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Cochin, India

Kochi (formerly Cochin; Malayalam: കൊച്ചി) is a cosmopolitan city in Kerala with a bustling commercial port. Kochi is the financial and commercial capital of Kerala and the biggest conurbation in the state.

A city born in storm, nurtured in rivalry and established as battling ground for European empires. This phrase is a good description of Kochi, which was formed as an ancient port city after the Great Floods of the Periyar River in 1341. With partitioning of Chera Kerala empire in the 14th century, this region came under the control of a new dynasty, rivaled by other local feudal lords. With the advent of colonization, Kochi became the first major battlegrounds of almost all European powers.

History

Kochi merchants began trading in spices such as black pepper and cardamom with... Read more

Cochin, India

Destination:

Kochi (formerly Cochin; Malayalam: കൊച്ചി) is a cosmopolitan city in Kerala with a bustling commercial port. Kochi is the financial and commercial capital of Kerala and the biggest conurbation in the state.

A city born in storm, nurtured in rivalry and established as battling ground for European empires. This phrase is a good description of Kochi, which was formed as an ancient port city after the Great Floods of the Periyar River in 1341. With partitioning of Chera Kerala empire in the 14th century, this region came under the control of a new dynasty, rivaled by other local feudal lords. With the advent of colonization, Kochi became the first major battlegrounds of almost all European powers.

History

Kochi merchants began trading in spices such as black pepper and cardamom with the Arabs, Dutch, Phoenicians, Portuguese and Chinese more than 600 years ago. This helped Kochi to prosper and to become the gateway to old India. It was from Kochi that the colonization of India started. Portugal was first to establish its base in Kochi, followed by the Dutch and British. The Anglo-Dutch treaty of 1814, compelled the Dutch to hand over Kochi to the British in exchange for Bangka Island in Indonesia. The British managed to establish their influence over Kochi, limiting their direct administration to a small enclave of Fort Kochi and British Ernakulam with their capital at Bolgatty Island. The rest of the Kochi Kingdom was administered by Kochi Maharajas from their capital at Thripunithura. However, the real administration was done by Diwans (Prime Ministers), leaving the Maharajas to patronize culture, arts and focus heavily on the areas of public health and education.
The foundations of modern Kochi city started when Sir Robert Bristow, a senior Royal Navy Engineer, felt the need for a modern large port after the opening of the Suez Canal. This resulted in the creation of the largest man-made island of the country, Willingdon Island, to house the new Kochi Port.
In the 1930s, the Kochi Maharaja joined the public outcry to form a common state of Malayalam-speaking people by merging with the Kingdom of Travancore and British Malabar. Kochi Maharaja Kerala Varma Raja was at the forefront of this agitation and passed the Aykiakerala Resolution in the Kochi Parliament. In 1947, the Kingdom of Kochi and Travancore merged to form the Royal State of Travancore-Kochi. The Kochi Maharaja was amongst the first to advocate the state joining the newly formed Indian Union. Finally, in 1948, the state of Travancore-Kochi merged with India.
Since the formation of Kerala in 1957, Kochi has been the commercial capital of Kerala as well as the seat of the Kerala High Court. Since 2000, Kochi has revitalized its economy, with a focus on tourism, information technology, and its port.

Culture

Kochi has a cosmopolitan culture, highly influenced by historical trading partners, Portuguese, Dutch, Arab, Chinese, and Japanese. Kochi is the seat of the Latin church of Kerala and has many Catholic churches and followers.
​Kochi was traditionally a potpourri of various Indian and international communities. Syrian Christians started the first wave of immigration, followed by Jews between the 7th and 10th centuries. Arab merchants also made a strong settlement in Kochi. In the 15th century, Gujaratis settled in Kochi, especially on Mattancherry, where they played a strong role in spice trading and other areas.
Later, at the beginning of the colonial era, the Portuguese, Dutch, French, and British all made their settlements in Kochi. The Portuguese had a strong influence in Fort Cochin. British culture was strongly felt, lending Kochi a strong community of Anglo-Indians.
In the early 1970s, Punjabis settled here, focusing their strong presence on the local automobile industry. Tamilians, Telugus, Kannadigas have all formed small settlements since the days of royalty. Recently, students from Cambodia, Thailand, Korea, and Indonesia have settled down in Kochi for studies and research activities. Kochi has a sizeable expatriate population mainly from European countries who have settled in Fort Kochi. Most of them are senior citizens who settled down to enjoy retirement life and many run boutique hotels and restaurants in that area. Due to the rapid growth of the city, a majority of the local population are now immigrants.
Generally, Kochinites are modern and fashionable. Being a city that has a tradition of various cultures being given equal respect, a high level of tolerance exists. The city has a modern attitude, but some basic social modesty still prevails, especially in villages and rural areas.

Climate

Kochi has a typical tropical climate. Temperatures range between 30°C and 35°C during the daytime and around 24°C during the night. Kochi is one of the first places to experience the heavy Monsoon showers starting by mid of May. Kochi experiences heavy rainfall between mid of May to the first week of September. Day time temperatures during the monsoon fall to between 25°C and 30°C during these months. From September to early February, the weather is fine, marked with cool winds and light showers in between. However, by February, summer season starts. Although temperatures never reach 40°C, the presence of high humidity can make summers uncomfortable. This continues until early May. However frequent summer showers cool down the harshness of summer.

Orientation

After rapid growth during the two last decades, Kochi is now one of the most densely populated town areas in India. Kochi city consists of:

  • Aluva — the second largest town in Kochi U/A, famous for its Periyar river banks. Kochi International Airport is nearby.
  • Bolgatty Island — the island where the British established a Royal Residency, which is now converted into a five-star hotel. Famous for its large golf course, horse riding tracks, marina, and boatyards.
  • Ernakulam Mainland City — the heart and transport hub of Kochi with three distinct parts: the Central Business District (CBD) which has Mahatma Gandhi Road (MG Road) as the main arterial road along with Marine Drive and Chitoor Road; Downtown with upscale residential areas and the business district at SA Road and Vytilla Junction and the Suburb which has many business and commercial areas.
  • Maradu — next door to Kochi city; an upcoming business district with numerous high-end hotels.
  • Peninsula of Mattancherry and Fort Kochi (Old Kochi) — primarily a tourist enclave. Fort Kochi forms the upper part of the Peninsula with neatly arranged colonial buildings, narrow well-paved roads, Anglo-Dutch influenced structures and large antiques shops. Mattancherry is primarily a trading city, famous for its thriving Gujarati settlement brought to the city in the 16th and 17th centuries by the spice trade.
  • Thrikakara Town — famous for the large Vamana Temple, the focal center of Onam, the national festival of Kerala. Also the home of Cochin University and other educational institutes.
  • Thripunithura — the erstwhile capital of the Kingdom of Kochi is famous for various historical palaces, museums and temples, and as a center of the arts.
  • Vallarpadom Island — where the new Kochi International Mega Container Terminal (ICT) has opened.
  • Vypin Island — one of the most densely populated islands in the world with numerous fishing villages, tourist villages and the popular Cherai Beach.
  • Willingdon Island — a large man-made island made from sand dredged from the backwaters to deepen the Kochi Port. Named after Long Willingdon, then-the reigning Viceroy of India, it houses the Kochi Port, Southern Naval Command Headquarters of Indian Navy and many five star hotels.

Tourist information

Free information and city maps are available at state-run Kerala Tourism Development Corp (KTDC) offices at:

  • Central Toll Free Number, ☎ 1 800 4254747
  • City Tourist Information Centre at Old Collectorate in Park Ave, ☎+91 484 2381743.
  • Tourist Reception office in Marine Drive, ☎+91 484 2353534 from where KTDC city tours starts/ends.

The India Tourism also has its office at Willingdon Island ☎ +91 484 2668352. The District Tourist Promotion Council (DTPC) also helps in providing information to tourists about other parts of Kochi District, which can be reached at ☎ +91 484 2367334, +91 484 2383988.


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Cochin, India: Port Information


Almost all leading international cruises on global voyages operate to Kochi from the US and Europe at Willingdon Island Cruise Berth.
Large cruise liners dock at Ernakulam Wharf. There are no facilities.
Smaller vessels dock at Samudrika Cruise Passenger Facilitation Centre. The terminal has a café, restrooms, etc.
The town is about 6.5 miles from the docks. One can take a ferry, taxi or auto-rickshaw to get there. Probably ferry is the most convenient and scenic way to get to the city center. It will take you about 20 minutes.

Get around Cochin, India


The traffic moves in snail pace in Kochi and wherever you look, the long queue of vehicles dampens your enthusiasm. Always limit your plans to three or four places in a day and remember to club near by places into one trip. Leave a buffer time zone of one hour for each trip. Air pollution is acute.

