Kochi (Cochin) is the commercial capital and the most cosmopolitan city of Kerala. Kochi, also known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, has one of the finest natural harbours in the world and an important spice trading centre. Starting from the Dutch, Portuguese and the British, Kochi was the site of the first European colonial settlements in India.
The Dutch Palace at Mattancherry is a favourite with tourists at Kochi. The palace exhibits beautiful mural paintings that depict scenes from Ramayana. The palace was built by the Portuguese and gifted to the Raja of Cochin, Vira Keralavarma. Later, some contributions were made to the palace by Dutch invaders.
Fort Kochi is inhabited by Anglo-Indian community, presenting a very different and unique aura and ambience to the region. The culture is quite unique representing the Eurasian culture. Dwelling places built by the British traders and colleges established by the Dutch are worth observing here.
St. Francis Church located in Fort Kochi region, was built by the Portuguese in the year 1503 A.D. Initially built in timber, this church was later changed into a stone structure. It is said that Portuguese explorer Vasco-da-Gama was originally buried here and his remains were later taken to Lisbon.
Built by the Portuguese, the Santa Cruz Basilica is known for its Gothic exterior with soaring spires. Apart from imposing facade, the interiors are equally impressive. The stained glass and life-like columns looking over the confession boxes add to the beauty of the church.
Among all the common wealth countries of the world, the Jewish Synagogue, Kochi is the oldest existing synagogue. The prosperous Jewish trading community built it in 1568 AD. The synagogue is one of the exemplary sightseeing spots in Kerala. Being centrally located in Mattancherry, the synagogue is easily accessible.
Enjoy a Kochi tour and watch fishermen tug at the huge Chinese fishing nets with their gigantic haul. These nets that droop from lofty bamboo poles were believed to be brought to Kochi by traders from the court of Kublai Khan, the Mongolian king. Capture some scenic sunset moments with the silhouettes of these nets in the backdrop.
The 500-year old synagogue in Kochi is bedecked with mid-18th century hand painted Cantonese tiles. Hebrew inscriptions on stone slabs, ancient scripts on copper plates and great scrolls of the Old Testament are preserved here.
A must do in Kochi is to watch a live Kathakali performance (the native dance form of Kerala). If you are an art enthusiast, bring alive your taste for dance and drama, and allow your holiday to enrich your knowledge. Before the performance, you can learn about the intricate details of Kathakali make up and costumes, the intricacy of which you shall see for yourself. The themes in Kathakali are based on Hindu mythology, particularly the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Home stays are a great choice for those who wish to experience the local lifestyle of Kerala. Our hand picked local home stays will allow you to share the house and facilities of a local host family, visit nearby temples and churches, and also attend functions, fairs and festivals with them. With ample time for interaction, you may also get a chance to try your hand in culinary delights mastered by the women of the family.
Kerala is believed to be the birthplace of Ayurveda. When on this land, you’ve got to experience the expertise of the trained Ayurveda experts who will rejuvenate you with a relaxing massage using the specialty oils of Kerala.
Kerala backwaters consist of a complex network of lagoons, lakes, & canals and are best experienced while slowly rowing down the labyrinth of canals in a traditional thatch-roofed houseboat, known as 'Kettuvallam'. See life on the banks, lush green rice fields, and coconut groves with occasional temple or church as you cruise through the canals. Enjoy the special Kerala style meals prepared by your chef on board. You have the option to board a lunch cruise, tea cruise or an overnight cruise.
Here, you can buy stuff ranging from clothes, cosmetics to knick-knacks. The road is lined with small and big shops and many glittering malls. The most popular items that are bought by tourists are handicrafts, spices and nuts. In handicrafts, the most popular ones are those made of local coir, brass, copper and bamboo.
Another popular area for shopping is the Broadway Road in Kochi. The area is characterized by narrow roads, quite ironical to its name! One can buy varieties of clothes and spices here.
Take a leisurely stroll in Fort Kochi area, where you will see how busy Kochi can be! Mattancherry and Jew Street in Fort Kochi are the main shopping hubs. In Mattancherry you can pick up quaint antique items, spices, coffee and tea besides the usual souvenir bric-a-brac. Popular buys in antiques include masks, brass figurines and wooden jewelry boxes. But do look out for door jambs, old mirror frames, metal locks, and quaint early 20th century ceramic and metal utensils. A special buy would be the coco fibre ring with your name inscribed! For spices, just follow your nose and watch out for the pushcarts and trucks bulging with bags of aromatic spices being wheeled in and out of decorated godowns.
Local Kerala Food : Ceylon Bake House, The Fort House (food cooked to order), Fry's Village Restaurant.
Multicuisine : Chicago Plaza, Four Foods, Dakshin, History, Hotel Seagull, Bimbis Fast Food
Seafood : Lagoon
Fast Food : Pizza Hut