The Queen of the Adriatic, has a rather befuddling history of nomenclature. It can be traced back to the Malayalam word koch azhi, which means a lagoon which is not very large in size. Another possibility is the name having its roots in kaci which means port. The history of the name also carries connotations of the Bible scriptures, namely Cohen which metamorphosed into Cocha and eventually into Kochi. The name, Kochi, also has Chinese hints. The legend goes that Emperor Kublai Khan's merchants gave Kochi its name. An example of the cosmopolitan culture of Kochi is reflected in its Sanskrit inspired name. Many opine that it has its roots in the Sanskrit word Go Shree that literally means thriving with the auspicious animal. Niccolo dei Conti and Fra Paoline's travelogues associate the name Kochi with the river Kochchi.
Periyar engulfed the harbor of Kodugallur in 1341 and served as the launch pad for the birth of Kochi. Apart from Niccolo dei Conti, the adventurer from China, Ma Huan, also writes about Kochi. The disintegration of the Kulashekhara dynasty saw the coronation of the Perumpadappu Swaroopam or the royalty of Kochi. The traders of Europe flocked to Kochi to cash in on the treasure trove of perfumed sandalwood and spices. They soon forged links with the Arab traders. The commercial aspirations fuelled their dream of ruling Kochi. The Portuguese, who kick started this gold rush, crowned Thampuran as the Maharaja of Kochi. The merchants from Holland also made a beeline for a share of the immensely profitable pie. The lions share was, however, reserved for the British East India Company. It is, however, due to the pioneering efforts of Lord Willingdon, the Governor of Madras during the 1920's and the port engineer Robert Bristow, that Kochi can boast of world class port facilities. Kochi acceded to an independent India but faced a bout of economic depression. The reforms envisaged in the economic sector served as a healing touch to Kochi.
Kochi being an important port city is strategically located, well connected by aerial routes, railways and bus. Travelers who want to avail the aerial route can alight at Cochin International Airport at Nedumbessary. If rail journeys fascinate you then you can enquire at Ernakulam Town and Ernakulam Junction. Mangla Lakshadweep and Netravati Expresses from Mumbai, Trivandrum Rajdhani from Delhi, Ernakulam and Kanyakumari Expresses from Bangalore, Trivandrum Mail from Chennai and Howrah-Trivandrum Express from Kolkata are some of the major trains plying to Kochi. If you want to hit the road to reach Kochi, then you can either enquire at the KSRTC bus junction at Ernakulam or cross the bridges to Willingdon Island and avail NH47A.
Places of Interest
Feast your eyes on the wonderful architecture in Fort Kochi and Mattancherry. A visit to these places should figure prominently in your itinerary. It is an eclectic blend of the Arab, British, Portuguese and Dutch legacy. To get a taste of the Portuguese architecture, you can head towards The Santa Cruz Basilica. This five hundred year old church survived the Dutch invasion. These followers of John Calvin, the traders of Holland were probably, enamored by the beautiful stained glass embellishments.
The St. Francis Church, another specimen from the Portuguese era, boasts of having being the burial site of the famous Vasco da Gama. The 'Doop Book',that is a storehouse of records of married and baptized individuals, is a top draw.
The Chinese fishing nets, a remnant from the rule of the majestic Kublai Khan, is another major tourist attraction. After a day of wander lust, you can unwind at the Fort Kochi Beach, which also houses a pretty lighthouse.
The Pardesi Synagogue, a relic of the Jews also claims huge footfalls. This glorious specimen of Jew architecture is four hundred years old and is adorned with etched brass pillars and floor art. There are a couple of copper discs that have the etchings of the benefits awarded by King Bhaskara Ravi Varman. It also showcases a forty-five feet clock that boasts of Arabic, Latin, Malayalam and Hebrew.
If you want to soak in the feel of the Maharajadom, trudge along to the Mattancherry Palace that is a treasure trove of royal memorabilia.
The Jew Street, the Dutch Cemetery and the Princess Street are some of other coveted tourist hot spots.
Ernakulam, situated at a stone's throw distance, from Kochi, exudes generation next verve and enthusiasm with a plethora of theatres, dining joints and shopping havens. Broadway is a shopper's paradise, fragrant with an old world charisma. Amble down the seventy-five feet Marine Drive or lean back to feast your eyes on the Ernakulam -Vypeen boat sail at a distance.
