Cochin India Travel, Hotels in Cochin
Kochi, India is a major port city on the west coast of India. The city is often called the "Queen of the Arabian Sea".
The plains of central Kerala once formed the heartland of the princely state of Kochi stretching from coastal backwaters to the mountains of inland.
Kochi's capital port Muzris ranked among the wealthiest in the ancient world. The port was attracting ships from Egypt, Greece, Rome, Persia, China and Arabia.
A massive flood destroyed the harbour in 1341, on the mouth of the Periyar river. Then the port was moved south to Cochin. Soon the new port became the focus of the rapidly expanding trade with the Europe.
First the Portuguese, and later the Dutch and British, left their mark on the city.
Fort Cochin, City's colonial district, has old churches, mansions and bungalows that rise from the waterfront.
The crowds and commerce surround the monuments of Fort Cochin. Still the old quarter holds the enough attractions to keep you interested for a few days.
You can admire the church where Vasco da Gama was buried and watch the Chinese fishing nets in action.
There isn't a great deal to see, but little cafes and courtyard restaurants are inspirational spots.
There are possible side trips to backwater villages, waterfalls, a bird sanctuary and elephant training camp.
After the unhurried pace of life in Fort Cochin, Ernakulam can come as a shock. With brightly lit malls and hectic traffic, Ernakulam is the prosperous modern face of Kerala.
It is the business capital and transport hub of the city. Twenty-first century shopping malls and restaurants may tempt you.
Kochi, India has plentiful accommodation to offer including heritage hotels of Fort Cochin and business hotels of Ernakulam. It is a convenient base to explore central Kerala.
Backwaters of Alleppey and Kumarakom and Hills of Munnar are also easily accessible from Kochi.
Ernakulam- The Mainland City
Ernakulam is the modern face of Kerala. It has more big-city-feel than Trivandrum. There is little in the way of sights. Durbar Hall Art Gallery and Folklore Museum are worth the visits.
Fort Cochin and Mattancherry in Kochi India
This was where the Portuguese built their forts. Only a few fragments remain now. But dozens of Dutch and British monuments have survived.
They range from tea broker's bungalows and Bishops' palaces to spice traders mansions and the churches.
A good way to get around with Fort Cochin's history is to pick up the free walking maps. They are available at offices of Kerala Tourism and privately run Tourist Desks.
The routes lead you around some of the landmarks of Fort Cochin. Dutch cemetery, Vasco da Gama's house and several merchant residences are some of them.
Fort Cochin has a small but active arts scene. It is based around the popular Kashi Art Cafe on Burgher Street and new David Hall Gallery on the Parade Ground.
The fort's beaches are polluted and not good to swim. The riverside beach is good spot for viewing the Chinese fishing nets.
This is a large manmade island. The island is made of mud and sand dredged from the backwaters to deepen the Kochi port.
Willingdon island houses the Kochi port and Headquarters of Southern Naval Command of the Indian Navy. There are many five star hotels in the island.
Bolghatty is the southern tip of the bigger island Mulavukadu. The island is popular for the Bolgatty Palace, the centre of Dutch colonial administration. Later British took over the palace.
Now the palace is a heritage hotel managed by KTDC (Kerala Tourism Development Corporation)
The island also has a golf course and an international marina.
Arrival and Getting Around
An efficient international airport serves Cochin. The airport is at Nedumbassery, near Alwaye, 30 km north east of Ernakulam.
Take a pre-paid taxi a nd within an hour you reach city. Or look for the orange buses. They are comfortable air conditinoed Volvo buses, run hourly to Fort Cochin.
There are two main railway stations - Ernakulam Junction (South) and Ernakulam North (North).
These stations are part of huge Indian rail network. There are not many places in and around Kochi that you can go by train.
Red city buses connect to almost any place in Kochi. Government run KSRTC Thiru-Kochi buses also serve the city.
Auto-rikshaws are capable of taking you to anywhere in the city.
Backwater cruises of Kochi India are not so popular as those of southern destinations like Alleppey, Quilon or Kumarakom
KTDC's half-day Kochi boat cruise is good way to see around. The boat departs from Sealord Jetty in Shanmugham Road.
You can see Willingdon Island, the Synagogue, Mattancherry Dutch Palace, St. Francis Church, Bolgatty Island and Chinese fishing nets.
Book at the KTDC reception centre on Shanmugham Road.
All the luxury hotels in the harbour front offer their own cruises, say Brunton Boatyard, Taj Malabar etc
Kochi, India has large number of hotels. Better value business hotels are available in Ernakualm.
If you are looking for a heritage stay, go to Fort Cochin. The place has sea on the one side and the backwater on the other.
Backwater resorts are also there around Kochi. You can find a few business class hotels at the airport.