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Different Things To Do in Kochi

The scenic city, Kochi is located on the southwest coast of India, Kerala. A port since the ancient times, the city has been touch of Arab, Chinese and European influence. The city reflects of these influence through its motley architecture, customs and so on. Some of the interesting things to do while on a trip to Kochi are as follows:

1. Visit the Kathakali Center
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The Kerala kathakali centre popularly known as school  of traditional arts established in Kochi since 1994 is the kerala’s foremost arts school and an authentic theatre where kathakali,music,martial arts and other dance forms are demonstrated in traditional style extolling the rich culture and experience of the Kerala’s art forms. They offer performances as well as classes for those interested.

2. Boat ride

houseboatThe state of Kerala is renowned for its backwaters and one among them is the backwaters, offering a pleasurable experience with the presence of water birds, wildflowers and lush greenery along its banks. The backwaters separating Ernakulam from Fort Kochi and Mattanchery are dotted with several small and mid-sized islands.

3. Exploring and Shopping in Fort Kochi

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The little picturesque town is dotted with European heritage and a cosmopolitan temperament. The best way to explore is by walking through and discovering the Chinese fishing nets, the St Francis Church which once housed Vasco Da Gama’s grave, the trendy restaurants and little cafes and of course, some lovely boutique shopping. It’s a tourist friendly spot, with lots of foreigners as well as locals.

4. Pilgrimage

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Kerala has a variegated belief system influenced by its historical and cultural inheritance inclusive of a touch of the foreign influence. Worshipped religions include Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism and plenty more. Kochi provides a small glimpse into its diverse belief system with a plethora of places for pilgrimage and spiritual enlightenment.

Read more : Top 21 religious places to visit in Kerala

5. Bike Tours

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One of the most trending ways to view this beautiful land is the adventurous biking and cycling tours of Kerala. There are many in the market offering a variety of bike and cycle tours all over the city.

Read More: Bike and Cycle tours in India

6. Kochi Biennale

Kochi-biennale-boatThe Kochi-Muziris Biennale is an international exhibition of contemporary art held in Kochi, Kerala. It is the first Biennale being held in India. The Kochi-Muziris Biennale is an initiative of the Kochi-Biennale Foundation with support from the Government of Kerala . The exhibition is usually set in spaces across Kochi, Muziris and surrounding islands. The shows were held in existing galleries and halls, and site-specific installations in public spaces, heritage buildings and disused structures.

7. Kochi Carnival

3529510470_a799868d2d_bIf there is one festival the whole of Kerala impatiently awaits every year, then it’s the Cochin Carnival held in the last week of December. The city is decked up like a bride and tourists, not only from within the country, but also outside, flock to this lovely port city to participate in the revelry. The inception of carnival can be traced back to the Portuguese New Year revelry, held here during the colonial days. Gradually, it evolved to take the form of what is today popularly called the Cochin Carnival of Kerala.

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Top Places to Visit in Kochi City

To obtain an eclectic flavor and perspective of Kerala , there could be nothing more exemplar than the Fort Kochi city to set your foot in first. Seasoned with all best ingredients of culture, progress, architecture, people and so on, Kochi is enriched with the cream of local and international history and thus a variety of places to visit for an enthusiastic traveller.

The following are some of the star attractions in the land of diversity and green:

Chinese Fishing Nets, Fort Kochi

Kochi city

The chinese fishing nets (Cheenavala) are distinctly unique to Cochin. It is believed that traders from the court of the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan introduced these nets here. Oddly, these nets are found only in Kochi, outside China! Many fishermen earn their livelihood by fishing using these massive nets. A whole stretch of the coast along Fort Kochi and Vypeen are dotted with these nets.

Fort Kochi beach

A stroll along the beach, particularly at sunset with the chinese fishing nets and sailing ships in the background, is a memorable experience. Many European style bungalows can be seen along the shoreline. The coastal stretch has loads of small stalls, which make on demand mouth-watering traditional cuisines using freshly caught fish.

St. Francis Church, Fort Kochi

It is the oldest church built by Europeans in India. On his 3rd visit to Kerala, Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese trader who reached India from Europe by sea, fell ill and died in Kochi. He was buried in the St. Francis Church. Later his remains were taken back to Portugal. In spite of that, his burial spot inside the church has been clearly marked out.

Kochi city

Vasco House, Fort Kochi

Vasco house, located on Rose Street, is believed to be one of the oldest Portuguese houses in India. Vasco da Gama is believed to have lived here. This house features European glass paned windows and verandahs.

 

Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Kochi

kochi city

The original church, situated in Fort Kochi, was built by the Portuguese in 1505 and named as a cathedral in 1558. The British colonists destroyed the cathedral in 1795. The current structure was built in 1905 and raised to the status of a basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1984.

