The Gateway to Kerala has acquired a larger than life persona over the centuries. As the Queen of the Arabian Sea in God’s Own Country, this strategic small town has been the centre of commerce and industry. Cradled by the Western Ghats in the east and the Arabian Sea in the west, its proximity to the equator equips it with an unparalleled natural beauty and a bounty of resources. Welcome to Cochin !
Kerala’s scenic beauty is legendary. This bounty of flora and fauna has been the major attraction for tourists. But Kochi exceeds expectations and practically endeavors to surprise you with more. It departs from the stereotypical image of the Kerala’s backwaters as its ecological sensitivity attracts a vast variety of migratory birds as seen at the Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary. A scenic boat ride away is the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, home to the Indian elephants, bisons, antelopes, samburs, monkeys and bears, thriving in their natural habitat. The adventures don’t end here. Laze on the luxurious boats and soak up the ayurvedic spa treatments as you travel in style to Cherai Beach or Willingdon Island . A scenic escapade would be the Fort Kochi beach with the Chinese fishing nets swaying in the soft breeze, colonial bungalows layered in history and a golden sunset completing the perfect picture as you walk down the beach.
A major spice trading port since the 14th century, it has seen great travelers, scholars and traders like Fa Hien, Vasco da Gama and Sir Robert Bristow walk and chronicle its shores. The diversity that inhabits the very soul of this town is evident from the religious pilgrimages it witnesses to its variety of churches, synagogues, temples and mosques. The grandeur of the old princely courts that ruled over Kochi can still be seen at the Hill Palace , Tripunithura and Parikshith Thampuran Museum . Its later Imperialist masters left behind relics like Vasco House ( Fort Kochi ), Santa Cruz Basilica ( Fort Kochi ), Dutch Palace ( Mattancherry Palace ), Bolghatty Palace ( Bolghatty Island ) and Palliport (Pallipuram) Fort.
Apart from this Kochi is also progressively modern as it adapts to the times with its modern shopping avenues and trade and cultural exhibitions. As one of the fastest growing tier-two cities of India , its metropolitan populous is warm and inviting as they evolve from a strategic port to a center of information technology, international trade and tourism. Marine Drive and Willingdon Island are glowing examples of this. Its rich cultural heritage houses the deeply mythological and historical Kathakali, Bharatnatyam and Mohiniattam dances. India Foundation, the Cochin Cultural Centre and Art Kerala are some of the places where the culture vulture in you can soak up the mystic heritage that inhabits the soul of Kochi . It is the jewel in the crown as the beautiful melting pot of an already diverse nation.
Kochi offers a plethora of choices to the discerning travel connoisseur. Kochi is more than a vacation. It is a sublime experience.