Orientation

The main city arterial road is Mahatma Gandhi Road. Traveling inside the city at peak times (8 AM-10 AM, 1:30 PM-2:30 PM; 5:30 PM-7 PM) takes a lot of time, with frequent roadblocks and traffic congestion. North and South Over-bridges are two of the major bottlenecks. Knowledge of side roads and crossroads is very useful to avoid traffic blocks.
​Kochi has a typical Indian-style address system which is a bit confusing, as there is no sector or house numbering system. Most buildings have their own name which is commonly used along with the road name for the address, eg: Alappatt House, Diwans Road, Near Lakshmi Hospital.
Some up-market areas have their own house numbering system. Panampilly Nagar and Giri Nagar are divided into various zones and each house has its own zone number followed by a house number. Many residential areas have formed their own associations and established their own addressing system. In most of the residential colonies or areas, a map sign is located at the entrance. Fort Kochi has a more western-style numbering system, yet still, locals use the nearby landmarks for addressing, rather than house numbers.
For communicating with auto/taxi drivers, you must know the nearby landmarks.

By bus

Kochi has an excellent public bus network with four types of buses operated by Govt-run KSRTC and private operators. The most common option is privately operated Red buses (also referred to as 'Line buses') which provides a cheap no-frills journey. Using these is not that difficult as many destination boards have English lettering in small and most bus conductors can provide assistance in basic English, though route numbers exist only on papers. Peak hours on weekdays can lead to overcrowded buses, particularly Route 1. Recently Govt-operated KSRTC launched no-frills city services Thiru-Kochi which also ply in same Red-Bus routes. Thirukochi buses can be distinguished from other buses with its blue-white livery. Most of Red and Thirukochi buses run primarily on the Big 4 Routes. These cover virtually all parts of the city. There are other feeder routes, which interconnect places between these Big 4 Routes. Recently Vytilla-Vytilla circular services have launched, covering most of the city core. 
Apart from regular city services, KSRTC under JnNURM's funding operates 2 class of bus services which can be distinguished from other city buses with its distinctive livery and JnNURM logo.
For premium travel low-floor air-conditioned Volvo services known as Orange buses connects many important destinations. The average waiting time is 10-30 mins. These buses do stop anywhere on the route, as per passenger's request.
For standard travel, Green bus, which is non-air-conditioned low floor services which virtually links all suburbs to the city center. This is very ideal for budget tourists as connects to many far away tourist attractions while maintaining excellent standards. Currently, only 3 lines are served, which will be increased soon. Like Orange Bus, these buses also stop anywhere on the route, as per passenger's request. Timetable for Orange/Green available at the KSRTC site.
All city bus services start at 6 AM and end by 10 PM. A certain number of seats are allocated for women in the forward portion of each bus, and men must vacate them when a woman wishes to sit there.
It must be noted that different bus shelters/stops are used for bus plying different routes. Though route notices are put before each stop, it will be in Malayalam. Route notices for Orange bus lines are posted in English also. A query with locals or bus conductors helps a lot. The important city bus stations where all services touch are:

  • Aluva Rajiv Gandhi bus station, large bus station nearest to Airport and interchange for long distance services.
  • Fort Kochi Beach Road bus stand, is the major terminus, near to most of the tourist attractions.
  • Kakkanad Civil Station bus stand.
  • Kaloor bus stand, a major city bus station and interchange for long distance private buses.
  • Marine Drive-Menaka bus stands, the heart of Ernakulam shopping with Broadway market nearby.
  • Palarivattom-Padivattom bus stand.
  • South Girls High School bus stand, nearest to South Railway station (ERS).
  • Thoppumpaddy bus stand, major junction for Mattancherry.
  • Thripunithura terminus.
  • Vytilla Mobility Hub at Vytilla Junction, is the new bus station, where almost all city buses and inter-city/inter-state bus meet. The station has been recently declared as Terminus for all Inter-city and Inter-state services by all operators. This is a spacious 37-acre bus station.

By metro

Kochi metro has been flagged off on 17th June 2017.

The unveiling of the metro was considered a landmark event in India in terms of completion time, control systems used and initiatives such as employing transgenders, vertical gardening, respecting migrant laborers and use of solar power. Each station in the metro is designed on a specific theme around Kerala culture and geography. The metro can be used with regular tickets and has also adopted a single card, single timetable, and a singular command and control. This debit card along with the Kochi One Mobile App can be used for travel.

By train

Some suburban areas are well-connected via regular passenger and long distance express trains. The most used route is Ernakulam-Aluva. Almost all regular passenger, express, and intercity trains have a stop at Aluva. Regular passenger trains have 1-minute stops at Edapally, Kumbalangi, Angamally and Aroor stations. Many long-distance trains operate between Thripunithura and Kochi North station.

It is a good idea to take rail during busy peak-hours when buses are overcrowded. Equally good idea to take the rail to Aluva from the city center which is the nearest point to Airport (12 km) from where a taxi or Orange Route A bus can be taken to avoid city traffic congestion.

By auto rickshaw (tuk-tuk)

This is a cheap method of transport between attractions. You can find an auto stand at almost every bus stop, and at important places near junctions and residential areas. Make sure you agree on a fare with the driver before the journey. Pre-paid auto stands are available only in railway stations.

By taxi

Taxis are convenient, comfortable, and safer than auto rickshaws. If you are alone or going to an unknown destination, this is a good option, even though the rates will be double that of an auto. Unlike in many countries, taxis are not usually marked with signs on the top, and do not have meters inside the taxi.
There are two types of taxi services, regular and call taxis. Regular taxis are normally available at designated taxi stands located at places such as railway stations, the airport, boat jetties, major bus stations and in front of important hotels.
There is no need to negotiate prices, as most of them follow fixed rates. Regular taxis have tariff cards displayed on the dashboard. Call taxis have charges fixed by their respective companies (although they are normally uniform).
Many taxi companies offer full or half day services. Most of them are fixed on an ad-hoc basis, based on the negotiating skills of the passenger. 

By ferry

Kochi has an excellent system of cheap inter-island ferries. The Ro-Ro (roll on-roll off) ferry service called Junkar between Fort Kochi and Vypeen is very popular. There are regular boat services operated by KSINC and other private operators, every 20-30 minutes, from Ernakulam to Mattancherry, Fort Kochi, Vypeen and Willingdon Island which are cheaper and in many cases faster, than buses. All services operate from 4:40 AM-6:30 PM with an exception to Fort Kochi-Vypin Junkar service which operates from 4 AM-10:30 PM. The major boat jetties are Ernakulam Main Jetty (located in Cdrive near High Court), Park Jetty (in Park Avenue next to KSRTC Bus station), Customs Embarkation Jetty in Willingdon Island, Fort Kochi Jetties. Do take a look at the map provided, as some ferries do not stop at all stops along the way. A few tourist-oriented private ferries service non-scheduled routes during tourist seasons connecting mainly to Kumbalangi Tourist village from Ernakulam Main Jetty as well as from Aroor.

By foot

Kochi is traditionally not a pedestrian-friendly city, considering the humid tropical climate, the poor state of pedestrian walkways and reckless traffic. Fort Kochi is one of the better places to walk, with elaborate colonial-style stone pavements.
Most of the famous destinations fall within the range of 10 km so it is a good idea to cover them on foot.

By cycle

Fort Kochi is a perfect place for cycling with dedicated tracks and walkways. There are several tourist firms that offer cycles and bikes on an hourly basis. A popular option is Vasco Information Centre in Fort Kochi ☎ +91 484 2216215), which rents cycles on an hourly basis. However, there are no separate cycling tracks on mainland city roads. Motorbikes are becoming a popular option for tourists to take a ride in other parts of the city. Take extra care while biking in Kochi roads as road users can be reckless.

What to see in Cochin, India


Landmarks

  • Bastion Bungalow

    , Fort Kochi. Typical Indo-Dutch architecture, this bungalow was built on the site of the erstwhile Stromsburg Fort, which was demolished during the Arab raids. Currently, it serves as the official residence of the Cochin Sub-Collector and entry is restricted.
  • Chinese Fishing Nets (Cheenavala), Fort Kochi Beach, Beach Rd (Next to Fort Kochi Bus stand). Serves as the official icon of Kochi and are a testimony of relations between Ancient Chinese Empires and the Kochi Kingdom. They were gifted by Chinese Emperor Kubalagi to Kochi King in the 14th century. There were more than 100, though currently, only a few remain in working condition.
  • Chendamangalam Palace Fort, Chendamanalam, nr North Paravur. Historically the seat of Paliath Achan, the Prime Minister of Kochi Kingdom. Here the plans were forged for revolt against the British in the 1820s. A functional Jewish Synagogue and a large market are some of the attractions. It is now a center for handloom weaving and coir manufacturing.
  • David Hall, Parade Grounds East, Fort Kochi, ☎ +91 484 2218298. Tue-Sun, 11 AM-7 PM. This 315 years old Dutch bungalow was the official residence of the Dutch Army commanders, the most famous being Hendrik Adriaan van Rheede tot Draakestein who was the author of Horticus Malabaricus. Currently, the complex belongs to Netherlands Govt agency CNO which recently renovated to open a large art gallery, a traditional Dutch performing arts center and a large studio for young painters. The building is a classic specimen of colonial Dutch architecture with elaborate Dutch gardens. For cultural performances, one need to check at the reception to know the schedule.
  • Durbar Hall Ground

