Kochi, Kerala - Pankaj Tours & Travels, India
Destinations - Kochi / Cochin

Kochi, formerly known as Cochin, is a major city and seaport located on the south-west coast of India by the Arabian Sea in Ernakulam district of Kerala state. Known as Queen of the Arabian Sea, Cochin (Kochi) is believed to be the finest natural harbour in the world. It is a cluster of islands on the vast expanse of the Vembanad Lake. Kochi is also often called by the name Ernakulam, which refers to the mainland part of the city. Kochi was the centre of Indian spice trade for many centuries, and was known to the Yavanas (Greeks) as well as Romans, Jews, Arabs, and Chinese since ancient times.

Kochi features a tropical monsoon climate. Annual temperatures range between 23 to 31 °C (73–88 °F) with the record high being 38 °C (100 °F), and record low 17 °C (63 °F).

Backwaters of Kochi

Kochi is a cluster of islands on the vast expanse of the Vembanad Lake. Because of its commercial importance, foreign powers vied for supremacy in the area and therefore the place has a blend of several exotic cultures like the Portuguese, Jewish, English, French, Dutch and Chinese.

The beautiful Kochi backwaters with its vibrant flora and fauna makes it a majestic tourists' paradise. The coconut and palm orchards along with sun-kissed and moon-lit sparkling watercourses is guaranteed to make your journey a memorable one. Ferry rides in Kochi commands a breathtaking view due to its lush green lawns sloping down to the water's edge. Giant Chinese fishing nets that billow from massive teak and bamboo poles dot the entrance to the harbor. Silhouetted against the setting sun, they present a magnificent sight at the waterfront


Fort Kochi

Fort Kochi is a region in the city of Kochi in the state of Kerala, India. This is part of a handful of water-bound regions toward the south-west of the mainland Kochi. A mix of old houses built by the Portuguese, Dutch and British in these colonial periods line the streets of Fort Kochi. St Francis Church was built in 1503 by the Portuguese as a Catholic church. Vasco da Gama was once buried in this church which now falls under the Church of South India and is one of the national monuments. Santa Cruz Basilica, also built by the Portuguese in the 16th century, was later destroyed by the British and rebuilt near the end of 19th century. The landmark that causes more public and visitor interest is a series of pre-colonial Chinese fishing nets on the waterfront, believed to have been introduced by Chinese traders in the early 14th century.

Main Tourist Attractions in Fort Kochi:

Indo portuguese museum
Chinese Fishing Nets
Beach
Dutch Cemetery
Southern Naval Command Maritime Museum
Cochin Thirumala Devaswom Temple
St. Francis Church, Cochin
Santa Cruz Basilica
Bishop's House
Jewish Synagogue

 

Chinese Fishing Nets

The Chinese fishing nets (Cheena vala) of Fort Kochi are fixed land installations for an unusual form of fishing — shore operated lift nets. Huge mechanical contrivances hold out horizontal nets of 20 m or more across. Each structure is at least 10 m high and comprises a cantilever with an outstretched net suspended over the sea and large stones suspended from ropes as counterweights at the other end. Each installation is operated by a team of up to six fishermen.

The system is sufficiently balanced that the weight of a man walking along the main beam is sufficient to cause the net to descend into the sea. The net is left for a short time, possibly just a few minutes, before it is raised by pulling on ropes. The catch is usually modest: a few fish and crustaceans — these may be sold to passers by within minutes. The system of counterweights is most ingenious. Rocks, each 30 cm or so in diameter are suspended from ropes of different lengths. As the net is raised, some of the rocks one-by-one come to rest on a platform thereby keeping everything in balance.

Each installation has a limited operating depth. Consequently, an individual net cannot be continually operated in tidal waters. Different installations will be operated depending on the state of the tide.

It is received wisdom that the nets are Chinese in origin. This is not as improbable as the 5,000 km distance from China might suggest — Kochi is a very important centre for the spice trade attracting traders from far and wide. The Chinese fishing nets have become a very popular tourist attraction, their size and elegant construction is very photogenic and the slow rhythm of their operation is quite hypnotic. In addition, catches can be purchased individually and need be taken only a short distance to an street entrepreneur who will cook it.


Mattancherry Palace

Mattancherry is the western part of city of Kochi. The Mattancherry Palace, also known as the Dutch Palace, features Kerala murals depicting Hindu temple art, portraits and exhibits of the Rajas of Kochi. It was built by the Portuguese and presented to Veera Kerala Varma (1537-65), Raja of Kochi, in 1555 AD. The Dutch carried out some extensions and renovations in the palace in 1663, and thereafter it was popularly called Dutch Palace. The palace is a quadrangular structure built in Nālukettu style, the traditional Kerala style of architecture, with a courtyard in the middle. The glory of the palace rests on the large number of murals, executed in the best traditions of Hindu temple art, which are religious, decorative and stylised. The murals have been painted in rich warm colours in tempera technique.s

Jewish Synagoge

The Paradesi Synagogue is the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations,located in Kochi. It was built in 1568 by the Malabar Yehudan people or Cochin Jewish community in the Kingdom of Cochin.  The Paradesi Synagogue is the only functioning synagogue in Kochi today with a minyan.

Bolgatty Palace

Built by the Dutch in India, Bolgatty Palace is located on the island popularly known as Bolghatty Island in Kochi, Kerala. One of the oldest existing Dutch palaces outside Holland, this quaint mansion, built in 1744, by Dutch traders, was later extended and gardens were landscaped around it. The building was then the Governor's palace for the Dutch and later in 1909 was leased to the British. It served as the home of the British Governors, being the seat of the British Resident of Cochin during the British regime.

The Bolgatty Palace today, is a heritage hotel managed by the state government of Kerala.

 

Cherai Beach

Located 35 km away from Cochin, in the Cherai village of the Ernakulam district, the Cherai beach is amongst the must-visit places for anyone touring these parts of South India. Having a coastline of 15 kms, the Cherai beach is different from many beaches in the sense that it is very clean and shallow and thus, ideal for the purpose of swimming and sunbathing. Being so near from the main Kochi city, an important commercial capital of Kerala, the Cherai beach is an enticing option for anybody who wants to get away from the din of city life momentarily. The lovely beach bordering the Vypeen Island is ideal for swimming. The sea on the Western side and the backwaters on the East give this upcoming tourist destination a uniqueness which can be found only in Kerala. Thick coconut groves and Chinese fishing nets on the waterfront are added attractions.


Bhoothathankettu

Bhoothathankettu is a dam and tourist spot in Kerala, India. It is situated in the village of Pindimana, 50 km away from the main city of Ernakulam. Bhoothathankettu, a scenic damsite with boating facilities is situated in a vastvirgin forest. A myth connected with the origin of this place says that thisnatural fortification of forests and hills was built by Bhoothams (spirit/ghosts) overnight.

Lying close to Bhoothathankettu is the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary atThattekkad. Trekking through the forests here is an exhiliarating experience.


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