Kochi India - Holiday Guide to Kochi Travel & Tourism
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Historically known as Cochin under colonial rule, now the Gateway to Kerala, Kochi is a growing economic hub of South India. Kochi has been occupied by the Portuguese, Dutch, Mysore and the British before India’s independence making it a melting pot of culture and heritage.
Located on India’s southwest coast, hugging the Arabian Sea, it has been, and still is an important seaport of India dating back to the 14th century when it was the centre of spice trading. Since 2000, Kochi has experienced significant growth especially in shipping, tourism and IT industries making it one of the fastest emergent second-tier metropolitan areas in India. However with the good often comes the bad, and Kochi, like many other rising cities, is struggling with its infrastructure to sustain the growth. Traffic congestion is a major issue while environmental degradation is continuing to get worse. On a brighter note, Kochi has been listed as one of the ’50 Greatest Places of a Lifetime’ by National Geographic.
Kochi is quite unique in the fact that it is the largest South Indian city that does not have Hindu as a majority while it has a high literacy rate of 94%.
Temperatures generally range from 20°C - 35°C with winters being mild and dry, summers hot and humid and the monsoon season between June and September obviously wet. Hence the best time to travel is in the mild winters to miss the extreme heat and rains.
Getting to the city is relatively easy with its world-class international airport just 30km out of the city centre. Several international airlines service the airport while domestic flights go to and from other major Indian cities. The rail system is also very extensive with three major stations located in the city. Getting around while you are here is also generally easy with busses, taxis and rickshaws available. The most affordable being the bright red busses.
When planning your itinerary there are several things that you should make sure are on your list.
Fort Kochi Beach
This beach is particularly stunning during sunset with the Chinese fishing nets making silhouettes in the water with bungalows and stalls lining the shore with delicious fresh seafood.
This is a wildlife reserve known for its large elephant training facility. Explore the miniature zoo just 30km north-east of the city.
On the banks of the Periyar River is the birthplace of a monotheist Hindu philosopher. After his early death, an eight storey shrine was established to recognise his devotion to debating and spreading the theory of monotheism. Now it stands beautifully painted for all to see.
Perfect for cooling off in the summer season, Cherai beach is found on Vypeen Island just off the mainland. It is bordered with coconut groves accessible by land or boat.
South India’s largest amusement park is Veega Land just 14 km out of Kochi covered with theme rides, shows and slides. It is a great place for the family.
The Museum of Kerala History
Find exhibits showing the interesting history and culture of Kerala here at the museum. There are some incredible statues and paintings that represent parts of its history that are well worth visiting.
As well as these sights and activities, try and stay during Onam, the festival marking the start of the harvest season. It is held on varying days depending on the Malayalam Lunar Calendar but usually take place in August or September. It is a ten day festival full of enthusiasm and joyfulness that showcases the Kochi culture.
Staying in Kochi during your visit gives you a variety of choice. You can stay in a jungle tree house, float on a traditional houseboat, or in a Kochi hotel with feet firmly on the ground. Most forms of accommodation are fairly cheap and there are plenty to choose from.