    , DH Rd, Ernakulam City. The venue for many fairs during festivals and regular evening concerts and other programs.
  • Dutch Palace

    (Mattancherry Kottaram), Palace Rd, Mattancherry. Sat-Thur 10 AM-5 PM. Constructed by the Portuguese in 1568 as a gift to Maharaja of Kochi, Veera Kerala Varma, after he granted permission to construct Fort Immanuel. During the Dutch siege of Kochi, many parts of the original palace were destroyed. However, the Dutch Governor repaired the palace and renamed as Dutch Palace. The coronations of Kochi Maharajas are always held here. A large throne and coronation costumes are on display and there is an extensive collection of royal chariots, swords, and other artifacts. The most interesting part is the mural room, which has the entire Ramayana and Mahabharat depicted in a single mural.
  • Hill Palace Museum, Hill Palace Rd, Thripunithura (12 km southeast of Ernakulam), ☎ +91 484 2781113. Tu-Su 10 AM-12:30 PM; 2 PM-4:30 PM (Crown Gallery closes at 4 PM). The erstwhile Kochi Maharaja's palace, now converted to a large museum along with a small zoo. Has paintings and epigraphy from the collections of the Travancore & Kochi royal families. This is the largest archeological palace in South India with more than 500 artifacts divided into 16 galleries. The highlight of the Palace is the display of multi-billion worth Cochin Royal Crown and Crown Jewels. The Crown Gallery is a high-security zone which has elaborate security check procedures, photography and bags are prohibited. The Palace complex is huge with several buildings inside it. There is a good Deer Park (10 AM-4:30 PM) along with peacocks. A small fauna garden was set up in 2003. Also, the palace has more than 100 different species of trees and plants, many of which are of medical value. The palace has five large gardens and two large resting grounds of late Maharajas. 
  • Holy Koonan Cross Church (Pradhankuriyacha Palli), Bazaar Rd. Mattancherry. 24 hrs. A historic church where Malayalee Christians in the 17th century revolted against Portuguese Jesuit missionaries' attempts to convert them into the Latin church. It was here native that Christians received the Bishop of Persia and declared their affinities to the Orthodox Eastern Church. This was the first recorded revolt against Europeans in India, forcing the Pope to recognize native Christians and to establish a new church, the Syro-Malabar Church.
  • International Pepper Exchange, Jewtown, Fort Kochi. Kochi's answer to New York's Wall Street, but instead of money, its all about pepper trading. This is the world's only pepper exchange. It's worth to visit to see the wide range of pepper varieties as well as some of the trading practices. 
  • Jew Street and Paradesi Synagogue, Jew Town, Mattancherry. Synagogue Su-F 10 AM-5 PM, Sa only open to Jews. The synagogue was constructed in 1568 after allowing Jewish refugees from Jerusalem to settle here during the Crusades making this the Commonwealth's oldest Synagogue. This is one of the very few functional synagogues in India and the structure is unique due to the influence of native Hindu-Christian architecture as well as the only synagogue having two bimahs. Many Jews lived in the area until the creation of Israel, today there is only a handful. Jew Street is a heritage zone with several antique/handicraft shops. 
  • Pallipuram Fort, Pallipuram, Vypin Island. Built by the Portuguese in 1503, this is the oldest existing European fortification in India. It was later handed over to the Travancore Army, to become a major army base till 1903 when it was converted into a heritage museum. It has a small museum and good views of the lagoon on one side and the sea on the other.
  • Pierce Leslie Bungalow, Beach Road, Fort Kochi. The only surviving bungalow built in authentic Portuguese style, it was the home and office of a famous English merchant family - the Leslies. Currently, it has been restored into a boutique hotel. The hotel management allows tourists to explore the grand exteriors and public interior spaces.
  • Princess Street (Loafer’s Corner), Fort Kochi. The most famous street of Fort Kochi which gives you a slice of authentic colonial European architecture. The only street that never faced any raid or demolitions in past, Princess street is a perfect destination for an evening walk with numerous western styled cafes, souvenir shops, art galleries, and heritage complexes.
  • St. Francis CSI Church (CSI Pally), Church Rd, Fort Kochi (Near to Fort Kochi Beach). Daily 7 AM-7 PM. Constructed by the Portuguese in 1503 and the burial place of Vasco da Gama (his remains were later transferred to Lisbon). His tombstone can be seen inside the church. The church has a large cemetery which serves as resting grounds of many Portuguese army officials and soldiers. The church is the only Catholic Church not demolished by Dutch which was handed over to British to re-establish an Anglican church. A large war memorial is at the back and honors the unknown soldiers who died in World War 1. 
  • Santa Cruz Basilica, Cathedral Grounds, Fort Kochi (opposite Children's Park). Daily 7 AM-8 PM. The first European Church built in Asia, by the Portuguese in 1502, also the first Cathedral of Asia and seat of second Catholic Diocese in India. The British modified the structure and added oil paintings. Today, it serves as the primary seat of the Latin church of Kerala. Pope John Paul II declared it a Basilica in 1984. It houses several historical paintings, decors, and artifacts. 
  • VOC Gate, Fort Kochi (opposite the Parade grounds). The only remains of the office of Dutch East India Company is this large wooden gate with a monogram (VOC (Verenigde Oostindische Companie) emblem of Dutch East India Company).

Museums and galleries

  • Indian Naval Maritime Museum, INS Dronarcharya, Fort Kochi. Built by the Indian Navy. Many battle scenes are recreated with life-size models, a huge display of naval arms and ammunition, replicas of large naval ships, personalities, are some of the major highlights.
  • Indo-Portuguese Museum, Fort Kochi. A modern museum highlighting the start of European colonization of the Orient in the 16th century. The museum showcases the growth and decline of the Portuguese life in Kochi with a focus on the growth of the Latin Church. There are also excavated ruins of the former fort wall in the basement of the museum.
  • Kashi Art Gallery, Burgar St, Fort Nagar, Fort Kochi, ☎ +91 484 221 5769. 8:30 am - 7:30 pm. Kashi Art Gallery is both an art gallery and cafe that serves light breakfasts and lunches. The gallery exhibits work by popular contemporary Indian artists.
  • Museum of Kerala History, NH 47 Rd (near Edappally Toll Gate). A good, well-maintained museum with a 40 minute light and sound show (English and Malayalam) about Kerala history. Depicts the history of Kerala through life-like wax statues. Adjacent are the Museum of Dolls with nearly 1,000 dolls from various countries and M.N.F Art and Sculpture Gallery that has many good collections of paintings and sculptures. This museum has a small, well-maintained garden. 
  • Pareekshith Thampuran Durbar Hall Art Gallery, Dubar Hall Ground, DH Rd. Contains oil paintings, old coins, sculptures, Mughal paintings plus models of temples and traditional Kerala buildings. This was the official Durbar Hall of Kochi Maharajas, now converted into a large fine arts gallery, named after last Maharaja of Kochi, who was an oil painter. A small studio is nearby promoting young artists. Free.
  • Sree Lalithakala Art Gallery, Inside D H Ground.

Eco-Tourist villages

  • Kumbalangi Integrated Tourism Village, Kumbalangi island (15 km from the city center). India's first eco-tourist village, this award-winning initiative allows tourists to explore and enjoy the authentic rural culture with the cooperation of natives without disturbing their natural lifestyle. Tourists to this island village have chances to explore rural work styles, specialized local paddy cultivation, canoeing in a country boat in a maze of mangrove forests or enjoying fishing or partying in rural style with locals. In order to maintain best eco-protection practices, several restrictions are placed on the use of plastics, smoking or even carrying soft-drinks.
  • Mastyafed Milky-way Aqua-Tourist Village, Malipuram Village, Vypin (12 km from the city center). 10 AM-5 PM. A unique concept, where a large shrimp farm of the state-run Mastyafed Organization is converted into an Aqua-tourist village with many options to fish for fresh prawns, crabs and shrimp (you can take your catch for a nominal fee), canoeing within a mangrove forest, sun-bathing, swimming at a private beach nearby and enjoying sunset picnic cruise. The breakfast and lunch, which are included in the entry cost, have a wide range of fish delicacies and fish pickles. 

