Cochin sits on the south west coast of india between the wetern ghats mountain range and the arabian sea, within the state of kerala
For my husband it is his favourite city in the world, and rates in my top 10.
Cochin is made up of many islands, Fort Cochin, Willingdon, Vypen, Bolgatty, Matencherry and Gundu. Enakulam is the part of town on the mainland. The airport is 30km notheast of town, and the railway station is in enakulum, with connections north and south. Many of the better hotels will arrange transport from the airport to your hotel.
The best places to stay are Bruntons boatyard, the Taj malabar, and the Malabar house, but these don't come cheap. Bruntons and malabar house are part of the growing trend of botique hotels in cochin, whilst the Taj group uses its winning formula, for style and class. Its my choice when staying there. The Bolgatty palace is well worth a visit, if perhaps not to stay there these days, it is looking a little messed up and grubby recently, but I stayed there 13 years ago and it was an experience.
Generally, you are better off trying to stay in Fort Cochin,if you wnat the real thing. Enkulam always feels like just another Indian town. Many homestays are available as well, and give you a chance to meet the families. Fine if you are a sociable sort.
If its shopping you are after this is the place. Convent and market Rd have the tailors, where you can take fabric bought around Jew street to make any item you want t a fraction of the cost.
While you are there there are a host of sites to see, the jewish synagoue with tiles that have each been individually handpainted, the murals of the Matencherry palace. Stand and watch the ancient chinese fishing nets still in operation. Visit the spice quarter, with smells to drive you insane with intensity.
Visit Cochin it is a truly great city
Kochi (Cochin) as it is called ,is derived from the word 'Cochazhi' which in Malayalam means 'small sea'.It is famously known as the best natural harbour in the world.The various ancient travellers and settlers namely the Arabs, British, Chinese, Dutch, Italians and Portuguese helped Kochi emerge as a centre of commercial activity, connecting the mainland to the rest of the world..
Over a period of time Kochi has been ruled by the Portugese, Dutch,Britishers ...They have all left their imprint on this city.Cochin now has a blend of several exotic cultures like the Portuguese, Jewish, English, French, Dutch and Chinese.
When India gained its independence the country was divided into 16 states and 6 union territories.The state of Kerala was formed in the year 1956 combining the 3 prominent areas namely Kochi, malabar and Travancore, all princely states..Kochi has always been a major and important city in Kerala. Infact it is a major city in the whole of south India , a major sea port and the spice capital of India.It remains an important trading center dealing in pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, etc., which were and still are very famous for their quality.
Cochin as a tourist destination is a very attractive city still maintaining the old world charm with forts and palaces, a Jewish Synagogue, some really ancient churches, prominently among them is the St Francis Church, which is the first European church to be built in India by the Portuguese ..and the Giant Chinese fishing nets tied to massive teak and bamboo poles dotting the entrance to the harbour, quite an awesome sight!
One has plenty to do here other than the visits across the usual tourist destinations.
There is a huge antique market stretching to nearly a kilometer in the Jewish city at Mattancherry in Cochin.One can spend a whole day looking at the objects on display.They have huge carved wooden pillars, banisters, wooden chests, earthenware,old lamps, some lovely bead and wood jewellery, just about everything..each time i have visited there i have discovered some corner that i hadn't visited before..
Sea food is a speciality of Cochin.The Appams(pancakes or dosas made with rice flour mixed with local toddy and fermented for a few hours) with Spicy prawn curry is something not to be missed here.There are other local specialities like Fish Moily, made with ground Coconut , chillies n pepper, also Pepper mutton.
The major attraction in Cochin is the backwaters.It is one of the most visited Kerala Backwater destinations.There are Regular boat services to tourist places like Kottayam, Kumarakom and Alleppey through the scenic backwaters .In fact
Houseboats are an ideal and relaxing way to experience the beauty of Cochin.There are many private houseboat tours offering very competetive packages, one can hire a simple one room boat or a two storeyed 2 bedroom luxury boat, there is plenty of choice .
There are some lovely beach resorts in Cochin and around Cochin
To name a few:
Coconut Lagoon, Kumarkom
Whispering Palms Lake
Taj Malabar, Cochin
Taj Residency, Cochin
Cochin is connected to many international destinations and all major cities in India and most Middle Eastern cities like Dubai, Baharain, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi ..
One can visit places like Munnar which is a lovely hill station in the western Ghats with tea plantation and waterfalls .There are many resorts situated here and most tourists visit Munnar while visiting Cochin..
Some useful informations about Kochi
Area - 95 sq. km.
Population - 1.35 million
Rainfall - 350cm annually
Temperature 20°C-35°C (68°F-95°F)
Language - Malayalam, English is spoken widely
Monsoon : June - September (heavy rains)
Winter: October - February (Mild,cool, dry with occassional rain)
Summer: March - May (hot and humid)
All in all a multi cultural interesting city that has a lot to offer to all types of tourists.