Destination Guide India > Cochin
DESTINATION GUIDE INDIA - COCHIN
Cochin or Kochi
is one of the most important cities of Kerala for centuries.
Cochin also has finest natural harbors on the Arabian Sea
coast of India. Cochin has been a port of call for foreign
traders from very early times. Ancient mariners from Arabia,
Holland, Britain, China and Portugal have all left their mark
on this beautiful island city of Cochin. The cosmopolitan
character of Cochin is reflected in the buildings and
structures representing styles. Cochin City is one of the most
important commercial centers of Kerala.
Kerala's prime tourist destination, Cochin is located between
the Arabian Sea and the charming backwaters. Cochin has a
moderate climate due to its coastal location. The southwest
monsoons bring heavy showers to the region during the months
of June, July and August, while the northeast monsoon brings
light rainfall during the months September, October, November
and December. During December to February, the weather of
Cochin remains pretty cool. From the point of view of travel,
you can visit Cochin all the year round, as the weather
Cochin is one of the largest and most important cities of
Kerala. It has been commercial center of great importance for
centuries and continues to be so till this day. Cochin is well
connected to all the major places of Kerala and India by air,
Rail and road.
While you are in Cochin, you will come across many backwater
and refresh you. Popular as the Queen of the Arabian Sea,
Cochin is a group of islands on the huge expanse of the
Vembanad Lake. Some of these picturesque islands are Bolgatty,
Vypeen, Gundu and Vallarpadam. The Vembanad Lake opens out
into the Arabian Sea here to form one of the finest natural
harbours in the world, making Cochin a fascinating blend of
diverse cultures and influences. The interlinking of waterways
has made Cochin a place, from where many backwater houseboat
cruises begin or end.
» Santa Cruz Basilica
This monumental church dates back to 1558 and has beautiful
paintings on the ceiling.
St. Francis Church
Built in 1503 by Portuguese Friars, it is the India's oldest
European church. It was restored in 1779 by the protestant
Dutch, converted to an Anglican Church by the British in 1795,
and is presently used by the church of South India. Vasco da
Gama's remains were buried here in 1524, and later moved to
Lisbon, Portugal but his tombstone still remains.
It was built by the Portuguese in 1557 and presented to Raja
Veera Kerala Varma of Cochin. The Dutch renovated the palace
in 1663. On display here are beautiful murals depicting scenes
from the epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata and some of the
» Bolghatty Palace
A beautiful island near the Ernakulam, Bolghatty is famous for
the Bolghatty Palace built by the Dutch. The Bolghatty palace,
once the residence of the British resident of Cochin, is now a
KTDC (Kerala Tourism Development Corporation) hotel.
» Cherai Beach
This lovely beach bordering Vypeen Island is ideal for
swimming. Dolphins are occasionally seen here. A typical
Kerala village with paddy fields and coconut groves nearby is
an added attraction of this beach.
» Hill Palace Museum, Thripunithra
The Hill Palace, the official residence of the Cochin royal
family was built in 1865. The palace complex consists of 49
buildings and is surrounded by 52 acres of terraced land with
a Deer Park and facilities for horse riding. Displayed inside
the thirteen galleries in the museum are oil paintings,
murals, 19th century paintings, manuscripts, sculpture in
stone and plaster of Paris, inscriptions and coins belonging
to the Cochin royal family.
» Pareekshith Thampuran Museum
This extensive and traditional Kerala style building earlier
called the Durbar Hall, houses 19th century oil paintings, a
collection of old coins, sculptures and Mughal paintings. The
Pareekshith Thampuran Museum remains open from 10:00 am to
12:30 pm and 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm.
» Willingdon Island
Named after Lord Willingdon, the British viceroy to India,
this man-made island is surrounded by beautiful backwaters.
The Willingdon Island is the site of the city's best hotels,
customs and trading centers, the port trust and also the
headquarters of the Southern Naval Command.
» Jewish Synagogue
Built in 1568, it is the oldest synagogue in the commonwealth
countries. Known for mid 18th century hand printed, willow
pattern floor tiles from Canton in China, Hebrew inscriptions
on stone slabs, a dock tower, ancient scripts on copper plates
etc, the Synagogue is a place worth seeing in Cochin.
There is a magnificent lighthouse at Ochanthuruth, which
remains open from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm daily.
HOW TO REACH - COCHIN
» Air :
Cochin is connected by excellent air network to all major
cities in India. Cochin also has an international terminal.
» Rail : Cochin is also well connected with all the
major places in Kerala and India by Rail network. Cochin has
three main railway stations, namely, Ernakulam Junction,
Ernakulam Town and Harbor Terminus on Willingdon Island.
» Bus : Cochin, being an important commercial center of
Kerala is very well connected and serviced by a network of
National and state highways, connecting it to all major
centers of the area.