Places of worship

Hindu, Jain and Sikh

  • Aluva Manalpuram. Famous for the annual Shivarathri festival on the banks of the Periyar river.
  • Chottanikkara Devi Temple (at Thripunithura 15 km from city). One of the 108 large Devi (Goddess) temples of India. The temple is famous for treatments of various psychic disorders like split personality syndrome as well as for its annual Makam festival (mid-Feb - mid-March). It is believed to have 3 forms of the Goddess in 3 phases of the day. Famous during Navarathiri time.
  • Dharmanath Desar Jain Mandir, Gujarathi St, Mattancherry (12 km from ernakulam jn). Popularly known as Gujarathi Mandir is one of the oldest Jain temples in India, established by the Gujarathi community who settled here more than 300 years ago. This is a major Theerth (pilgrimage) for Jains and all major North Indian festivals are celebrated in a grand way. Pigeon feeding during noon is one of the main rituals here.
  • Ernakulam Siva Temple (at the center of town, near the Durbar Hall Ground). Has three temples within its complex.
  • Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha (in Perumanoor in Thevera, south end of MG Rd). Is the lone Sikh Gurudwara of Kerala, established by the Punjabi community of Kochi in 1955. Special rites and Guru ka Langar rituals are held every Saturday and Sunday.
  • Poornathresya Temple (in the heart of Thripunithura). Devoted to Lord Vishnu was once the royal temple of Kochi Maharajas. This temple is famous for its Panthizhuaari (Milk Dessert made of rice flakes) distributed during afternoons and grand temple festivals twice in a year.
  • Thirumala Devaswom Temple, Mattancherry. Built by the Gowda Sarawatha Brahmins with Lord Venkateswara as the main deity. It is famous for housing the second largest brass bell in Asia. The North Gopuram is fully roofed with copper.
  • Thrikkakara Temple, Thrikkakara. The only temple in India devoted to the Hindu deity Vamana and a major center for the celebration of the Onam festival. Get here during Onam and you can catch ten days of festivities, peppered with performances of Kerala's traditional arts and ending with an Onam feast.

Christian

  • Malayattoor Mount (26 km away). A major Christian pilgrimage center believed to be the place where St Thomas performed his first miracle in AD 52. Today, it is famous for its annual Holy week-Easter pilgrimage.
  • St. Antony's Shrine, Kaloor (Mathribhumi Junction). At this shrine that belongs to Archdiocese of Verapoly people of different faith and culture flock together day and night seeking blessings.
  • St. Francis Assisi Cathedral, High Court Junction, Marine Dr (behind Verapoly Archdiocese HQ). Locally known as Kappalpalli (Ship Church due to its ship-shaped structure).
  • St. George's Church, Edapally, NH 47 Rd. A popular church, also amongst non-Christians. Famous for its poison cure treatments.
  • St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica, Ernakulam, High Court Junction, Marine Dr (behind Verapoly Archdiocese HQ). The Cathedral is dedicated to "Our Lady of Ports". The Cathedral was built in the early twentieth century under the direction of Mar Louis Pazheparambil The church is also a prominent Marian Pilgrim Centre in India.

Muslim

  • Chempittapally Mosque, Fort Kochi. Famous for its large super-imposing structure having large shining copper domes (thus the name, which means Mosque having Copper Roofs). The compound has 3 gates; one in west which opens way to Panayapilly, second in south which opens way to Goldenmukku and Kochangadi, and the main gate in the eastern side of compound, which opens way to Angadi, which in turn leads the way to Jew Street and Mattancherry Bazaar towards the north and to Chullickal towards south.
  • Kanjiramattam Mosque (30 km to the east). A major Muslim pilgrimage center and venue of the Kudikkuthu Festival. It is famous for the annual Urus festival. The imams of this mosque are famous for being leading scholars, who were advisors to Kochi Rajas. This mosque is the right example of antique beauty of mazhars and dargahs. This was an official temple classified by Kochi Maharajas. The annual Chandanakudam in January attracts many pilgrims. During the festival, pilgrims carry pots smeared with sandalwood paste in a procession to the mosque, with caparisoned elephants and percussion music – both found in temples – form essential parts of the Chandanakudam festival.

Parks and nature

  • Beach Children's Park, Beach Rd. A good small park, which is well maintained for evening strolls.
  • Changampuzha Park, Edapally. Spacious place, ideal for picnics and group discussions.
  • Children's Park. With children's rides, a musical fountain and a small boating lake.
  • Indira Renewable Energy Park. Has unique rides and gadgets which run on renewable energy.
  • Managalavanam, Tatapuram-Pachalam Rd (Behind High Court Complex). A thick 80-acre mangrove forest located in the heart of Kochi and declared a flora sanctuary. More than 30 unique flora are found here and it is also a major bird sanctuary, where migratory birds feed and rest when they escape the cold northern winters.
  • Marine Drive Promenade, Ernakulam Jetty. It starts from the Gateway Hotel area and ends in Ernakulam boat jetty bus station. The total distance is less than one km. There is a children's park in the middle.
  • Paniyeli Poru (near Kodanadu, 14 km from the city center). An unexplored beautiful scenic river bank. The Periyar river flows here in its original pure form, without any kind of pollution. During the Summer season, when the volume of river water is at its lowest, it is very easy to cross the 2 km wide river from one bank to other. Beware during rainy reason, when a large volume of river water flushes this area and it is extremely dangerous to swim.
  • Subhash Park, Park Ave. One of the largest parks in Kochi.

Other attractions

  • Cherai Beach, North of Vypin Island (Take Route-3 bus from High Court stand). Golden beaches with big sand grains, coconut palm corridors, backwaters, and historical monuments. Cherai Beach is one of the safest beaches to swim or play water sports or beach games. A very large beautiful backwaters just 250 m from beach famous for its scenic beauty and boating. Cherai Beach surpasses all with its swimming facility and coconut groves. Occasional sights of dolphins is also an added attraction.
  • Fort Kochi Beach, Fort Kochi. A historic beach where 1st Portuguese-Dutch war broke out in the 17th century. Once a very large beach, it has reduced to a quarter in size after the Tsunami. A beautiful, small walkway is constructed recently, making ideal for evening strolls. One can find remnants of Old Portuguese Immanuel Fort along with parts of Dutch Stormberg Fort with some canons still kept intact. An obsolete boiler that once used for powering cranes of the old port and a very large anchor of an old Portuguese ship are displayed on the walkway. Works for creating a new artificial beach is undergoing near to this old beach with the help of Tsunami development funds.
  • Kodanadu Elephant Training College (Ana Thothil). 9 AM-6 PM. Lies on the southern bank of the Periyar amongst the scenic beauty of the high ranges, Kodanadu is extremely famous for its unique elephant training college, elephant orphanage and a mini-zoo with deer and peacocks here. Wild elephants are first tamed in special cradles and then taken to the nearby training college, where they are trained. The elephant orphanage rears baby elephants until they are ready for training college. Elephant safari is one of the most sought tourist activity here along with kids playing ball games with baby elephants.

What to do in Cochin, India


The Marine Drive Promenade

  • Walk @ Marine Drive. The Marine Drive is not a street but a two-km-long promenade with vehicle traffic banned. The backwaters are on one side and a busy shopping district is on the other side of the walk. The walkway starts from the High Court jetty, goes through two scenic bridges and ends at Rajendra Maidan.

Theme parks

  • Dream World, Near Silver Storm.
  • Silverstorm Water Park. A good family theme park with 29 water and dry rides, a very large park and a Chinese village. Near Athirampally Waterfalls area, this park is located 50 km from Kochi City.
  • Wonderla - in Kakkanad, this is the second largest theme park in South India. Spread over 50 acres of land with more than 50 Rides and various shows, it has well-maintained gardens and five restaurants as well as small cafes. Open 9:30 AM-7 PM.

Boating

  • Boating on the Kochi backwaters (at Marine Drive). Get the real feel of the Vembanadu Lake through boating. There are many cruises offered by many private players as well as the Kerala State Inland Shipping Corp. Sunset cruises are popular. Many guesthouses offer the trip and in the centre, you can arrange it by yourself as well. Recently speedboats started plying the backwaters. Some premium hotels in Willingdon Island and Fort Kochi offer motorized watersports for its guests. Daily backwater tours can be organized directly through the state tourism office at Ernakulam Park Jetty. Must be booked at least the day before. The tour includes a stop at local small industry and food sites.

Cinemas

Kochi has some good Cineplexes, featuring regular Malayalam, Tamil, English and Hindi movies. Most theaters have uniform movie timings with 4 shows: noon, matinée (afternoon), first show (evenings) and second show (late night). Some of the recent modern multiplexes offer many more shows at multiple timings. Some of the recommended ones are
  • Cinemax Multiplex (4 screens); 4th Floor, Oberon Mall, NH bypass road - A modern multiplex, it has 4 screens offering Malayalam, Hindi, Tamil and English movies on a regular basis.
  • Cinepolis, Centre Square Mall. 11-screen multiplex.
  • Padma Cinemas (2 screens), Padma Junction, MG Rd, ☎ +91 484 2354233. A modern, well maintained 800-seat theater in 2 class configuration. It has a good cafe and Texas wild-themed restaurant called Cafe 20. Mostly Malayalam, Tamil and Hindi movies are screened here. 
  • PVR cinemas, Lulu Mall. PVR Cinemas is a 9-screen multiplex, the largest in Kochi(as of March 2014) and has 2 food counters (offers hotdogs, popcorn, burgers, pizza, sandwiches, nachos, etc.) and a Cafe Coffee Day outlet. 
  • Q Cinemas (4 screens); 4th floor, Gold Souk Mall, Vytilla - The most luxurious multiplex in the town, offers shows in all languages.
  • Sridhar Cinemas (1 Screen), Marine Drive, ☎ +91 484 2352529. A modern, well maintained 900-seat theater equipped with 3D facilities. It has a good cafe called Sridhar Cafe. This theater regularly screens Hollywood English movies. Malayalam and Hindi movies are screened sometimes, though rarely. 
  • Shenoys Cinemas (2 Screen), Mahatma Gandhi Rd, Kerala 682035, ☎ +91 484 235 3233.
  • Sarita-Savitha-Sangeetha theaters (3 Screens), 41/32, Alberts College Road, Ernakulam, North, Kochi (Take bus and get down at Kacheripadi stop, and walk.), ☎ +91484 2366183. There are 3 screens here, named in the traditional Kerala style after people (women) Sarita, Savitha and Sangeetha.

