Kerala is known as God’s own country the city of Kochi makes this adage come true. It’s a bustling city in the state of Kerala which once was the hub of the spice trade of India. The vessels of the Arab merchants later the Portuguese, the Dutch and the English used to come to Kochi to buy and trade the choicest of spices specially the black Gold-Black pepper. It’s said black pepper was equivalent to Gold in value in the ancient times.
Kochi has been the centre of Jews a minority population, probably once upon a time the most of the Jews lived in Kochi.
The harbor of Kochi has been used by the traders since 14th century when a flood hit the city and the harbor naturally came in to existence the city has old cathedrals, palaces, temples from the long bygone era. A tour of Cochin will give you a detailed know how of the Kerala’s past present and the future as the city is now turning in to a modern metropolis with large swanky malls, metro train, an excellent international airport.
How to Reach Kochi : - Cochin is very well connected with all major Indian cities even internationally Cochin is very well connected, Cochin has lots of international flights flying to Middle East as Kerala has thousands of expatriates working and living in Middle East. The nearest railway station is Ernakulam which has trains connecting with all parts of India. You can even catch buses (both luxury and the government owned) from major cities of south India like Hyderabad, Calicut, Thiruvanathapuram, Chennai, Bangalore etc.
Kerala Cuisines: - Cochin has been always associated with the spice trade, these Kerala spices impart a unique taste to the Kerala cuisine, using black pepper, tamarind, coconut, curry leaves, asafetida the Kerala cuisines in both vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes deliver an everlasting taste idli, dosa, appam, kadla curry, payyasam, sambar are some very popular kerala vegetarian dishes. Sea food is also available easily in Cochin as it’s a coastal town.
Chinese Fishing nets: - These ubiquitous structures in the Cochin harbor will sure entice you, in fact these are contraptions made with simple technology using bamboo, dead weight, these fishing nets are lowered in to the harbor and after a certain line raised with the catch. Now hardly these structures are used for fishing as the harbor now has abysmal fish count, these Chinese nets are used to entertain the tourists. These fishermen now survive primarily on the money they get by exhibiting these fishing nets to the tourist.
Jew street Kochi: - If you are interested in street shopping then this street is your destination. This street has curio shops selling antique, handicraft, souvenirs etc. There are spice shops on this street from where you can buy the famous Kerala spices. If interested you can also by perfumes, incense sticks at affordable prices. This street leads to the Jewish synagogue so the name got associated with the Jewish community. Infect Kerala has a long association with the Jewish religion and Kerala Jews are one of the oldest Jews, the Paradesi synagogue dates back to year 1568.
Lulu Mall: - This is sure the biggest mall in the southern part of India. In this mall you will find all the brands under one roof. The brands which are manufactured in India, swanky international brands, food plazas, food outlets such as Mc Donald, KFC and so much more, if you are a diehard shopaholic then this place is for you as it never seems to end, A 12 lane bowling alley, ice skating rink, a real world class cinema theatre, this mall has a lot to entertain you.
St. Francis Church Kochi: - One of the oldest Christian Church in India built in 1503 by the Portuguese traders, this church is also associated with Vasco D Gama who was buried here after his death, later his mortal remains were taken to lisbon where he rests in his grave even now at Jeronimos monastery. Vasco D Gama is credited of finding the sea route to India during the medieval times. These traders were in pursuit of shorter sea routes to get involved in the profitable spice trade with India. The grave stone of Vasco D Gama still exists at this church which exhibits the characters of typical Portuguese architecture.
Mattancherry Palace: - This palace is also known as the Dutch Palace though in style and architecture its pure Kerala style with a large courtyard and Murals depicting the Hindu Gods and Goddesses. It was built by the Portuguese and gifted to the king of Kochi later the Dutch renovated and extended it showing the life and style of the Kochi kings. The Durbar, the dining hall have been meticulously preserved for the visitors. The palace has been conserved and it may also appear in the list of world heritage.
Folk Lore Museum: - Though the museum are all of similar nature and have similar exhibits but this museum is a lot different as it focuses on the ancient tribal culture and the art culture and heritage specifically of southern India. The exhibits focus on this subject and are in a way lot different from the exhibits of other museums in India. There are paintings, idols etc on display. There is an entrance of Rs 100 levied on adult visitors, for students its just INR 50.
Santa Cruz Basilica: - The lofted spires of the external façade lent a grand look to the basilica which is one amongst the nine basilicas of Kerala. The church was given the status of cathedral by the Pope Paul IV in 1558. Pope John Paul in 1984 proclaimed it to be a basilica. The structure is built in Gothic style, the outer façade is lime washed while the inner atrium has been painted by an Italian artist.
Marina Drive Kochi: - if you are staying in Kochi and want to spend your evening calmly then marine drive is an ideal location for you this peaceful location is very next to the water ways of Kochi and has numerous merchant establishment selling various goods and eatables. Enjoy the cool breeze blowing across as you walk down the shopping arcade.
Andhakaranazhi Beach: - If you love the sea then enjoy this quaint beach near the Kochi city, this beach has clean environment with a light house which once guided the commercial vessels sailing near the Kochi harbor. This beach was worst affected by the Tsunami in 2004. This is an excellent location to enjoy the sunset.