Jewish Synagogue and Jew Town, Mattancherry

Kochi city

The synagogue, built in 1568, is magnificently decorated by Chinese tiles and Belgian chandeliers in the Kochi city. Giant scrolls of the Old Testament can be found here. It is located near the Dutch Palace in Mattancherry.

 

 

Dutch Palace (Mattancherry Palace), Mattancherry

The Dutch Palace was originally built by the Portuguese. Later, in 17th century, the Dutch modified it and presented it to the Raja of Kochi. Coronation of many Rajas of Kochi were held here. The palace has a fine collection of mural paintings depicting scenes from the Hindu epics Mahabharatha and Ramayana. The palace is located in Mattancherry.

Bolghatty Palace, Bolghatty Island

Kochi city

This Dutch palace is situated on Bolghatty island which is just a short boat ride away from the mainland. The palace has been converted to a hotel run by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC). The island has a tiny golf course and the panoramic views of the port and the harbour, makes it an attractive picnic spot. Frequent boat service is available from the mainland.

Hill Palace, Tripunithura

Kochi city

Built in the 19th century by the Raja of Kochi, this palace served as the seat of the Raja of the Kochi City region. The palace has been converted into a museum displaying a fine collection of articles showing the wealth and splendour of the Rajas of Kochi, including the thone and the crown. The musuem also houses a large collection of archaeological findings. Hill Palace is located 16km east of Cochin in Tripunithura, a satellite town of Cochin.

Palliport (Pallipuram) Fort

It is the oldest surviving European fort in India, built by the Portuguese in 1503. Its situated in Pallipuram on Vypeen island.

Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary

Kochi city

Mangalavanam is a protected bird sanctuary situated right in the heart of Kochi city. It is the home of many exotic and rare varieties of migratory and resident birds. Mangalavanam is located right next to the High Court of Kerala.

 

Museum of Kerala History, Kalamassery

The museum has on display spectacular audio-visual exhibits depicting the history and culture of Kerala along with many life size statues of many famous personalities and several paintings depicting Kerala history.

 

Parikshith Thampuran Museum

This Rajas of Cochin used to conduct their durbars in this impressive building located within the Durbar Hall grounds. It was later converted to a museum which has a treasure trove of archaeological findings and relics including old coins, sculptures, oil paintings and murals. The building has been taken over by the Kerala Lalitha Kala Academy and now houses the Gallery of Contemporary Art. All the exhibits of the museum have been moved to the Hill Palace museum.

Cherai Beach

This lovely beach ideal for swimming is located on the north end of Vypeen island, one of the many small islands just off the mainland. The beach is lined by gorgeous coconut groves and paddy fields. Vypeen can be reached by land or by boat.

Wonder La

Wonder La is South India’s largest amusement park situated 14kms from Cochin. The park includes a range of attractions including mini castles, water theme park, ferris wheel, rides, slides, shows and fountains. Kids and adults alike can enjoy the fun and activities.

Kochi city

 

Marine Drive

A stroll along the long tree-lined coastal pathway that lines the backwater is well worth the time spent, especially late afternoon or dusk. The bustling backwaters, dotted with fishing boats, speedboats, ships, tankers and passenger boats, can be observed from this walkway that lines the coast.

 

Willingdon Island

Kochi city

This man-made island in the Kochi city was created in 1933 by sand dredged while deepening the backwaters for the Cochin Port, under the direction of Sir Robert Bristow. A while back the Airport, Sea port and the railway terminus (Cochin Harbour Terminus) were situated on this island. Today, it is the home of the Cochin Port and the headquarters of the Sourthern Naval Command. The airport continues to be the naval air station, while the main airport has been moved to Nedumbassery, 30kms north-east of Cochin. Most of the trains now terminate at Ernakulam Junction instead of Cochin Harbour Terminus.

Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kaloor

The Nehru stadium in Kaloor in the Kochi city has a seating capacity of 60,000 in multiple tiers. It is the fourth largest stadium in India and the largest in Kerala. The ground is lit by a set of unique convex pylon floodlights that arch over the ground. The stadium is home to both the Kerala Ranji cricket team as well as FC Kochi football team.

Read more about other things you can do in Kerala: Things to do on your trip to Kochi

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Top 10 Places to Eat in Kochi

Toddy Shops

If you are looking to have authentically prepared Kerala food especially sea food like 1.jpgprawns and fish along with the famous alcoholic beverage made from the sap of palm trees then the toddy shops are a must visit offering some of the scrumptious dishes prepared in the real Kerala way. If you are picky and choosy about ambience and finesse then this definitely is not the place for you.