Performing arts

  • There are many performing arts complexes across the city, offering a good experience of various art-forms and culture. Kochi has the largest number of regular evening Kathakali theaters, offering the best insight into this traditional dance-drama art-form of Kerala. Apart from Kathakali, many other events are regularly performed in Kochi.
  • Greenix Tourist Theater, Greenix Village, Kalvatty, Fort Kochi. A good cultural theater with a gallery, food court, and mini-museum.
  • JT Pac Cultural Theater, Choice House, Choice lane, Kumbalam. It is one of the most modern and upscale performing arts complexes, which has regular concerts, drama festivals, dance programs, and other arts and cultural activities. A 1000 seater theater, it also has a good gallery and latest visual-audio systems. Booking may be necessary to secure seats and the theater has strict dress code regulations. 
  • Kalikotta, Palace Rd, Thripunithura. It is the official concert palace hall of the Kochi royal family who are patrons of more than a dozen cultural institutions and societies. Most performances are free. The mega Kathakali festival organized prior to Temple festival of Thripunithura Poornathresya Royal temple is one of the largest Kathakali events here. 
  • Kerala Fine-Arts complex (Foreshore Rd). This is one of the oldest centers, with regular cultural performances. Many require prior booking, as they are organized by prestigious societies and groups. There are some performances that have free entry, and the monthly cultural programs of Bank Employees Union is one such. 
  • Kerala Folklore Theater (Near Thevara-Island bridge, Folklore Junction, Thevara). Good cultural theater with regular evening performances, a state-of-the-art museum, and cultural gallery.
  • See India Foundation, ☎ +91 484 2376471. Kalathil Parambil Crossroad, nr Valanjambalam Temple, Chitoor Rd. An evening Kathakali theater, where daily performances take place from 6 PM-8 PM. This is the oldest and first evening Kathakali theater in India. The show is preceded by a detailed discourse of Kathakali history and philosophy, elaborate make-up performances and a demonstration of Kathakali techniques.

Ayurveda

Ayurvedic pleasure treatments are widely available. Some of the better spas and massage centers are:
  • Abad Revival Aayurveda Centre (Revival), ☎ +91 484 4144, e-mail: ayurveda@abadhotels.com. Revival, the wellness center associated with Abad Group of Hotels and Resorts offers traditional Ayurveda through rejuvenation and revitalization treatments. 
  • Birla Kerala Spa (Hotels Woodlands, Jewel Junction)
  • Ela World Spa, (4rd floor, Oberon Mall)
  • Kerala Ayurvedics in South (Near Arun's Studio, Warriam Road between MG Rd and Chitoor Rd)
  • Punarva Spa and Ayuvedic Hospital (Edappally North, NH 17)

What to eat and drink in Cochin, India


Eat

Cuisine

For the past 600 years, Kochi has catered to many visitors from around the world including Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese, French, English, Dutch, Russians, and Japanese. This has made the city a melting pot of various cultures, and this diversity is evident in the cuisine.
Being a coastal city, plenty of fresh seafood is the local specialty. With the backwaters, freshwater fish is also popular here. Prawns, squids, and shrimps are easily available and cooked in many styles. The most famous of Kochi's specialty dishes is Meen Molagitta Curry (smoked freshwater fish with chilly and coconut milk). The English popularized smoked fish with steamed bread and mashed potatoes. One of Kochi's traditional vegetarian specialties is Kurukku Kalan (a thick yogurt curry with toasted banana and hot rice). Packed Kurukku Kalan, as well as Palada (a sweet dessert with rice flakes and milk), are sold in many supermarkets and food stalls, especially during festive times.
At Fort Kochi beach you can buy fresh fish and have it cooked at the nearby food stalls. 
Fried fish, Fish molly (a coconut milk sauce based curry almost like stew), Alleppey fish curry (traditional curry with tomato sauce and fish tamarind) and Fish Peera (chunks of fish toasted with grated coconuts with fish tamarind sauce), Varatharacha Kozhi curry (semi-fried chicken toasted with coconut and chilly) are the favorites, usually taken with rice or steamed tapioca (cassava). Also worth trying are the traditional rice-based breakfast snacks, puttu, and kadala, appam and stew.

Restaurants

  • Bloomsbury's, Lulu mall. Has an artisan bakery and boutique cafe.
  • Cafe Coffee Day, Ravipuram, M G Road, Lulu Mal.
  • Costa Coffee, Lulu Mall. 
  • McDonalds, Lulu Mall and M G Road. Recently opened. 
  • Subway, Multiple Locations- Lulu Mall, Centre Square mall, Panampilly Nagar. 

Budget

Kochi has a variety of cheap restaurants all over the city. 

Thattukadas are streetside food hawkers, where you can get hot, fresh-cooked delicious food. Most offer set meal combinations served from portable cooking trolleys with a few benches or chairs nearby. The most famous delicacies are stuffed or plain thattu dosas (thick dosas almost like pizza bread), hot Kerala porottas (flatbread of milled wheat), Kerala roast beef with chapatti and kanji (rice porridge). The main concern is the lack of hygiene and constant reuse of oil for frying.

Kochi has some home-grown fast food chains: KR Hot Chicken, 61 Pai Dosas, Luciya's Food Court, Potpurri, The Oven, Krispy Chicken, Arabian Treat, Papa Milano's and Breadworld Broasted Chicken have a presence in most parts of town. Foreign franchises such as KFC, Chicking, Noodle Kings, US Pizzas, Marrybrown, Pizza Hut and Domino's also have a presence here.

Indian

  • Aruvi Restaurant, for non-toxic beverages, Nature lunch, etc. Tea, coffee, etc. are not available. Instead "Jappi" an ayurvedic herbal drink is ordered by the visitors. Aruvi is located at I. S. Press Road, Kacherippady, and Chambakkara at Vyttiila.
  • Arya Nivas, Chitoor Rd (opposite South Bus Stand). A chain of vegetarian restaurants run by Tamilians, famous for typical south Indian foods. 
  • Bimbis Foodcourt, Jos Junction, MG Rd. Famous among backpackers and budget tourists, it has a wide range of veg options from North Indian, South Indian, Continental, and Chinese food courts. 
  • Hotel Thali (opposite Little Flower Church, near Kadavanthra). Very good Kerala style cuisine. 
  • Hotel Unnikrishnan, Pallimukku (opposite Medical Trust Hospital). Famous for Kerala style fish fries and set meals. 
  • Indraprastha Gujarati Food Court, MG Rd (Ground floor, DD Food Court, near Shenoy's Theatre). Famous for its unlimited North Indian thalis and various sweets. 
  • Kayees or Kaikka's Biriyani, there are two restaurants, one at Mattancherry & oppos. durbar ground south ekm. open from early morning; briyani avail from noon only and most of the time finish by 2 PM. Kayees is very famous for the briyani - don't leave Kochi, without tasting the kayees mutton biriyani, very trusted name in this field for many decades, hygienic at reasonable pricing too. below hundred for chicken briyani.
  • Krishna Kripa Seafood Restaurant, Fort Kochi (opposite SantaCruz Basilica Church). Good Kerala-style food, low prices, and a great location. 
  • Mughal Restaurant, South Railway Station Rd. Has a good range of north Indian foods and a good juice bar. 
  • Sree Krishna Cafe, Gujarathi St, Mattancherry. Gujarati restaurant famous for its cutlets and battoora and vegetarian curries. 

Other

There are many street side Arabic restaurants offering shawarma and grilled chicken. Popular options are Real Arabia, Arabia Dreams and Grill Arabia, which are dotted all over the city. Most supermarkets and bakeries have a Shawarma Corner outside, which is a cheap, yet filling sandwich. most budget Arabic restaurants are open from 5 PM-midnight.
  • Royal Food Court (Near North Railway Station). Good food with Arabic-Lebanese delicacies around the clock. 
  • Street Menu (Opposite SBT Bank, Padma Junction, MG Rd). Offers a lot of grilled options at low prices. 

