Kochi (also known as Cochin) is a port city in the South Indian state Kerala, located on the coast of Arabian sea. The city is also called “Queen of the Arabian Sea".
Around the 14th century, Kochi was an important spice trading centre on the west coast of India, maintaining a trade network with Arab merchants from the neighbouring countries.
Kochi is ranked among the top 10 cities in the world to visit, and is one of the top 5 must-visit cities in India.
The main language spoken in Kochi is Malayalam, which is Kerala’s official language. English is also spoken and understood fairly well by a large part of the population.
Kochi is a food lovers’ paradise. The city offers scrumptious vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian delicacies that are a must-try! Most dishes incorporate coconut, coconut milk or coconut oil, and the flavour of coconut is predominant in Kochi and Kerala’s cuisine. Some foods to try in Kochi include:
- Puttu Kadalai – A famous breakfast item in Kochi and Kerala, made of a special broken rice and coconut mix, steam in a special “Puttu” mould, and served with black chickpeas curry.
- Katsuo-no-tataki – A dish made of skipjack tuna or bonito fish grilled over a straw flame.
- Kappa Biryani – A dish made of Tapioca and Beef (though called “Biryani” – this dish doesn’t contain any rice, and is more of a “curry” that’s eaten with rice).
- Nabeyaki ramen – Egg noodles made in chicken broth and soy sauce and served with chikuwa fish cake rings, spring onions and a raw egg.
Kochi has various attractive places to visit and experience – places that are of historical importance or which provide shopping, ecological, luxury or adventurous experiences. There’s something for everyone in this incredible city full of culture.
Some incredible things to do and places to check out in Kochi are:
- Fort Kochi – a seaside town known for its Portuguese and Dutch colonial era history and ruins, located in the south-western part of the coastal town.
A ferry ride from Ernakulam (the central part of Kochi) to Fort Kochi is highly recommended – it is a scenic ride that is loved by tourists as well as locals.
- Kochi Jewish Synagogue – A beautiful Jewish synagogue built in 16th century – popular tourist site in Kochi.
- Chinese Fishing Nets – Elaborate conventional fishing nets that were gifted by a Chinese king centuries ago, Kochi is the only place in the world where these nets are found apart from China. Fishermen in Kochi’s Malabar coast portion use them to this day, to catch fish.
- Marine Drive – A surreal and scenic promenade which is built facing Kochi’s backwaters, and also provides a beautiful view of the sea – this is a great place to hang out and get some sea breeze.
- Veeranpuzha Lake – A beautiful picturesque lake, lying parallel to the Malabar coast along with beautifully formed backwaters that make for a lovely boat ride..
- Bhoothathankettu Trekking – Bhoothathankettu is a dam situated about 50 km from Kochi. The site is also known for its incredible trekking experience and is loved by hiking and trekking enthusiasts.
Being a coastal city, Kochi has some stunning beaches. Some popular ones are:
- Cherai Beach
- Puthuvype Beach
- Kuzhupilly Beach
- Fort Kochi Beach
- Njarackal Arattuvazhi Beach
- Munambam Beach
- Mahatma Gandhi Beach
- Puthenthode Beach
- Veeranpuzha Beach
- Andhakaranazhi Beach
Kochi’s population includes a majority of Hindus, Muslims, Christians and a minority of people of other religions. The city has many Hindu temples, churches and mosques. It also had a flourishing Jewish community in the 16th century, as a result of which it has some popular synagogues that were built during that era. Following are some popular religious spots in Kochi:
- Kochi Jewish Synagogue and Paradesi Synagogue (Beautiful Jewish synagogues built in 16th century)
- Church of Saint Francis (Christian religious spot)
- Chottanikkara Devi Temple (Hindu religious spot)
- Ettumanoor Shiva Temple (Hindu religious spot)
- Sree Poornathrayeesa Temple (Hindu religious spot)
- Santa Cruz Basilica (Christian religious spot)
- Vallarpadam Church (Christian religious spot)
GARDENS AND PARKS
Kochi also has some beautiful parks to spend time close to nature, take walks, have picnics, etc. Some great parks to check out in the city are:
- Indira Priyadarshini Park
- Subhash Bose Park
- Park Avenue
- Thamarakulam Park
- Nehru Park
- Changampuzha Park
Kochi’s cultural scene is a treat to watch. Festival time in Kochi is colorful and full of fun and frolic. Some popular festivals celebrated in Kochi are:
- Athachamayam – A festival that commemorates the victory of the king of Kochi and usually celebrated in August/September. Many dances, and plays are performed and people gather together to celebrate dressed in colourful silk clothes.
