Kochi, situated on the southwestern coast of India is Kerala’s largest city. It is also a major port city. An ancient trading center, Kochi was known as Cochin earlier. Also known as the ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea, Kochi has been an important center for spices since the 14th century CE. Ancient Kochi had trade links with Rome, Africa, Arabia, and China. The Portuguese were the first of the Europeans to establish a colony here in 1503 CE. This was their headquarters in India until they shifted to Goa in 1530. Kochi has been visited by famous travelers such as Nicola Conti and Ma Huan in the 15th century CE. Kochi is the financial and industrial center of Kerala as well home to the Southern Naval Command of the Indian Navy.
Cochin Harbour was created by a Flood
Cochin had no harbor prior to 1341. In this year the nearby ports of Cranganore and Muziris were destroyed due to massive flooding. The same floods carved out the Cochin Harbour from the coastline. In the years that followed, Kochi became known to Arab, Roman, Greek, and Chinese traders. It was soon established as a major center for trade, particularly the spice trade.
Places to Visit in and near Kochi
This is a place built by the Portuguese but is known as the Dutch Palace. This is now a museum displaying artifacts, portraits, and belongings of the former kings of Kochi. An ideal way to learn about the history of Kerala.
is actually a village and is still full of the old world and colonial charm. Its colorful buildings and streets make this village look like a small town in Europe. The adjacent beach is an added attraction.
Chinese Fishing Nets
These nets are a unique way of fishing in the sea. Connected to bamboos and weighed down by stones these nets ensure a huge catch of fish. It is believed the first set of nets was gifted by Kublai Khan, the Chinese Emperor. This is one of the most popular places for tourists.
Veeranpuzha Lake and Backwaters
This is a beautiful lake interconnected to other lakes and lagoons leading to the backwaters. The lake is mostly parallel to the coastline.
Located on Bolgatty island, this palace was built by the Dutch in 1744. The structure is an exquisite example of the Kochi style of architecture with beautifully landscaped gardens on all sides. Bolgatty Palace is now a luxury hotel.
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica
is located in Fort Kochi and was built in 1505 by Francesco de Almeida, the first Portuguese Viceroy. It is one of the eight basilicas in India. This basilica was destroyed in 1795 and rebuilt from 1887 to 1902.
Besides these places, there are many more temples, churches, historical structures, beaches, shopping malls, and amusement parks to visit in Kochi. Kerala is often called ‘God’s Own Country’ and Kochi is no exception. It is indeed a paradise for tourists and nature lovers.
How to reach
Kerala is well connected by rail, road, and air to the rest of India. Local transport is easily available by way of buses, taxis, autos, and boats to get around.
Distances from Kochi
- Coimbatore – 190 km
- Trivandrum – 199 km
- Madurai – 272 km
- Kanyakumari – 287 km
- Bangalore – 548 km