Mid-range

Most of the restaurants in Kochi are mid-range and there are lots of them.

Indian

  • Banana Leaf, Jos Junction, MG Rd (near Jos Collections), ☎ +91 484 4022334. noon-3 PM. Good traditional Kerala food with non-veg and veg options.
  • Dal Roti, Lily St, Fort Cochin. Authentic North Indian tastes. 
  • Delhi Durbar, Pallimukku, MG Rd. A good, small North Indian restaurant.
  • Fort House Restaurant and Hotel, 2/6A Calvathy Rd (next to Coast Guard), ☎ +91 484 2217103. At the waterfront offering good Kerala food and great views. 
  • The Grand Pavilion, Grand Hotel, Jewel Junction, MG Rd. Popular especially during evenings for its seafood, particularly karimeen pollichathu (smoked pearlspot fish) and Alleppey fish curry.
  • Kadaloram, Abad Plaza. Good typical Kerala buffet
  • Khyber Pass, First floor, Bimbis Restaurants, Jos Junction, MG Rd. A North Indian/Afghan food outlet with a wide range of tikkas and kebabs.
  • Mirch Masalas, TD Rd (near to Temple). Vegetarian Punjabi restaurant with good ambiance. 
  • Ojeen, By-lane after SBT towards Broadway, Marine Dr (From High Court junction, proceed toward SBT along Shanmugham Road. Right after SBT, on the left, there's a by-lane leading to Broadway.), ☎ +91 484 3121591. 11 AM-7 PM. Variety of snacks from the Malabar region, juices, and milkshakes. Ojeen is probably the only place in Kochi for the delectable, meat-rich Malabar snacks. 
  • Raju dhaba, Falcon truck terminal, Kalamassery. 11 AM-11 PM. Authentic north Indian Dhaba food. 
  • Shala, 1/605 Peter Celli St, Fort Kochi, ☎ +91 484 2216036. Started by the same people who run the Kashi Art Cafe, Shala serves delicious Keralan food. The menu which changes daily. The owner, Anoop, hires local housewives to cook their local specialties. The restaurant is in a beautiful and tastefully restored historical building. 
  • Sharma's Restaurant, Broadway, Marine Dr (Just behind Penta Menaka). Good North Indian food at low prices. 

Other

  • Ceylon Bake House, Opp. Avenue Regent, South area, MG Rd. Ceylon parathas and Sri-Lankan styled chicken dishes. 
  • Chinese Garden, Dwaraka Junction, MG Rd, and Kadavanthara, SA Rd. A good restaurant, serving lots of Indianized Chinese dishes. 
  • Chiyang Restaurant, Madhava Pharmacy Junction, Banerji Road (adjacent to PNVM hospital, opposite erstwhile Oman International Bank). One of the oldest Chinese restaurants. 
  • 14Avenue Restaurant, 14 Cross Rd, Main Avenue, Panampilly Nagar. Italian and continental cuisines, including lasagna, pies, pastas, and steaks. 
  • South Star, Bimbis Menaka (near Penta Menaka, Marine Drive). Well maintained, nice interiors. Food styles from North Indian, South Indian, Chinese and Arabic and a wide range of Biriyanis. 
  • Thai BBQ House, Kunnumpuram Road, Njaliparambu Junction, Fort Kochi. Thai cuisine, with grilled squid tempuras and coconut prawns. 
  • Upstairs Italian, K.B. Jacob Rd, Fort Kochi (opposite Santa Cruz Basilica). Run by an Italian family, classic traditional Italian cuisines. 

Splurge

Most of the upscale restaurants are located inside hotels with 3 stars or more.

Indian

  • BTH Kempa, BTH Hotel, BTH Junction, Durbar Hall Rd. A classic hotel which dates back at least 100 years. Its restaurant, Kempa, is popular among high-end vegetarian travelers. Serves North Indian, South Indian and Kannadiga-Udupi dishes. 
  • Chillis Andhra, Layam Rd. Very tasty, as well as fiery food, particularly the chicken options. Few vegetarian options. 
  • Hotel Dwaraka, Dwaraka Junction, MG Rd. Was the first-star hotel in Kochi and it remains a popular option for Indian vegetarian food.
  • Ila, Marine Dr (near Hakkoba Lodge). 11 AM-11 PM. Tasty Travancore food, with both Southern Travancore veg options and Central Travancore Syrian Christian nonveg specialties. 
  • Restaurant “Lily Grace”, Post box 22, River Rd., Fort Kochi (near Hotel Killians - Fort Kochi Vypeen Ferry Terminal), ☎ +91 484 2217245, e-mail: relax@hotelkillians.com. 11AM-11PM. 
  • Sreekrishna Inn, Warriam Rd, Durbar Hall Rd. This restaurant is famous for its classic look and theme and offers a large range of Indian vegetarian dishes. The dosas are most famous, along with its elaborate thalis. 
  • S36, Mills St, Foreshore Rd (within Bat&Ball Inn), ☎ +91 484 645 9495. 11 AM-11 PM. Traditional North Indian cuisine, particularly Mughal specialty foods. 
  • Tandoor (Clay Oven), Layam Rd (near Hotel Woodlands, Woodland Junction, MG Rd). 11 AM-11 PM. Tasty North Indian, particularly Punjabi, food. The Kadai chicken and ginger chicken is truly world class, and no other place in Kochi can offer their unique taste. The peas masala is also really superb. Their trademarks are romali roti and stuffed bread options. A full Kadai chicken serves at least 4-5 people. Caution, it is very spicy. 

Other

  • Arctic Circle (next to Hokkoba Lodge, Marine Drive, near to Coffee Beanz). 11 AM-11 PM. Steak, more than 14 sizzlers, such as an American styled sizzler with Texas mashed potatoes with mushroom sauce. 20 European dishes, along with a few continental salads. 
  • Ayela & Keshai (Part of Dreams Hotel), near Elamkulam Lake, SA Rd. A very good seafood restaurant with four theme courts, Kochi, Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese. It has a fresh seafood selection court, with the fish cooked in front of the guests. A multi-cuisine restaurant also operates at the site.
  • Conucopia, Mills St, Foreshore Rd, ☎ +91 484 6459495. 11 AM-11 PM. A cricket theme restaurant, operating inside Bat&Ball Inn, this restaurant is famous for its wide selection of Continental, Greek, Mediterranean cuisines.
  • Golden Dragon, Mercy Estate, Atlantis Junction, Ravipuram side of MG Rd. 11 AM-11 PM. A pure Chinese restaurant without any Indianization. Serves alcohol. 
  • Hon. East India Company, Hotel Travancore Palace, Warriam Rd, Durbar Hall Rd. 11 AM-11 PM. A historically themed restaurant operating within the four-star Travancore Palace Hotel. Famous for its classic paintings and heritage photo galleries as well as its food. The evening buffet is one of the largest in town, offering the best of English, Kerala and North Indian cuisine. 
  • Lokah World Cuisines, NH Bypass Rd, Vytilla (near Mithra Supermarket), ☎ +91 484 4033220, +91 484 4033221. 11 AM-11 PM. Offers nine international cuisines from an American Wild West theme to Vietnamese sea-food, Italian pastas, and Arabic grills. This restaurant has a family hall, a smoking lounge, a street food area and a French cafe along with bakery. Free wifi for guests. 
  • Itty's Place, G31, Panampally Nagar (near Hotel Centre), ☎ +91 94 4657 5551. 11 AM-11 PM. Itty's place is an eco-friendly restaurant made completely with bamboo, coir, and wood having 3 sit-down options. Favorite Italy offers traditional Italian pizzas, pastas, and subs. 
  • Ming's Wok (Opp.Bank of Baroda Near Malayala Manorama Panampilly Nagar Cochin), ☎ +91 484 231355. 11:30 AM-11 PM. Authentic Chinese cuisine prepared by professional chefs, using quality ingredients. 
  • Spice Route, Level 4, Oberon Mall, NH Bypass Rd, Palarivattom, ☎ +91 484 4000040. 11 AM-11 PM. Themed around historical spice route with a focus on traditional Persian foods. 
  • Somewhere Else (near Muscat Tower (Sony and Vileno Showroom), near Kadavanthara Junction), ☎ +91 484 2313339. 11 AM-11 PM. It has a cafe and restaurant. The cafe serves a wide range of coffees and mocktails, whereas the restaurant has sizzlers, steaks, grilled wraps, burgers and desserts. Also offers some good biriyanis and Indianised European options. Free wifi for guests. 
  • 24 Carat, 3rd floor, Gold Souke Mall, Vytilla. 11 AM-11 PM. A popular upscale multi-cuisine restaurant themed around weddings, it is ideal for candle-light romantic dinners and high power lunches. 

Drink

Keralites are well known for their drinking habit. Finding bars or pubs is not difficult in Kochi. For those who do not drink alcohol, there are lots of excellent local options.

