The commercial capital of Kerala. The district is located within the coast line of the Arabian Sea on the west, Kottayam and Alappuzha districts in the south, Idukki district in the east and Thrissur in the north. It has area of 2408 sq km. Ernakulam is the bustling business city.
Kochi‚Äôs side-by is Ernakulam. Kayal (backwater) separates Ernakulam from Kochi. East side of the Kayal lies Ernakulam while in west side lies Kochi. A bridge across connects both.
Ernakulam is doused in modernity and it is the financial capital of Kerala. Ernakulam is a trend-setter for fashions. India‚Äôs largest fabric shops, some extending to an area of 0.125 million sq ft spread over 9 floors, and Wedding Centre, spread over nine floors, where everything required for groom and bride, such as cloths, dresses, ornaments, cosmetics, foot wear etc are available under one umbrella, are here.
Big hotels, large restaurants, new generation boutiques, handicraft shops etc are abound in Ernakulam. Today, it prides itself on being a major centre of gold trading, IT, healthcare, ship building, spices as well as tourism, which has transformed this city into one of India's busiest visitor attractions.
Kerala‚Äôs High Court is located here along Marine Drive in a prestigious big building ever constructed by the Public Works Department of the Kerala government.
Kochi (Fort Cochin) is known as the Queen of Arabian sea. Till early 16th century it was a lagoon. An eponymous flood transformed Kochi into a natural harbour. Today Kochi is the finest natural harbour in the world. The rich aroma of spices and sandalwood attracted the Europeans. Soon they wrested the spice trade from Arabs. Portugues were the first amongst the Europeans to land at Kochi. Dutch followed Portuguese. The last was British East India Company which took supreme control of Kochi and later India‚Äôs. Kochi took all the multinational descendants to its stride and emulated their custom and culture. This ability to absorb any custom or culture helped Keralites to go to any far end of the world to eke out a living. There is a saying, a Malayalee (a common denotation to Keralite) is seen even in the peak of Everest with his tea stall.
Fort Cochin is richly sprinkled with Lusitanian churches, Dutch mansions and ststely Raj era bungalows that rise from a awterfront lined with red tiled sprawling warehouses.
The ideal way to discover Kochi is a cruise along backwaters from Ernakulam to Perumbalam. The journey to and fro takes 2 hours. The kayal (denotes backwater) is home and bread to thousands of fisherfolks. Watch them gliding in their beloved canoes with wide fish trap, the net, trailing. They beat the water with palm-leaf switches to stun the fish and collect handfuls. On return go to harbourmouth and get dressed in ocean and be fresh.
Cochi Harbour Boat Trips
Kerala Tourism Development Corporation conducts water tours. The boat cruise is from Kochi Harbour to Willingdon Island, Mattanchery Dutch Palace, the Jewish Synagogue, St.Francis Church, Fort Kochi and Bolgatty Island. Daily 2 trips. 9.00 to 12.30 and 14.00 to 17.30. Fare Rs 70/- per person. Book at the KTDC reception centre on Shanmugham Road ( 0484-235 3234)
Sunset cruise from 17.30 to 19.00. 3-hour backwater village cruise covering coir villages and coconut groves costing Rs 315 per person.
There is also a 2 hour boat cruise from Ernakulam Boat Jetty just off Marine Drive costing a mere Rs 50/-. There are two trips daily.
Fort Kochi (Fort Cochin) and Mattanchery are gracious sight-seeing sites. Both are twins. Kochi‚Äôs side by is Ernakulam. Kochi and Ernakulam are twin cities. Kochi heads-up in ancestory, while Ernakulam chests-up in modernity. Kochi‚Äôs tour-kit has a prominent place for heritages left over by a global mix of Arab, Portugues, Dutch and British.
Tourist Office: 1 District Tourism Promotion Council(DTPC,Park Avenue Road, Ernakulam (daily 8am to 7pm; 0484-235 3234) 2 DTPC at Cochin Airport.
Getting To Cochin
Air :Kochi International Airport (Nedumbassery airport) at Nedumbassery. Access from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Coimbatore, and Kerala‚Äôs Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode airports.
Rail :Ernakulam Town(North)and Ernakulam Junction(South)stations.From all parts of India trains come to Ernakulam.No more trains are now going to willingdon Island.
Road :Long distance buses come to Kerala Road Transport Corporation‚Äôs(KSRTC)station near Ernakulam South railway station.Private bus Station is near to Ernakulam North railway station at Kaloor.City bus service station is also located here. Autorickshaws are planetiful and reliable means to hopshop and to explore the city.
Ferry :Half the fun of visiting Kochi is getting about on the cheap local ferries which depart from the four jetties. Ferries are available to Bolghatty island, Fort Cochin, Mattancherry, Vypeen and Willingdon island.