Check out some of the famous toddy shops that provide comparatively good quality service:

http://www.toddyshop.in/ernakulam/mullapanthal-toddy-shop-kerala.html

Tibetan Chef

16017123_S3NBWoWhwytb_dNfnWH7cDfHoRhxbqvhjVQaTlCetVQIn mood for simple subtle Chinese food minus fine dining? Tibetan Chef is your perfect place to be. Get a feel of the simple and humble setting where you can sit down with your family or friends, relax and have savoury food. It is tucked away down a quiet street away from noise and traffic and the food and service makes up for their lack of superior elegance and feel.

 

 

 

Dal Roti – Lilly Street, Fort Cochin

Located in Fort Cochin, on Lilly Lane, this place stays true its tag line ‘Desi Khana’ ( oetrNEjeaffeh_biggermeaning native food). The menu has an assortment of North Indian food such as Mughlai Parathas (breads), paratha stuffed with minced chicken and cooked to crisp perfection, Lachidar Parathas served with Lucknowi chicken and so on. The place comes alive in the evening with beautiful lighting.

Kashi Art cafe

29KIMP_KASHI2_1127644fKashi Art Café offers a tranquil lair for art lovers and lovers of continental food . The café serves all-day breakfasts, thick soups and uniquely flavoured sandwiches in addition to brewed tea and coffee. Kashi Art Café also serves homemade cakes and pies, which are prepared daily .

 

 

Kayees biryani

A mouth watering dish, Malabar biriyani is one of the most sought after dish in Kerala and one you will not be disappointed in can be found at Kayees Biriyani. You can either visit them at thier branch in Mattanchery or the one opposite Durbar Hall in Kochi. Rich in taste, the biryani here is cooked alongwith the meat and rice, and fragranced with whole garam masalas, raisins, cashews and fried onions.The must-try dishes here are the mutton biryani, which is served with papad, onions, dates chutney and chicken fry.

Fusion Bay

DSC06291The Fusion Bay is adorned with sturdy wooden furniture, low ceiling fans and exposed brick and terracotta entrance. It might not seem the ideal fancy place you would want to sit down for a long time but their extensive Kerala specialties does not cease to blow one away. This place should be on your culinary adventure list. Satisfaction and foodogasm guaranteed.

 

Dhe Puttu

Dhe-puttu-interiorPuttu is a favourite dish among the Malayali people. It is a type of steamed rice cake which is usually served during the breakfast. It is quite common in most households ofs Kerala. The restaurant servesl a variegated range of puttus , along with myriad side dishes too . Some of the marked dishes in the Menu are – Mambaya , Chirattaputt, Gothambu, etc.

 

Grand Pavilion

The Grand Pavilion Restaurant is an elegant restaurant that serves a rich menu with  dishes from a large number of places ranging from the West, North India, South India and most of the rest of the Asian continent.

Ginger House Restaurant

filename-dsc05897-jpgAs the name suggests, the restaurant specialises in ginger-based dishes, offering everything from ginger prawns, ginger ice cream and ginger lassi to ginger milkshakes and the zingy ginger tea. The waterfront view, coupled with Kochi’s old world charm, makes Ginger House a perfect place to relax and watch the boats sail by. Its uniqueness lies in its location within a museum. Situated behind an antique warehouse  Ginger House has a classy feel.

Malabar junction

ca282a85fd594d448569787c80480717_featured_v2Malabar junction is located on the Portuguese courtyard with an elegant ambiance and savory food. The dishes are prepared using quality ingredients which are locally sourced. Their sumptuous  thali is one of the must have dishes. They have a huge range of options ranging from the native to continental. One of the highlights of this place is the Carnatic music band  that light up the place at night.

 

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Continue reading “Top 10 Places to Eat in Kochi”

Travel Tips – Kochi, Kerala

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If you want to get the best of the flavors of Kerala, then Kochi is the city that you would want to set your foot in first. Seasoned with all best ingredients of culture, progress, architecture, people and so on, Kochi is enriched with the cream of local and international history.

How can you reach Kochi:

Irrespective of whether you are an international tourist or a domestic traveller, Kochi is one of the most easily accessible city, of not just Kerala, but India as well.

By Air

Cochin/Kochi (Airport Code: COK,  http://www.cochinairport.com/   ) is an international airport, located 30kms north-east of the city, with regular flights to major cities in India.

cochin-international-airport-nedumbassery-airport.jpgAirlines operating from Cochin include Air Deccan, Air India, Air India Express, Air Sahara, Emirates, Go Air, Gulf Air, Indian Airlines, Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Mahan Air, Oman Air, Saudi Arabian Airlines, SilkAir, SriLankan Airlines, Air Asia and Qatar Airways and so on, making it the fifth busiest airport in India.

