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Cochin - Quick Facts

Area: 94.88 sq km.
Population: 612,343
Altitude: Sea Level
Rain Fall: 350 cm annually
Language: Malayalam & English

Cochin, the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala, has one of the finest natural harbours in the world. Ancient mariners from Arabia, China, Holland, Britain and Portugal have all left their mark on this beautiful island city. One of the finest natural harbours on the Arabian Sea coast, Cochin, earlier known as Cochin has been a port of call for foreign traders from early times. Its cosmopolitan character is reflected in the buildings and structures representing different regions of the world. A city of peninsulas and islands, today it is Kerala's commercial hub. Kerala's prime tourist destination, it spreads across islands and promontories in a stunning location between the Arabian Sea and Backwaters. Its main sections: modern Ernakulam in the east and the old districts of Mattancherry and Fort Cochin on a peninsula in the west are linked by a complex system of ferries.

Cochin - Kerala Commercial Capital
A prime tourist destination and also the commercial capital the district represent the modern facet of Kerala. The most cosmopolitan of the state's cities, Cochin has been long eulogized in tourist literature as the 'Queen of the Arabian Sea'. The beauty of the place is stunningly different and has long-standing maritime importance. Cochin is Kerala's major port, which is strategically located on the East-West trade route. Boasting of one of the finest natural harbours in the world, the city forms the hub around which the city revolves. Most of the city's commercial centres and shops are located in the town called Ernakulam, which also lends its name to the district. The Backwaters extend east and south of the harbour and contain tiny islands formed naturally over a long time by alluvial deposits from the rivers that empty into them.

Kochi is well connected by air, rail, road and waterways to all major cities within and outside Kerala.

By Air
Cochin/ Kochi (Airport Code: COK) has a domestic airport with flights to Agatti, Bangalore, Mumbai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Goa, Madras and Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum - the capital of Kerala). The new Cochin International Airport is at Nedumbassery beside National Highway No. 47(Kochi-Coimbatore-Chennai), 30 km from Ernakulam downtown & 40 km from Willingdon Island.

By Rail
Kochi and Ernakulum are connected to the rest of India by an extensive network of rails. There are three important railway stations here namely Cochin Harbour Terminus, Ernakulam Junction and Ernakulam Town. Many important trains start from here and many others pass through these stations.

By Road
Three important National Highways (NH) pass through/start from Kochi, apart from many state roads. NH 47 from Kanyakumari to Salem passes left through the heart of Kochi while NH 17 to Mumbai and NH 49 to Madurai (in Tamil Nadu) start from Kochi. Private and public transport services are available to/from all major cities of South India from here.

Bolghatty Palace
This Dutch palace is situated on the Bolghatty Island. At present it is being used as hotel. The island has a fine golf course and the panoramic view makes it an attractive picnic spot. Frequent boat service is available from the mainland.

Chinese Fishing
The Chinese fishing nets found here are the only ones of its kind in India. It is believed that traders from the court of the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan introduced these nets here.

Dutch Palace
The Dutch Palace was originally built by the Portuguese. Later, in 17th century, the Dutch modified it and presented to the Raja of Kochi. Coronation of many Rajas of Kochi was held here. The place has a fine collection of mural paintings depicting the scenes from the Hindu epics Mahabharatha and Ramayana.

Fort Kochi Beach
A stroll along the beach, particularly at sunset with the Chinese fishing nets and sailing ships in the background, is a fine experience. Many European style bungalows can be seen along the shoreline.

Hill Palace
Built in the 19th century by Raja of Kochi, the Kochi province was ruled from here. The palace has been converted into a museum displaying a fine collection of articles used by the Rajas of Kochi apart from many archaeological findings.

Jewish Synagogue
The synagogue, magnificently decorated by Chinese tiles and Belgian chandeliers, was built in 1568. Giant scrolls of the Old Testament can be found here. It is located near the Dutch Palace.

Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary
Believe it or not this bird sanctuary is situated left in the heart of Kochi city. It is the home of many exotic and rare varieties of migratory birds.

Museum of Kerala History
Located at Edappally, 10 km, from Ernakulam city, it is the only one of its kind in Kerala.The museum has on display life size statues of many famous personalities and several paintings depicting Kerala History. The history of Kerala is exhibited and narrated with the help of light and sound.

Palliport (Pallipuram) Fort
It is the oldest European fort built in India. Built by the Portuguese in 1503, it is one of the oldest existing European monuments in India.

Thampuram Museum
The museum is situated near the famous Siva Temple, Ernakulam. It houses a treasure of archaeological findings and relics including old coins, sculptures, oil paintings and murals.

St. Francis Church
It is the oldest church built by European in India.On his 3rd visit to Kerala, Vasco da Gama, the Portugese trader who reached India from Europe by sea, fell ill and died in Kochi. He was buried in the St. Francis Church. Later his remains were taken back to Portugal. In spite of that the exact place where he was buried has been marked out inside the church.

The backwaters separating Ernakulam from Fort Kochi and Mattanchery are dotted with many small and big islands. A ride through the backwaters is an unforgettable experience. The Cochin Shipyard, Cochin Refineries, Fertilizers and Chemicals Travancore, Hindustan Machine Tools, Indian Rare Earths, etc and other large and medium scale industries make Kochi a very important industrial area. Theses India Foundation arranges daily Kathakali performance. Kathakali is a fascinating traditional Kerala dance form.

Fort Cochin
The St. Francis Church is located in Fort Cochin, which was built in 1510 AD, by five Portuguese priests who arrived with Albuquerque. The church, the burial site for Vasco da Gama in 1524 AD is said to be the oldest European church built in India.

Jew Town
The area around the Synagogue is a centre of spice trade and curio shops.

45 kms from Cochin, it is one of the largest elephant capturing camps and training centres in India. It is on the southern banks of Periyar River amidst the beautiful high ranges near Perumbadoor. Even though elephant capture was banned in 1977, the training centre continues to function.

Thommankuthu Waterfalls
Located 20 kms from Thodupuzha, Thommankuthu is a small and beautiful, wild waterfall. Thommankuthu attracts thousands of tourists every year. The wild beauty of the scenic waterfall will steal the heart of any traveller.

Cochin Carnival
Cochin Carnival is a merry making feast observed during the last week of every year in Fort Cochin in Kerala. The carnival dates back to the Portuguese New Year revelry held here during the colonial days.

Indira Gandhi Boat Race
Indira Gandhi Boat Race is a grand feast on the rolling backwaters of Cochin. Conducted in the last week of December, it is a fitting finale to the Tourism Fair.

The items is of immense beauty for the simple reason that Keralities are gifted artisans. Among Kochi's best buy are metalware, camel-bone carvings, wood carvings, articles made of coconut shels, baboo cane, embroidered screwpine mats; grass mats; and several other types of handicrafts. Kochi also has several antique dealers. Jewellery, readymade garments, and ethnic hand-woven textiles follow closely.

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