivals that are celebrated here are Attachamayam, Kochi carnival, Indira Gandhi Boat Race, Onam, Jewish Festival, Thalapoli, Malayatoor Perunal and Utsavam.
- Onam – Onam is one of the biggest and widely celebrated festivals in Kochi. It is designated as the Harvest Festival of Kerela. It falls during the month of August-September and lasts for at least 10 days. This festival accompanies various cultural and traditional activities including famous Kathakali Dance events and huge processions all over the city.
- Kochi Carnival – It is the most awaited event not only by the residents here but also by the tourist and visitors planning to come over here. This carnival is celebrated during the last 7 days in December every year at Fort Kochi. During this event, the whole city and Fort Kochi is filled with joy and enthusiasm, city is beautifully decorated and decked up by the visitors and tourists. Many competitions and cultural activities take place during this event to entertain the crowd.
- India Gandhi Boat Race – This is a mega event that takes place in the last week of December held at the beautiful backwaters of Kerela. It gives a spectacular view to watch snakes boats rowed by 125 men in rhythm of the songs sung by the group of people and cheering sounds of the visitors along the bank of the water.
- Attachayamam – This festival is celebrated to commemorate the victory of King of Kochi. It is held in the month of August-September.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Kochi is between October and March when the climate is pleasant. One can explore and do all the sightseeing very comfortably. Kochi witnesses hot and humid summers between April to June with the maximum temperature touching 38 0C. During the monsoon, the beauty of the city increases with rain showers that starts between the months of July and September.
How to Reach
By Air – The Kochi Airport known as Nedumbassery International airport is about 20 Km away from the main city which is very well connected with all major states and cities across India.
By Rail – The Kochi Junction Railway station is the main point of connection with all the major cities and railway network across India and hence visitors do not feel any difficulty reaching here by train.
By Road – Kerela State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) connects Kochi with all the major cities and town across Kerela. Many buses and cabs are available to ply on these routes.