  • Fresh toddy (kallu) is a brew from the coconut tree. Be careful as adulteration is very common. Your best bet is to get it from a local who has given over his coconut trees for extraction. Mullapanthal Kallushap near Thripunithura is a certified Kallu brew shop.
  • Karikku /ilaneer (tender coconut), could be found at many hawker stalls, especially in Marine Drive.
  • Sambhaaram (buttermilk), is especially popular on hot summer days when it is even distributed freely by some clubs in popular areas.
  • Shakes, such has Sharjah Shake are good cool-down options and there are numerous cool-bars and juice stalls across the city.

Bars

Finding a bar or pub is not difficult. Most of the budget-oriented bars are located near the railway stations and in Kaloor and Edappally. Mid-market and high-end bars are located all over. There are many beer and wine bars catering to foreign tourists at Fort Kochi. As elsewhere in Kerala, all bars and pubs have to close every first and second day of the month as well as on all state holidays. These are known as dry days. All bars have to close by midnight.

You can buy almost any brand of liquor from state-run Beverages Co stores, which have an extensive network of in Kochi, selling at competitive rates. Expect long queues, especially on the eve of dry days.
  • Central Park Bar, Kaloor-Kadavanthara Rd. A posh well maintained bar having a designer lounge.
  • Nasha, at the Metropolitan Hotel bar, South Railway station. A well maintained good lounge bar, ideal for families and visitor. Offers a wide range of drinks offering at moderate prices. Very famous for its signature Kerala dishes as short eats. 
  • Oberoi Bar, MG Rd. A good small bar dominated by men. 
  • Polakkulattu Sliverspoon Bar, Jewek MG Rd. A good, well-maintained bar with branches in Palarivattom near Metlife, and in SA Rd at Janatha Junction. 
  • Silca Bar, Hotel Mercy, Ravipuram area, MG Rd, ☎ +91 484 2367372. A lovely, upscale bar lounge popular with businessmen and upscale visitors. Famous for its signature dishes and cocktails.
  • Velocity, Banerjee Rd. A seedy bar with a wide range of liquors and beer. 
  • XL Fishnet Bar, Rose St, Fort Cochin. until about 10:30 PM. The bar fills up each day with tourists looking for a beer in Fort Cochin. There is nothing cozy about the place and the staff is quite lazy. It can be a nice spot to meet other travelers since everyone has one thing in common: drinking beer. There is a busy restaurant downstairs that also serves beer (more pricey) and may be preferred by solo women. 
 

Coffee shops

There are many coffee shops around the city.
  • Amaara Maradu, Petta-Maradu Rd, Tripunithara (near Gandhi Square), +91 484 2706922, amaara@in.com. 10 AM-9 PM. An unique heritage hangout set in 200 year old Mangayil house. Serves authentic Kerala coffee and popular varieties of dosas. Regular cultural performances, cooking class, ethnic handicrafts class are some of the popular activities there. The cafe also houses a large library for reading as well as the venue for regular book exhibitions. 
  • Barista (Bay Pride Mall, Marine Drive). 10 AM-10:30 PM. The place to cool down with coffee after a walk at Marine Drive. Not cheap though.
  • BTH Coffee Shop (Nr North Railway Station; International Stadium-Kaloor). 9 AM-10:30 PM. A moderate priced coffee shop, famous for its traditional Kerala snacks and savories along with dosas and idilies.
  • Cafe Cochin Lavazza (G-360, Panampally Nagar), +91 484 3114816. 9 AM-10:30 PM. The only direct Lavazza coffee outlet in South India.
  • Cafe Coffee Day (Shenoys Jn, MG R; Oberon Mall; Pallimukku, MG Rd). 10 AM-9:30 PM. A popular national chain, which is a standard coffee hangout with western style eateries and a wide range of coffee.
  • Cafe Persia (TD Rd, near Banerjee Rd). 9 AM-10:30 PM. A unique Arabic themed cafe, famous for Sheeshas/Hookah smoking and an excellent range of Arabic coffee and tea, along with snacks.
  • Kashi Art Café, Fort Cochin, Burgher St (parallel to Princess St), +91 484 2215769, mail@kashiartgallery.com. 8:30 AM-10:00 PM. Serves great iced coffee, fresh lunches, and a variety of sandwiches and tasty cakes.
  • Teapot (Peter Celli St, Fort Cochin). 10 AM-10:30 PM. A unique cafe which serves a variety of teas, particularly 6 unique Indian flavors. It also has good traditional English snacks.

Ice cream parlors

  • There are numerous cool-bars and juice stalls that sell branded and custom made ice-cream dotted all over the city. There are also a few specialist ice cream parlours.
  • Caravan Softies, Caravan Complex, Marine Drive and Opposite Shenoys Cineplex. One of the most traditional ice-cream parlours famous for many in-house varieties.
  • Horter Place de Glance, Jawahar Nagar Colony and Opp. Durbar Hall grounds. A premium ice-cream outlet selling the Uncle John brand. It has 29 ice-cream flavours and 18 ice-cream varieties with many toppings including sauces, creams, fruits and nuts.
  • Kwality Walls, Foodcourt-Abad Bay Pride Mall Marive Drive. A local favourite.
  • Merriboys Ice-cream Cafe, Food Circle, Oberon Mall. Famous for its original milk ice-creams and innovative fruit sundaes.

Shopping in Cochin, India


All shopping outlets close by 8 PM. During festive seasons, late night shopping (11 PM-3:30 AM) are organized to reduce day-time shopping congestion.
The Onam Festival (mid of Aug-Sept) is one of the best shopping seasons when you get heavy discounts ranging between 10-50% for almost all items as well as regular consumer fairs. X'mas is the next best season. The Kerala Government has started the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival (15 Dec-30 Jan), to promote Kerala as a shopping destination. Kochi is the main focal center of this festival and you get heavy discounts at participating stores and regular lucky draws.

Markets

The narrow strip sandwiched between Marine Drive and MG Road houses the celebrated Broadway Market which is one of the Kochi's oldest shopping corners where you can buy anything from safety pins to motor scooters. A spice market operates inside, offering the best of Kerala's spices, saffron, and various oils. There is also a cloth market, a jewelry market, a fancy items market, a vegetable/fruit market and an electronic/watch market. Also try at Mattancherry Old Spice market, which is one of the oldest spice markets in the country. There are nearly half a dozen small markets, mostly run by Gujarathi and Konkanis where you can slice of Indian market flavors.

Antiques/artworks

Jew town in Fort Cochin has numerous antique and craft stores. Most of the antique shops sell colonial era and heritage pieces, as well as Jewish items from the traditional Jewish homes of the area. You can also find many kinds of Indian sculptures, decor, interior artifacts, and souvenirs. Bargains are available but be warned that many 'antiques' were probably made in the owner's backyard. Shop with care and bargain hard. Never trust touts, who get hefty commissions from unscrupulous antique dealers.

  • Cauvery, MG Rd (at Jos Junction), ☎ +91 484 2351968. A government emporium well known for quality handicrafts at a reasonable price.
  • Cochin Crafts Antique Shop, Jewtown (walk down from the synagogue), ☎ +91 484 2221927. Good collection of crafts and antique shops.
  • Isidore Art Palace, Jewtown (next to the Synagogue), e-mail: isidore@vsnl.com. Will reliably ship stuff outside India. Bargain hard.
  • Yousuf Art Gallery (Galleria Synagogue Art Gallery), 776 Jew Town (walk down the street from the synagogue), ☎ +91 9847478882, +91 484 222 1330, e-mail: info@galleriasynagogue.com. Showcases artwork from many different local artists. Prices are reasonable, and they very often have exhibitions showing some amazing artwork from the region. They feature artworks and exhibitions by professional artists as well as talented emerging artists from South India.

Try state run emporiums that offer high quality certified antiques/artworks, however, there is no bargain or discount. Check at Kerala's state emporium showrooms, Kairali & Surabhi and Karnataka's Cavery, all located in MG Road.

Apart from shopping malls, there are numerous of shopping complexes in Cochin (a shopping complex in local terms is a large complex having many shops close to each other, selling mostly only one type of product).

  • Bay Pride Mall, Marine Drive. A small sized family mall located in the heart of the city with a few brand stores, a small food court, a fitness center, a gift shop, and a music store.
  • Centre Square, in M.G road, was the latest mall opened in Kochi and has a Food court and an 11 screen multiplex called Cinepolis.
  • Grande Gold Souk, Vyittila Junction. One of the largest malls in South India, this is the only mall having a wedding as a theme, with more than 150 stores selling various jewelry brands and branded/unbranded apparel. The Mall has a large bowling alley, sports bar, gaming zone, a luxurious multiplex, and a good food court.
  • Lulu Mall. Located in the Edapally area of Kochi, is India's Largest Mall. Opened on 10 March 2013, the mall consists of more than 360 outlets including food courts, restaurants, family entertainment zones and a nine-screen multiplex, ice skating rink, and bowling alley. Buses frequently leave Kochi Bus station for Lulu Mall.
  • Nucleus Mall, Maradu. A spacious sub-urban mall, ideal for shoppers to shop in a hassle-free area without worries of traffic and large crowds.
  • Oberon Mall, nr Padivattom Signal Junction-NH Bypass Road). The first large scale multi-format shopping mall in a western style. A typical mall, with a wide range of branded stores, a large hypermarket, an anchor store of Reliance Trends (multi-brand apparel store), a book/stationery store, spa, beauty salon, a large food court, a four-screen Cinemax.