The International and Domestic terminals are located right next to each other. The airport architecture embodies the traditional Kerala architectures. Prepaid taxis are available from the airport and can be booked from within the arrival.

The To and from Timings are given in the below link:

http://m.cial.aero/ToAndFromAirport

By Train

Kochi (and Ernakulam) has an extensive network of railways connecting its different districts as well as connecting it with the rest of India. There are three main railway stations in Cochin: Ernakulam Junction (main station), Ernakulam Town and Cochin Harbour Terminus. Many important trains start from here and many others from/to the south of Kerala stop at these stations.
Railway enquiry: Ernakulam Junction: +91 484 131; Ernakulam Town: +91 484 2390920/2395198; Cochin Harbour Terminus: +91 484 2666050
( find train information at : http://www.indianrail.gov.in/  )

By Road

Kochi prides itself on the vast network of roadways i.e. national/state highways and local roads link Kochi to rest of the country. Three important National Highways(NH) pass through/start from Kochi, apart from many state roads. NH 47 from Kanyakumari to Salem pass right through the heart of Kochi while NH 17 to Mumbai and NH 49 to Madurai (in Tamil Nadu) starts from Kochi. Private and public transport services are available to/from all major cities of South India from here. Long distance coach tickets to Mumbai (Bombay), Chennai (Madras), Bangalore, Coimbatore, etc. can be purchased from private coach operators operating from Jos Junction in the heart of the city.
http://www.ksrtc.in/

KSRTC enquiry: +91 484 2352033/2372033 – for state and inter-state public buses. 

BY Sea/Backwaters

Kochi has a magnificent all weather natural port that is used regulary by large cargo ships. Regular boat service to places like Kottayam, Kumarakom and Alleppey are available through the scenic backwaters of Kerala. The outlying islands that make up Cochin, like Vypeen, Mattancherry, Bolghatty, etc are connected to the mainland by regular public and private boats plying from the main boat jetty off Park Avenue and from the boat jetty near the High Court. Many cruises ships also currently berth and the Ernakulam Wharf, which is part of the Cochin Port located on Willingdon island.
Local Transport

Getting around Cochin is quite straightforward. Cheap and affordable private buses (bright red) will take you to most parts of the city, but they may not necessarily stop near a location of interest. Tickets must be bought on board. Short distances can be covered in an auto rickshaw. Taxis or reserved taxis are generally recommended for longer trips.

 

Promenade-shops
Important Travel Tips:

What to wear

  • The best attire for a kochi/Kerala tour would be loose fitted modest clothes. There are basically two reasons why it is recommended ; the first being prevention from hurting the sentiments of the local people and second, to protect you from the weather conditions.
  • Places of worship holds a different decorum that varies between regions and religions as well as the code of a particular place. It is essential to respect the traditions and etiquettes of each place. Nudity, semi or full, is a strict no-no in these parts of the world.

General tips

  • The people here are generally friendly and helpful and the risk of personal threat is very minimal for a traveller in Kochi.
  • Like the rest of India, men here hold hands and walk arm and arm as a sign of a close friendship
  • Kochi is comparatively less conservative than the rest of Kerala but it stil stays true to its conservative culture for a larger part
  • Tipping is a common practice in Cochin city of Kerala. You need to be really savvy about these things if you are an outsider. You will meet a myriad of people once you set foot in Kochi expecting a tip from you, but in certain places like hotels and taxies, a service charge is already levied so make sure you don’t end up paying unnecessarily.
  • Ayurveda has its origins in Kerala and you haven’t seen it all unless you have experienced the wonders of ayurveda. At the same time it is important to verify the authenticity of the ayurvedic centers
  • Kerala cuisine can be spicy and unless you wish to be bombed with the heat, it is essential you clarify at hotel and restaurants that you require your food to be less hot.
  • November to March denotes the  peak tourism season in Kerala and hence the prices are higher. Thought he monsoon may seem appealing, getting around during the monsoon season is pretty tedious and in terms of houseboat, the safety and navigation becomes a hassle during this period.
  • People in Kerala communicate well; they understand English and Hindi and to a great extent can speak the languages as well, though not extremely fluently.
  • The police in Kerala are quite strict and stringent about abiding the rules and regulations of the land.
  • Kochi with all its traditions, is also filled with influx of the modern culture. There are every type of food joints ranging from dominoes, subways,McDonalds, pizza hut and so on.

For places to visit in Kerala, read more at:

http://blog.backwaterbreaks.com/2014/09/27/top-6-places-to-visit-in-kerala/

Book Your Kerala Houseboat cruise with Backwaterbreaks.com and set adrift on the scintillating backwaters!

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