If you are interested to bolster your knowledge about the nomenclature of Ernakulam, a visit to the Shiva Temple is a must. Rishinaga-kulam, the name of the temple's pool of water gives Ernakulam its name. The legend has it that, a mystic gained freedom from the shackles of a curse. January is an ideal month to visit as the temple gears up to revel in the eight day celebrations. The Pakalpooram, a blend of panchavadyam, and pandimelan, is an unique experience. The new-year festivities of Onam sees Ernakulam all decked to host the Indira Gandhi Boat Race,that generates a lot of thrill and anticipation.
The Kanjiramattom mosque, St. George's Forane Church in Edapally, The Bhagavathy Temple in Chottanikkara are some of other frequented attractions.
The history freaks can troop to The Museum of Kerala History in Edapally.
The shopping fanatics can go on no holds barred shopping sprees to Broadway and M. G Road in Ernakulam and Mattancherry and Jew Street in Fort Kochi. You can collect old world charm exuding mementoes, intricately carved rose-wood chairs and tables, metal art and a host of other artifacts.
The spices of Kochi are also coveted collector's item. So shop till you drop and stack your bags with sealed pouches of fresh spices.
|Lat Long||9.930042, 76.267884|
|Area||94.88 km2 (36.63 sq mi)|
|Population as per 2011||601,574|
|Official Languages||Malayalam, English|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Transport||Air, Road, Rail, Ferry (Ship)|
|Vehicle registration||KL-7, KL-43|
|Religion||Hindu, Christian, Muslim|
|Food and Cuisine||Coconut, Spices, South Indian, Chinese, North Indian cuisines, Seafood, Shawarma and roasted chicken etc.|
|Festival||Onam and Vishu, Holi , Christmas, Easter, Eid ul-Fitr, Milad-e-sherif, Cochin Carnival etc.|
|Monuments||Fort Kochi, St. Francis' Church, Mattancherry Palace, Synagogue , BolgHatty Palace, Santa Cruz Basilica , Bolgatty Palace, Pareekshith Thampuran Museum etc.|
|Places of interest||Backwaters of Kochi, Marine Drive , Fort Kochi, Hill Palace, Mattancherry Palace, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Jewish Synagogue, Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica, Bolgatty Palace, Kochi International Marina, Willingdon Island, St.Francis Church, Pallipuram Fort, Bastion Bunglow etc.|
|Markets||Oberon Mall, Gold Souk Grande Kochi, Bay Pride Mall and Lulu Mall, Forum Thomsun Mall, Center Square Mall, M.G Road, Jew Town, Spices Board, Amay, Marine Drive, Incy Bella etc.|
|Hospital||Government Hospital, Laxmi Hospital, Westside Hospital Private Limited, Gautham Hospital, Cochin Port Trust Hospital, IJRC - Innovative Joints Rejuvenation Centre etc.|
|Hotel||A V Residency, Abaam Cochin, Abad Airport Hotel, Abad Atrium, Abad Metro, Abad Plaza, Adams Wood House, Airport Mansion, Ajantha Regency, Ales Residency, Apple Residency, Aquaria The Boutique Resort, Arshatheeram Tourist Zone, ATS Willingdon Hotel, Authentic Kerala Package, The Avenue Regent, Ballard Bungalow, Bastian Home Stay, Bay Watch Beach Homes, Beaumonde The Fern etc.|
|Industries||Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore (FACT), Travancore Cochin Chemicals, Indian Rare Earths Limited, Hindustan Insecticides Limited, Kochi Refineries Limited, TCS, Wipro, Xerox, Ernst & Young and Cognizant, Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA)|
|University||Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT), Mahatma Gandhi University , Cochin University, Indian Maritime University, Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training, National University of Advanced Legal Studies, the National Institute of Oceanography and the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Indian Institute of Management, School of Management Studies (SMS), Albertian Institute of Management , Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Sree Narayana Institute of Medical Sciences, M.O.S.C. Medical College, Kolenchery., Maharaja's College, St. Albert's College, St. Teresa's College, Sacred Hearts College, CUSAT Engineering Schools,SCMS School of Engineering & Technology, Model Engineering College, Rajagiri School of Engineering & Technology, The Government Law College-Ernakulam, National University of Advanced Legal Studies (NUALS) etc.|
|Notable people||Divya Unni - Actress Indian classical dance performer/teacher, Neha Dhupia - Actress, Sugith Varughese - Writer, Director and Actor etc.|
Last Updated on : July 7, 2014