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About Cochin ( Kochi )

Set on a cluster of islands and narrow peninsulas, the port city of Cochin (Kochi) reflects the eclecticism of Kerala perfectly. With a rich past and a bustling present, it has been the business hub of the region from the very early days.

Cochin consists of mainland Ernakulam, the islands of Willington, Bolgatty and Gundu in the harbour, Fort Cochin and Mattancherry on the southern peninsula, and Vypeen Island north of Fort Cochin, all linked by ferry.

The influence of Chinese, Jews, Arabs and Europeans is evident in Cochin and its people. The oldest church in India, 500-year-old Portugese houses, old tiled houses built in the Chinese pagoda style, the famous Chinese fishing nets, a Jewish community whose roots go back to the Diaspora, synagogues and mosques all tell the fascinating story of this harbour town.

The harbour is still at the heart of the city and pepper, sea food, rubber and coir are exported from here. Despite this, Cochin is an attractive city with serene back-waters, lagoons overhung with feathery coconut palms and picturesque islands.

The older parts of Fort Cochin and Mattanchery are an unlikely blend of medieval Portugal, Holland and an English country village grafted onto the troppical Malabar coast. Cochin is one of India's largest ports and a major naval base.

What to See

Bolghatty Palace - Once a mansion of the British Resident and now a hotel, is in palm fringed Bolghatty Island.

Mattancherry Palace - The palace (Dutch Palace) was built by the Portuguese in 1557 and presented to the Cochin Raja, Veera Kerala Varma. The Dutch renovated it after 1663, and hence the palace has another name, 'Dutch Palace'.

The most important feature of Mattanchery Palace is the murals in the bedchambers and other rooms, which depict scenes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranic legends connected with Shiva, Vishnu, Krishna, Kumara and Durga. These murals are some of the most beautiful and extensive, and are one of the wonders of India.

Jewish Synagogue - Constructed in 1568, this is the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth. A stone slab from Kochangadi synagogue (built in 1344, and has then disappeared), inscribed in Hebrew, can be found on the inner surface of the wall. The synagogue has hand-painted, willow pattern floor tiles brought from China.

St. Francis Church - Built in 1503 by Portugese Franciscan friars, this is India's oldest European-built church. The original structure was wood, but was rebuilt in stone in mid-16th century. Vasco da Gama, the first European to reach India, died in Cochin in 1524 and was buried here for 14 years before his remains were transferred to Portugal. The tombstone still stands.

Chinese Fishing Nets - Lined along the sea-front, these fishing nets exhibit a mechanical method of catching fish, introduced by Chinese traders from the court of Kublai Khan. These nets are also seen along the backwaters between Cochin and Kottayam, and between Alleppey (Alappuzha) and Quilon (Kollam). They are mainly used at high tide.

Parishath Thampuran Museum - Housed in what was previously Durbar Hall, constructed in traditional Kerala style, the museum contains collections of 19th century oil paintings, old coins, sculptures and Mughul paintings and exhibits from the Cochin Royal family.

Commercial City

Maybe it's Kochi's cosmopolitan lineage, its sophistication and dynamism, which has helped it become the commercial capital of Kerala (one of the 50 most sought after tourist destinations in the world). From a thriving port to a flourishing spice trade, from industrial entrepreneurship to fine arts, even some great cuisine, there is so much to savour here.

The Mahatma Gandhi Road (earlier known as the Seventy-feet Road), branching off from Banerji Road in its north end right upto Thevara Junction, approximately four kilometers down south, cuts through what is today the city's main commercial district. A bustling shopping centre where one can buy almost all kinds of goods on sale, including textiles, ready-made garments, jewellery, handicrafts, electronic goods, books, footwear, toys, etc. There are also half-a-dozen cinema houses for your entertainment. Minus the dazzling range of shops, buildings on either side house banks, finance firms, insurance companies, hospitals, airline offices, travel bureaus, hotels, and restaurants. By nightfall, the city's main artery brightens up with colourful neon signs and is enlivened by busy shoppers or people coming out to enjoy themselves. Both, the Ernakulam Junction railway station and the KSRTC bus station are located centrally, east of M G Road. The Cochin Shipyard is located south, overlooking Willingdon Island.

Kerala Tourist Development Corporation's daily conducted boat cruises around Cochin harbour visit Willingdon Island, Gundu Island, Mattanchery Palace, Jewish Synagogue, Fort Cochin, St. Francis Church, Chinese fishing nets and Bolgatty Island. Tourists can also watch Kathakali performances, as well as displays of Kalaripayattu.

FACTS & FIGURES

Area : 8,700 sq km
Population : 1,600,000
Languages : Malayalam and English

CLIMATE
Being situated very close to the sea, Kochi has a moderate climate, with heavy rains during JuneAugust due to the southwest monsoon. Winter starts from December and continues till February. In summer, the temperature rises to a maximum of 35C and 25C in the winters. Annual average rainfall is 310 cm.

Where to Stay

KTDC Hotel, Bolghatty Island.
Bharat Tourist Home, Darbal Hall Road, Ernakulam.
Taj Malabar Hotel, Willington Island
Casino Hotel, Willington Island
Hotel Sealord, Ernakulam
The International Hotel, Ernakulam
Hotel Taj Residency
Hotel Avenue Regent
Hotel Le Meridien
Grand Hotel

HOW TO REACH

There are Indian Airlines and Jet Airways direct services to Delhi, Bombay, Madras, Goa, Bangalore, and Trivandrum from Cochin.
Cochin is connected by rail to most of the important cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai.
Cochin is connected by road with several tourist centers in India. It is 565 km from Bangalore, 223 km from Coimbatore, 848 km from Goa, 694 km from Madras, 470 km from Mysore, and 312 km form Ootacamund.

Taxis and auto-rickshaws are available for local transport. Tourist taxis, both air-conditioned and ordinary, can be hired for a day.

Medical and Dental Health Care Scenario in India with health tourism in perspective.

Dental tourism - Facilities we offer at our clinic

Tourist information on Kochi.

Traveler's Guide to Safe Dental Care

 
       
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