Formerly known as Cochin, Kochi is
located along the Arabian Sea, on the south-west coast of India. Kochi
is one of the seven taluks of Ernakulam district in the state of Kerala.
Straddled by the backwaters, it is bordered by the Arabian Sea in the
west and urbanised region in the east. The major part of the city lies
at sea level along the coastline of around 48 km. Spread over an area of
94.88 sq km, Kochi is the second largest city of Kerala. Inhabited by
601,574 people, the city of Kochi is a part of an extended metropolitan
Comprising Kakkanad in the north-east, Tripunithura in the south-east
and mainland Ernakulam, Kochi is a part of the Greater Cochin region.
Areas like Old Kochi, Kadavanthra, the suburbs of Edapally, the exurbia
of Kalamassery and some islands of the Vembanad Lake, are also included
in Kochi. It also encompasses areas like Mattancherry, Fort Kochi,
Palluruthy and Thoppumpady.
History of Kochi
According to legend, Kochi was the centre of the Indian spice trade and
was immigrated by the Arabs, British, Chinese, Dutch and Portuguese for
trade purposes. During this period, the city was referred to as Cochym,
Cochin, Cochi and even Cocym.
The city of Kochi gained importance as a port in 1341 AD, when the port
at Kodungallur was ruined by flooding of the Periyar River. In the 15th
century, this port city began prospering, as the Portuguese penetrated
the Indian Ocean. The first Portuguese factory was established by Vasco
da Gama, while the first European fort in India was built by the
Portuguese Viceroy, Afonso de Albuquerque. In 1635, the British settled
in Kochi; however, the Dutch forced them out in 1663.
Under the Dutch rule, Kochi developed as an important trade centre.
Haidar Ali, the militant prince of Mysore, took over the city in 1776.
However, his son Tipu Sultan surrendered to the British in 1791.
After the Anglo-Dutch Treaty in 1814, Kochi came under the
administration of the British. Under the command of Sir Robert Bistrow,
the forts built across the city were destroyed and Kochi was developed
into a major Indian harbour.
Willingdon Island, which now houses the Naval Airport, Cochin Port and
Southern Naval Command headquarters, was built during the British rule
in Kochi. In 1866, Fort Kochi was converted into a municipality and its
first Municipal Council election was conducted in 1883. Later, when
India gained independence in 1947, Kochi became the first princely state
to join the Indian Union willingly. In 1956, the state of Kerala was
formed by the merger of Travancore, Malabar and Kochi.
People & Culture of Kochi
Eleven years later, the Corporation of Kochi was formed by the
unification of Fort Kochi, Mattancherry and Ernakulam along with some
nearby villages. From then on, Kochi became a major commercial and
industrial centre of India.
Over the course of time, successive waves of migration of Malayalis,
Konkanis, Gujaratis, Punjabis, Tamilians and Jews have made Kochi a
cultural melting pot. Home to the Cochin Stock Exchange, Cochin Special
Economic Zone and Infopark and International Container Transshipment
Terminal, Kochi is referred to as the commercial capital of Kerala.
Renowned as one of the fastest growing second-tier metros in India,
Kochi is a booming centre of information technology, tourism and
Things to do in Kochi
The city has also emerged as a tourist hub of South India and is
commonly referred to as the ‘Gateway to Kerala’. Attracting tourists
from around the world, Fort Kochi, Bolghatty Palace
and the backwaters are major highlights of the city. The city also has a
strong inclination towards the arts and tourists visiting Kochi can
visit places like the Kerala Folklore Theatre where people can watch
plays or even spend time at the museum. Also know for its Ayurvedic
centres, tourists can also indulge in some treatments at the many
Ayurvedic spas in the city. A wholesome experience of Kochi and its
sights and sounds can also be taken by opting for attractive Kochi holiday packages
Food & Shopping in Kochi
The best way to get around in Kochi is by local transport. Buses and
auto rickshaws are good options. As for food, Kochi is a haven for sea
food lovers. Local restaurants serve dishes like fish fry- also known as
fish molly locally - calamari, dosas, appams, tapioca fry and curries
among other South Indian delicacies. Kochi also enjoys a vibrant
nightlife with many lounge bars and discos located in and around M.G.
Road. Shopping in Kochi too can be a pleasant experience for tourists.
Travellers can try the market in Jew Town
, M.G. Road or the government shop called Kairali where local handicrafts and textiles are sold.
Travelling to Kochi
Tourists can reach Kochi
by air, rail and road. The international airport of Kochi is located at
Nedumbassery, 20 km away from the city centre. It connects Kochi to
major cities in India as well as international destinations. Travellers
can also reach Kochi by road. It is well connected to Bangalore (565
km), Coimbatore (223 km) and Chennai (470 km) among other cities.
Kochi’s railway stations – one in Ernakulam and the other near the
harbor – have trains connecting this port to major cities across India.
Accommodation options in Kochi
Kochi has a range of staying options and they cater to all kind of travellers. Popular hotels in Kochi
are located in areas like Fort Kochi and the main city of Ernakulam as
well as places like the Willingdon Island. They range from budget
options, homestays to luxury and boutique hotels.
The best time to visit Kochi is from October through March.