Apparel and fabric

Kochi also has many famous designer boutiques, mostly located in Convent Junction (between MG Road and Marine Drive). Panampally Nagar also houses many premium exclusive designer boutiques. MG Road (the arterial road) is lined with many premium brand stores, leading apparel shops and boutiques. The cloth bazaar in Broadway Market is one of the largest apparel market selling unbranded fabrics and apparels at lower rates.

Bookshops and Stationery

There are numerous bookstores in Convent Junction as well as in the Fort Kochi area. Pressclub Rd in Convent Junction is a hot-spot for book lovers.

  • Blossom Book Fair, I S press road. a perfect place to get brand new and second-hand books at amazing discounts (up to 90% off)
  • Crossword, Lulu Mall. Stationery providing various fiction and non-fiction books as well as music CDs, Branded pens like Cross, Sheaffer and Parker and other Stationery.
  • D C Books, Kurien's Tower(Banerji Road), inside Lulu Connect.
  • DeeCee, Island Castle Complex, Chittoor Rd (Opposite YMCA), ☎ +91 484 2362796. A very large multi-lingual bookstore, famous for a wide range of English fiction books.
  • Kurien's Tower, Banerjee Rd (opposite Saritha Cinemas). Has many good book stores within it. Some of the popular are Book-Port +91 484 2397129, +91 97 4640 1310 1 ), Hamlet, ☎ +91 484 2395389) and very large multi-lingual store of DC Books.
  • Pai&Co, Broadway and MG Rd. The first bookstore in the city, it's very popular for all kinds of reading materials.
  • The Penguin Store, Centre Square. A desirable place to buy all sorts of books.

Jewelry

Kochi is famous for its gold, silver, diamond and platinum jewelry. Most of the jewelers are concentrated at Jewel Junction (Woodland Junction), on MG Road near Hotel Woodlands. Normal gold purity in India is 22 carat. 24-carat gold ornaments (thankam) are not so popular but are available. Lightweight collections in 18-carat gold have become popular among youngsters and teenagers.

  • A Geeri Pai, Broadway, MG Road.
  • Alapatt Gold, ☎ +91 484 2381862. Jewel Junction, MG Road. - One of the oldest jewelers with an extensive gold collection, ranging from traditional to modern.
  • Avatar Jewellers, Lulu Mall.
  • Bhima Boutique, Lulu Mall.
  • Bhima Silver Palace, Jewel Junction, MG Rd. A large collection of silver ornaments, souvenirs, and cutlery.
  • H. Venkatesha Naik Jewellery, ☎ +91 484 4041890. Rajaji Road, Near Kavitha Junction. Offers modern designs and lightweight collections. It also has an extensive diamond gallery and trendy collection of watches.
  • Josco Jewellers, M G Road, Lulu Mall. A Good 916 Gold and Diamond Jewellery.
  • Kirtilals, ☎ +91 484 2372911. Opposite Maharaja's College Ground, MG Rd. A grand exclusive diamond gallery, featuring more than 2,000 diamond collections and platinum jewel designs.
  • Malabar Gold, ☎ +91 484 2352916. Jewel Junction, opposite Grand Hotel, MG Road. An extensive gold, platinum and diamond collection. It has one of the largest watch gallery selling the latest international premium brands like Rado, Tissot, and others.
  • Tanishq, South. Jewelry by Tata

Safety in Cochin, India


Kochi is one of the safest cities in India with excellent police coverage. Common sense is of course required.

  • Kochi is infamous for mosquitoes, due to the presence of large water bodies across the city. Its always better to have any anti-mosquito creams or spice oil extracts like lemongrass oil to ward off mosquito bites.
  • Crossing roads - unlike in the other cities in India, vehicles do not tend to stop when you initiate crossing; so wait till there is a comparative lull in the traffic - the oncoming vehicles will slow down for you.
  • Be wary of Private Line bus and KSRTC bus drivers on the roads. Pedestrians live a hard life especially during peak hours in Kochi. There are many cases of road accidents and hit-run cases involving private buses and pedestrians, thus earning them the nickname, Red Killers. Take extra care, while crossing the roads. If difficult to cross then do so only at major signal junctions or seek the assistance of local traffic policeman.
  • Kochi lacks good pedestrian walkways, though many are being rebuilt now, along with the roads. Beware of walking on these walkways. Avoid walking on the roads in the city, especially in the daytime.
  • Kochi is located only a few meters above the sea level, so a few roads in the arterial city tend to flood during rainfall. It's better to avoid such roads while raining. When these roads are flooded it may be difficult to distinguish whether you are walking on road or walkway, which sometimes can land you inside drainage holes. However, these floods do tend to drain off quickly after the rain. Flood-prone roads are - Edapally Junction, roads leading to Ernakulam Junction (South) Railway Station, South junction (in front of Hotel Woodlands)
  • Public smoking bans are strictly enforced in the city more so than in other regions. The High Court of Kerala has decreed a public smoking ban across the state. Smoking on the roadside, in shopping complexes, restaurants, and parks is illegal. No shop that sells loose cigars or tobacco is allowed to provide lighters.
  • Prostitution is illegal in Kochi, as elsewhere in Kerala and India. However, there is a very good chance, you will likely encounter street prostitutes and their agents, who may try to lure you. Beware of such offers, as many of such prostitutes are affected by HIV. Being illegal, they have no access to medical controls or treatments. As it is a criminal offense to commit adultery, regular police raids occur in local cheap hotels to catch prostitutes and their clients.

Emergency support & assistance

For any emergency support of Police, ☎ 100 for Flying Squad or ☎ 1090 for Crime Stopper. The city has around 16 Police Station zones.

  • Kochi Central Police Station (Central Circle), Old Railway Station Rd (Behind High Court of Kerala), ☎ +91 484 2394500. 24 hours. This is the main police station and it houses the offices of the Asst. City Commissioner as well as Ernakulam City Circle officer.
  • Kochi Women Police Station (Vanitha Station) (General Police Quarters, Near to High Court), ☎ +91 484 2394250. 24 hrs. For any assistance to women travelers. This all-women police station.
  • Kochi Tourist Police Station (Fort Kochi Station) (Parade grounds), ☎ +91 484 2224055. 24 hrs. This is the country's first and only tourist police station. Assistance for tourists including visa and immigration information can be provided. There is a small police museum here. Check for the difference of police uniform here. The Tourist Police wear a blue shirt and khaki pants.
  • Foreigners Registration Office-FRO (City Police Commissioner's Office) (Commissariat, City Police HQ, Marine Drive), ☎ +91 484 2394651. 10 AM-5:30 PM. The city commissioner is the FRO, who has powers and authorization for any immigration issues.
  • Sailors & Seaport Users Registration Office (DySP Office- Island) (SSRO Office, Near Port Trust Office, Willington Island), ☎ +91 484 2666027. 24 hr. For sailors or ship crew, their registration and embarkation/disembarkation order has to be issued for this office. The DySP has authorization to issue landing permits for yachts, private boats as well as foreign ships and allow its passengers to board down for 72 hours without visa. Travelers arriving on cruisers and yachts should report at this office for any transit visa or short term visa required.

Language spoken in Cochin, India


The people of Kerala speak Malayalam (a palindrome when written in English).
Most people understand basic English but cannot speak the same. Almost all bus routes and other important signs including name boards are written in Malayalam and some are in English. Most City Bus destinations are prominently written in Malayalam, some having English signage represented in small fonts which is often difficult to read. All of the bus conductors and ticket checkers do understand English. Long Distance and Inter-state buses do carry English signage. Railways and other central government establishments use signs written in Malayalam, English, and Hindi. Highway signs are normally in Malayalam and English. Most Kerala Government offices use only Malayalam signage and most Kerala Govt documents such as receipts and bills are in Malayalam. The only exception to this would be Judicial Department and Courts, as they use English as the official language for all its communications, even though the judicial transcripts are normally in Malayalam. Translation centers are normally seen near all court areas for the purpose.

Most of the signages of shops and other private establishments are normally written in English along with Malayalam. Most of the bills and other documents other than government's will be in English.

LOCAL TIME

3:03 am
October 21, 2019
Asia/Calcutta

CURRENT WEATHER

25 °C / 77 °F
moderate rain
Mon

25.51 °C/78 °F
heavy intensity rain
Tue

26.05 °C/79 °F
heavy intensity rain
Wed

26.27 °C/79 °F
moderate rain
Thu

26.37 °C/79 °F
heavy intensity rain

LOCAL CURRENCY

INR

1 USD = 0 INR
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1 CAD = 0 INR

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