- Chandanakkudam – (Translating to sandalwood pot) A Muslim festival, it involves pilgrims carrying earthen pots, smeared with sandal paste and filled with coin to a mosque. It is usually held at Kanjiramattom Mosque, located in Kochi (Ernakulam district).
- Onam – This is one of the most important festivals in Kerala state, and is also celebrated in Kochi majestically. Street parades happen with dancers dressed like animals, and people decorate their homes with flowers in the form of Rangolis (also called Pookalam).
- Aluva Shivarathri – A festival dedicated to Lord Shiva. People usually fast during daytimes and pray to Lord Shiva during this festival. In Kerala, it is celebrated during the months of February/March.
Kochi is also a shopping paradise and one can buy flavourful spices, herbs, clothes (esp. Kerala sarees), jewellery, antiques, handicrafts and much more in this city! These are some popular shopping spots to explore in Kochi:
- Cochin Spice Market
- Princess Street
- Ernakulam Market
- Bazaar Road
- Fort Cochin (the ancient and historical Jew town also houses a number of antique shops, where people can buy souvenirs and interesting artefacts)
Kochi also has some famous malls that can be explored, such as -
- Lulu Mall
- Abad Nucleus Mall
- Centre Square Mall
- Bay Pride Mall
- Oberon Mall
- The Great Marina Mall
- Santiago Shopping Mall
Kochi has many incredible restaurants with different cuisines to explore. Here are some of the top recommended Kochi restaurants that foodies will find delightful:
- Arca Nova – A sea side restaurant that offers Kerala Latin-Christian cuisine dishes with a view of the ocean.
- Kashi Art Café – A café filled with art works like sculptures and paintings, combined with a restaurant that offers great breakfast and snacks like milkshakes, soups, coffee, tea and sandwiches. A must-explore for art enthusiasts!
- Fusion Bay – Located at Fort Kochi, this restaurant offers traditional Kerala dishes with some continental twists.
- Asian Kitchen – A restaurant that offers Japanese, Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese dishes – a great option for people who want to try something apart from the local cuisine, yet not something too dull.
- The Rice Boat – An upscale waterfront restaurant located at the Vivanta Hotel in Kochi, offering Malabari cuisine – dished laced in the local Malabar spices (especially seafood dishes).
In a city filled with seafood restaurants, you might think it is difficult to find vegetarian restaurants and delicacies. But you couldn’t be more wrong! Here are some purely veg restaurants in Kochi, that are worth dining at:
- Sree Krishna Inn
- Cream Centre
- Gokul Ootuppura
- Brindavan Vegetarian Restaurant
When in Kochi, these are some of the best hotels to stay at for a great experience and comfort:
- Novotel Kochi Info park
- Kochi Marriott Hotel
- Xandari Harbour
- Radisson Blu Kochi
- Kondai Lip Backwater Heritage Resort
- Taj Malabar Resort & Spa
- Fragrant Nature Kochi
- Dutch Bungalow – The Heritage Hotel
- The Dunes continental
- Cherai OneTree retreat
- Hotel Luminara
Kochi also has various museums that showcase its heritage and culture. Some museums to visit in Kochi are:
- Kerala Folklore Museum
- Strings Museum
- Kochi Archaeological Museum
- Gallery OED Cochin
- Buddha Gallery
The Metro in Kochi is a rapid transit system serving the whole city. It was opened to the public in 2017, and is said to be one of the fastest completed metro project in India.
In October 2017, Kochi Metro was named the Best Urban Mobility Project in India by the Urban Development Ministry.
Kochi city STD Code – 4652 (to be used before dialling numbers from a number that is not locally registered).
Common emergency numbers:
- Police Control Room: 100
- Fire and Rescue: 101
- Ambulance: 108
- Child helpline: 1098
- Women helpline: 1091
- Highway Assistance - 9846100100
Malayalam, English are official languages of Kochi.
- Welcome - Swagatam
- Hello - Namaskaram
- How are you? - Engnganuntu karyangngal?
- What's your name? - Ninte perentha?
- My name is - Ente per ... n
- Where are you from? - Angu evidennanu?