The Queen of the Arabian Sea !!
Start exploring Kerala's tradition, culture and beauty from the city of ports !!
Cochin also known as Kochi, is a picturesque place with a blend of natural beauty, beaches and greenery. It is situated in Ernakulam district, 220 km. (approximately) north of Thiruvananthapuram. Cochin is unique in its equatorial climate because of its location between Western Ghats and Arabian Sea. With an overall area of 95 sq. km. approximately, it comprises of a coastline of 48 km. with the Arabian Sea. It is a must-visit spot for its scenic beauty, spice & tea plantations, prime location on south-west coast and historical monuments.
Cochin, or familiarly Kochi, is known as a commercial centre of the state. Kochi had strong trade relations with Greek, Rome, China and Arab in ancient times. Even today it is a major player in spice, tea and coffee market for European and West-Asian countries. It is one of those cities that play an important role in the country's economy through international export and import of goods. It has become a hub for the business of spices, tea, coffee, dry-fruits, rubber, timber, prawns etc.
Besides, Kochi has business diversions in gold and textile retailing, sea food exports, ship-building, fishing industry and information technology too. The city is also popular for its oil refinery. Apart from this, the headquarter of the Spices Boards of India is also situated in Cochin.
Cochin celebrates all the traditional festivals with full vigour. Onam is the most popular festival of Kerala and is also known as the Harvest Festival. It is celebrated in the memory of lord Vamana and great & kind king Mahabali. Onam lasts for ten days and its major attractions include the Athappookkalam (a floral carpet) in front of houses, boat races, dance, music, carnivals and feasts consisting of a traditional sweet dish 'Payasam'.
Cochin Carnival, which falls in the last week of December is celebrated to welcome New Year and to pay tribute to the brave martyrs who died while fighting for their motherland. It has now become very popular among the youth. Caparisoned Elephants (elephants decorated with flowers and ornaments), drums, spectacular floats, traditional folk art forms, North Indian dances, adventure sports like beach bike sace and sea swimming, beach football, beach volleyball, shuttle badminton and ball badminton tournaments characterize the event.
Another traditional festival is Attachamayam which falls in August or September (before Onam). It is celebrated to pay a tribute to the motherland. Colours everywhere, caparisoned elephants, folk art forms, competitions and other entertainment programmes are the main elements of this occasion.
Apart from this, the Indira Gandhi Boat race held in December is another major attraction of the city. Kochi also celebrates other major Hindu festivals like Holi, Diwali and some Jewish festivals like Hanukkah (festival of lights) and Passover (spring festival). Malayatoor Perunal is an occasion for Christians. It is known for a grand feast at the catholic church at Malayatoor (52 km from kochi).
How To Reach
Cochin is about 215 kms from Thiruvananthapuram (the capital of Kerala), but it is well connected by road, railway and air. Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus service makes it easily approachable from any part of Kerala. This is the local bus service of the state. The city has two major railway stations and an international airport too. The airport is in Nedumbassery, which is hardly 25-30 km from Cochin city.
Climate And Best Time To Go
Since this is a coastal region, the atmosphere remains cool and soothing. It is humid but pleasant. The period between June to August is not a good time to visit Cochin because of the South-West monsoon, December to February is considered best time to visit Kochi.
Flora And Fauna
Vegetation is very thick in Cochin, so it is rich in flora and fauna. The fauna of the backwaters or at coastal areas consists many types of aquatic and marine species. Ungulates, elephants, monkeys, leopards, civets, jackal, wild dogs, spotted dear, mouse deer, rodents etc are common here. Colorful birds like tailorbird, house crow, magpie, parakeet, larks, robin, drengo, bulbul, weaverbird, pond heron, terns, black bittern etc are also a big tourist attraction. Besides, various reptiles including snakes, lizards, crocodiles and tortoises are also found here.
Cochin also remains in the limelight because of its distinctive ecology, unique mangroves and bird sanctuaries.
Cochin is an important commercial place, so you can find each and every brand of accessories or apparel here. The most crowded place for shopping in Cochin is M.G. Road, famous for clothing, cosmetics, cuisines and accessories. You can find duty free shops for branded items on Marine Drive road.